When you are really desperate to change your life, you make drastic changes. My mind was moving at 90 miles an hour. I was struggling with anxiety, which is something I had only experienced a time or two before. I had serious insomnia, which is so frustrating!! I could rarely focus on 1 thing without a dozen other notifications going off in my head. Much like my phone!
Apple came out with this handy feature called screen time. It tells you the average time a day you spend looking at your devices. Truthfully, I hadn’t really paid attention to it in the past. So, when the next notification came up, I checked it out. My average screen time a day was 3 hours!!! What??? No way! That is not me! But, it was. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an anti-smart phone post. They are great tools. But, I realized this little thing was constantly competing for my attention. Every ding and red notification was begging me to come see what it had to offer. Promises of perfect lives, beautifully baked bread, connecting with others, traveling, growing my business and of course the outfit or beauty product that will change my life. No wonder we are stressed out. The constant interruption of notifications and the fear of missing something is keeping us all on edge.
Determined to change my life, this little glass window to the world is where I started. I all of a sudden had a huge discontentment with it. I think that was God trying to show me something. Instead of being where I was, I was looking out this little window to everywhere else.
The first thing I did was to eliminate the unnecessary. I spent time each morning for a while unsubscribing to emails. I was getting at least 50 emails a day that were mostly junk. Now, when I check my email they are real emails and only a few at a time! It is glorious!! I also turned off all of my notifications except text and phone calls. The other things are there when I have the time to check them. They are my tools, not tools that run me, demanding to be noticed. My email doesn’t come through until I pull it. I am the boss of my phone, it is not the boss of me.
I went through my phone and deleted all of the apps I don’t use or need. I got it down to 2 pages. My goal is still to get it to 1! I don’t need all of that clutter looking at me when I pick up my phone. I don’t want this device to be my entertainment. I don’t want to have to have my mind occupied by it 24/7!
I started using the Do Not Disturb feature. You can turn this on and only the people that are on your favorite list can get through. I have a 17 year old son that drives so it would not be good for my mama’s heart for him not to have access to me. Block out some time to read, do a devotion, pray and put your phone on Do Not Disturb. It will actually be disturbing to you until you realize, the world keeps on turning!
Create some boundaries! I don’t carry my phone to the dinner table. I try not to take it out at restaurants. I am trying to put it down and look at whoever I am having a conversation with, especially at home. I had gotten so bad about continuing to scroll or type an email when someone was speaking to me. Those in my presence are much more important. STOP! Put down the phone and have a real conversation. Show your spouse, your kids and everyone else that they are more important than whatever you are doing on your phone. I try to get off of my phone completely after 8pm. This is still a struggle for me! It is sad that I have to fight the urge to pick it up and look at it. I also did a 10 day social media detox which revealed a lot of stuff to me about myself and changed the way I view social media. I will talk about that in my next post.
Get a little old fashioned! I don’t read books on my phone or ipad anymore. I have never really liked doing that anyway. I am a sucker for the smell and feel of a real book. So, if you see me soaking up the wonderful smell of printed pages, just mind your business. Break out the board games! Play scrabble with someone in person! Get outside! Go for a walk, go sit under a tree, or simply just look at how beautiful the sky is.
We miss so many things because we are looking down. Look up, be present . Put the phone down. Whatever it is can wait. We must re train our brains to not be dependent on these little devices to constantly be stimulated. We must learn that to slow down we are going to have to create some brain space to do it. We are living over stimulated and underwhelmed.
I am not perfect at this, I mess up all of the time! But, I have made a lot of progress and can tell a huge difference! I have less anxiety, no insomnia and am doing so much better at being able to just be still.