Are You Addicted to Your Phone?
Updated: Jan 2
Without an ounce of shame, consider asking yourself "Am I addicted to my phone?" This topic has come up often lately, both in conversations with friends and during Happiness Coaching sessions.
I'll share a very personal story with you, and then offer some practical tools to set yourself free.
I had already set app timers (that I often snoozed...) and watched The Social Dilemma documentary, so I was well aware that screen time was negatively affecting my mental health when a friend asked me "How much time do you spend on your phone every day?" I rattled off something about needing my phone for work even though I knew that was an excuse to avoid admitting I had a problem.
I knew there was a "digital well-being" feature on my phone and he asked if he could see it, to see exactly how many hours of screen time I was getting each day. I immediately felt defensive and held my phone away from him. Yikes! After this obvious sign of feeling ashamed about my behavior, I decided that it was time to take action. I've still got a long way to go but have since made several changes. Will you join me?
Take Back Control
The Center for Humane Technology has a list of practical steps you can take to improve your relationship with your phone. So far, I've turned off all email notifications and have set times for checking emails each weekday. This has already felt liberating!
One Small Change = Big Impact
One of the most impactful things I did was buy a "phone sleeping bag" (how cute is that name?!) and an analog alarm clock. I now have a nightly ritual of making tea, meditating for 20 minutes (using my phone's timer), then putting my phone to sleep for the night in the other room. I've been amazed at how much more free time I seem to have, both at night and in the mornings! I did habitually reach for my phone upon waking the first few days but have since thoroughly enjoyed not checking my phone until I've been up for at least an hour on most days. I wake up full of creative energy that I use to make a nice breakfast or write.
You can certainly make your own phone sleeping bag but if you want the same cute one I bought, it's from this rad company called Bagby.
I use a cute, li'l app called Forest: Stay Focused when I want to avoid checking my phone. You set a timer and plant a tree, and if you unlock your phone during your focus session, the tree dies! This is hilariously effective. Try it out and let me know what you think.
What steps have you taken to have a healthy relationship with technology? Do you set clear boundaries about your availability for communication? Do you limit the ways you are available to communicate? I'd love to hear what's working for you!
And of course, if you're ready for loving support and accountability, let's plan a quick chat to see if we're a good match for Happiness Coaching. :)