Opinion

This is what happened when I detoxed from my mobile phone

After visiting a Indian health retreat,  I detoxed from my mobile phone for a month.

Forget the carbs, red meat and booze, detoxing from your phone could be the one thing that truly changes your life. It did for me.

The statistics to support a detox from our devices are seemingly endless.

The average person checks their phone over 110 times a day. Yep, 110 times a day.

Forty percent of us check our phones whilst on the toilet, 61% sleep with mobile phones under the pillow or next to the bed and 44%  check our phones for work related social media whilst on vacation according to a 2017 study by the University of Maryland evaluating over 2500 mobile phone users.

None of those stats are great.

In December last year I gave  up coffee, dairy, red meat and cut my booze consumption by about 80% (read about that detox here). I thought it was time to give my body a big beak from the vices of the Western world.

The truth is I didn’t feel much better, and I haven’t lost any weight – not that I needed to I know, but a couple less kilos never hurt  anyone. Not that I’d know, because nothing happened.

But it was a trip to Indian health retreat Atmantan, sitting in the middle of nowhere with very little wifi, that I had a lightbulb moment – my food vices may not be the real problem. Maybe my addiction to information, to connection, to social media was the problem?

I rationalised with myself and quickly accepted my mobile was my biggest addiction and I decided then and there, I had to wean myself of it. To hell with the excuses that I’m a blogger, I am a mum of two, and I need to be in touch with friends overseas. Boom, I had to take charge of my life, and I did.

The first step was getting it out of the bedroom. I remember Madonna being quoted all those years ago (ummm….. yep, I am showing my age now) that one of the reasons her marriage to Guy Ritchie broke down was that they both went to bed with their phones. Lightbulb moment; was I turning into Madonna? (if only).

Putting my phone on charge in another part of my house or hotel room far away from my bed when I went to bed changed everything. I woke daily to a series of missed calls and texts, but that didn’t matter. I was in charge of my life again.

I then vowed not to touch my phone until I’d been up for at least an hour. This was even more liberating.

And guess what? I didn’t miss a thing. The phone kept ringing, people left messages. Umm..because that is what phone is for, right? We have fallen into a self-created notion that we have to be available 24/7, but we don’t. In fact being so available can look a little, er, desperate.

The third step was to limit myself to check my social media 4 times a day (I know that may sound like a lot, but being a blogger, it was a big cut). An obvious bonus here has been that I have stopped posting as much on social media, so each post has gone up considerably in numbers. Make sense, and another win.

I also decided to pull right back on actually talking on the phone. I have never enjoyed talking to anyone on the phone, with the exception of my twins, so this bit was super easy. I either meet with people in person, or text. And phone calls I do make are very short.

The fifth step was to commit to not checking the phone when at social events  with friends or colleagues. This is all about being present, and guess what, it works. Again, this should be obvious, and the fact I have had to address this issue shows how toxic my phone addiction had become.

It has been over a month now, and I think it has been the best de-tox ever. I am less connected with social media, and more connected with my friends and family – let alone with myself.

When I am online, the time is more productive, and I do more communicating face to face so I don’t have to follow up with endless texts or calls.

Real life is so fabulous, it is important to remind ourselves of it from time to time and not get swept up in another not so real world.

I have since discovered a fabulous book to help: How To Break Up With Your Phone; The 30 Day Plan To Take Your Life back.

And if you want to go the whole way and detox at a health resort, contact health and fitness travel.  It is the first step to changing absolutely anything in your life – whilst on holidays. I love them.

 

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