Trust me – if anyone has this problem, it’s me! My name is Meej and I’m addicted to my phone! We go everywhere together and spend lots of time with one another. We document all the places we go and post on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. I’ve even been taking selfies with my point-and-shoot camera before selfies were cool. However, this relationship is starting to wear on my relationships with friends and family.
So if you are like me, here are some suggestions (or reminders) of when to put down the phone and take a break.
There’s nothing worse than eating lunch with a group of people and everyone is staring at their phones. Put the phone down and catch up with your friends or coworkers. Take a break from emails and Facebook notifications. Sit and enjoy the meal with your company. You don’t have to document everything you are eating (I’m TOTALLY guilty of this).
At home, we try to eat dinner around the table every night as a family. We ask each other about our day. We play a game that our neighbors taught us called “Sweet and Sour” where you tell everyone the best and worst part of your day. No electronics – just the family eating dinner.
When we go out to eat, we don’t give our kids phones or the iPad. It may seem easier to entertain them quietly at restaurants with electronics. However, we’ve taught our children about how to have proper behavior at a restaurant and to enjoy each other’s company. Plus, it makes going out more enjoyable when you can interact with your kids and have a nice meal.
While it’s awesome to capture a special moment, sometimes when we do this, we lose actually being in the moment. We are too busy these days trying to post, check-in and snap what we are doing as we are doing it. Take a picture of two if you must and post it later (#latergram). If you are outside, enjoy the weather. Watch your kids play their soccer game. See the school play. Enjoy the wedding or fireworks with your own two eyes and not through the frame of the camera on your phone. Be in the moment. You’ll appreciate it more.
I admit, I struggle with this one a lot. Every day, I get home from work and just want five minutes to myself to catch up on Facebook, see what’s going on, what news I missed and what photos have been posted. Five minutes turns into fifteen minutes (then longer) and now I’m sucked into Candy Crush land. Put the phone down and try to put it away until after the kids go to bed. I promise all the news and photos will still be on there later. Again, be present and in the moment. Play games with your kids. Run around and be silly. Don’t be the family that is all in one room with everyone on a different electronic device.
Okay, now that the kids have gone to bed, you can get on your phone and catch up on the day. From time to time, try to take a break from this too. Too much screen time on your phone may be a problem when you’re trying to fall asleep. Enjoy reading a book instead. Spend time with your husband or significant other. Watch a show or a movie together. Catch up on an old hobby or start a new project. Or, just enjoy the quiet. Sometimes our brains just need to take a break from everything.
Again, as hard as it sounds, taking a break from your phone is a great thing. Trust me, it will still be there when you need it and it won’t have any hard feelings towards you. Now go enjoy your day!