What Taking A 24-Hour Hiatus From My Cell Phone Taught Me
Our smartphones have become an extension of our selves. When was the last time you went without yours for 24 hours? I bet you can remember it because it was significant.
Before I took an official 24-hour mindful and intentional hiatus from my smartphone, the only times I can remember being phone-free for more than 24 hours have been when I’m out camping and have no cell phone service, which happens a few times a year.
Other than that, of course, I do remember a time without smartphones. I got my first cell phone in middle school, but that was only because I started taking the public bus to and from school, so it was just to contact my parents in case of an emergency. By the time I reached high school, my cell phone came with me everywhere. By the time I started college, the first thing I did each morning was check my phone. And today, I am literally sleeping next to my cell phone as it charges in the outlet next to my bed each night.
In such a short period of time, I, like many others, have become ADDICTED to my cell phone, to the point where I feel like something is missing when it’s not around. But just because everyone else is doing it does not mean it’s not an addiction or a problematic behavior. Technology can be used to our advantage or to our downfall. I was starting to feel like my cell phone was dragging me down, so I decided I needed to take a break. Yes, it was only 24 hours, so it wasn’t too drastic, but what I learned made a lasting impact on the way I now use my cell phone.
I was definitely addicted to my cell phone.
I had to resist the urge to check it several times. 24 hours was starting to feel like forever. But it was good to get a baseline of where I stood.
I was using my cell phone as a way to check out from reality.
I realized I was using my cell phone as a distraction from my own negative emotions. When I felt uncomfortable, I’d whip out my cell phone and scroll through Instagram. When I didn’t have my cell phone on hand, I had to actually face those things that made me uncomfortable and reckon with them, which ultimately worked to benefit me.
I was wasting a lot of time on my phone.
Those mindless moments spent scanning through Instagram and other forms of social media add up, and those are moments I will never get back. We have to think of our time as a resource. If you are not spending every moment with your best interest in mind, whether that be self-improvement or following your highest joy, what the hell are you doing?
I was giving away my power.
Sometimes scrolling through social media can be enlightening and fun, but sometimes you can get sucked into a time warp where you end up looking at some chick from high school you never talked to and it makes you question every choice you’ve taken that got you where you are now. Instagram particularly is extremely driven by consumerism, to the point where everyone’s profile looks like a giant tampon ad for their lives. When we are only seeing the positive, it can make us feel bad about our own lives.
It’s healthy to take a break from that for a while and come back with clearer eyes, realizing that not everything is what it seems. When we exit the matrix, we take our own power back and come back into alignment with ourselves.
I don’t have to take my cell phone with me everywhere.
After the challenge was over, I am determined to become more mindful of the way I use my cell phone. Whereas before I would go on walks while listening to music, I decided it’s better for me to walk in nature surrounded by a silence so I can tap into my own thoughts. Before I would always have my cell phone on hand, but now I make the decision every time I go somewhere as to whether it would be more beneficial or detrimental to bring it with me. Before my cell phone was on 24/7, but now I turn it off and leave it in a drawer when I’m at home unless I need to use it.
I ended this challenge still addicted to my cell phone, but to a much lesser extent. I feel much more empowered and in control of my time, my mood, and my life. Seeing other people living their best life 24/7 can make us feel like there’s something wrong with us if we don’t feel the same way all the time, so we have to be mindful and caring enough towards ourselves to the point where we are constantly checking in and making decisions that will benefit us in the short and long-term.
Cell phones can definitely be beneficial and keep us connected to others we would not have been so easily connected to in the past. Social media can help us find our tribe if used in an authentic and mindful way. But I do recommend taking a break every once in a while to check in with who really matters – you.
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