In the past months more than ever, our cellular devices have been a point of contact with the outside world. Those screens have provided our connection to family and friends, to official communications, and a certain kind of escapism. Still, there comes a time when you need to put your phone down, consider reducing your screen time. Probably, your body is already telling you this. As is your tired mind. But without the routines of our former lives it can be difficult to structure our digital intake.
Even as restrictions slowly ease and we regain some access to the outside world, phone addiction is a difficult one to kick.
But if you want to, it's possible to loosen your phone's presence your life, or at least give your brain a rest. And, from my experience, the best method is to stop talking about it and actually do it. If you need further motivation, possible benefits include better mental health, relationships, memory, creativity and an improved sex life. Even a longer life in general.
Below are some strategies for putting your phone down, courtesy of friends, experts and people more disciplined than I.
Go for a walk, don't bring your phone
You don't need it. Really. And by leaving it at home you make it literally impossible to scroll. We know you want to multi-task but consider it time to think. For the able-bodied, walking is also an effective method of stress relief - easing the effects of all that news you've been absorbing.
Leave it at the door
Wise friends say this works for them. It's simply a question of forming the habit. Anecdotal evidence suggests it helps to have an assigned place to put your phone down when you get home, or at an assigned wind-down time while we're spending most our time there. Say, a basket, bowl or shelf in the hall.
Resurrect your old flip
Or other pre-smart phone that still works. A la Kaia Gerber or RUSSH art director Gabriela Hidalgo. The early 00s are back and it turns out devices are a lot less distracting with limited internet access - even if it's just a part time thing.
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Enlist a partner, housemate or friend
To keep you accountable. If you're reducing phone use with a partner, perhaps better sex will motivate you. Multiple studies and experts suggest phones bringing phones into the bedroom has an adverse affect on sex lives, and romantic relationships in general.
Get an old fashioned alarm
As per the above, phones in the bedroom are not ideal. Your sleep is also suffering. The "I use my phone to wake up" excuse is a personal favourite, but it's easily debunked by the existence of actual alarms. Try this or this.
Um, buy your phone a house
For people who are motivated by nice things - ceramicist Rachel Saunders has a solution. "I made myself a little ceramic 'Phone Home'," explains the ceramicist of her new creation (below). "I based it off the idea of giving all the objects in your home a designated spot to live to create healthy, tidy order. I’m looking to regain rhythm and routine and I’ve made it my new ritual to put my phone to ‘bed’ each night and take it out each morning when I’ve tended to my own needs first (drinking water, stretching, making a list, or meditating— anything that doesn’t give me a blast of addictive and disruptive adrenaline)." Yes to a clearer mind and an interiors update.
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