Putting the Phone Down

Hi. Over the last week or so I have been making a concerted effort to put my phone down. I wanted to not mindlessly scroll Instagram and have time fly past me unnoticed. Staring at my phone, while providing the entertainment I craved, ultimately left me feeling cranky, useless, and… bored.

I know none of this is groundbreaking and it was something I had thought about and not acted on previously. Two things happened this go around that convinced me to stop with the screens so much.

First, I came across this TED Talk. Manoush Zomorodi talks about how being bored, or letting your mind enter a relaxed and relatively unengaged state, is actually good for you and helps your brain function better. In fact, it may make you more creative, let your thoughts flow more smoothly, and helps your neurons.

It made me think of a podcast episode about the runner’s high I had listened to recently where they talked about the flow state. It feels so nice when your brain isn’t being forced to process media or work and it can just roam freely however it pleases. I told Patrick recently after a stressful day while sitting in the car, driving to a park without any music and only minor conversation made my brain feel like it was taking a bath. It was so nice.

I highly recommend the TED Talk and the podcast episode (plot twist: it’s not really about running and it’s pretty short). These things got me thinking about how often I let myself just exist without consuming some sort of information and I realized it rarely happened. For example, if I was headed upstairs I would grab my phone to bring with me. I would then proceed to stare at my phone as I walked up the stairs. WHY? So unnecessary. I needed to cut back.

The second revelation for me was a thought process I had while on a run (classic). I asked myself the question: “what is holding you back?” I didn’t have any goal in mind, but the question was very general. What is holding me back from anything I want to do or accomplish or try? As I thought about it and the things I want to do with my time and life, I realized that it was me. (You know that I know there are structural and societal pieces at play for the large-scale goals I have, but that’s not what I’m talking about here).

An example I gave Patrick was that I want to do more and longer yoga before bed. I do yoga right before bed (usually) and sometimes, when I didn’t get to it until later, I do really short classes so that I can get into bed before it gets too late. Why am I waiting so long to get ready for bed and do yoga? Because I am staring at my phone for long periods of time during the day.

I have a book that I started and really want to read but barely touch because I told myself I didn’t have time. Well, if I picked up that book instead of my phone then maybe I could!

By putting my phone down I could also spend more time with Patrick, enjoy my coffee more, take morning walks, clean around the house more often, write this blog post, find inspiration for fun adventures, get school work taken care of sooner rather than later, hang out with my dogs, or just sit quietly in peace. It’s pretty nice.

I do love seeing what people are up to online, so I haven’t sworn it off completely but I don’t want it to be my go-to time filler anymore. That’s lame.

July is almost over and I still haven’t made peach cobbler, so I think I may use some of my newfound time to do that soon.

Love,

Juliana

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