A few weeks ago my wife dropped me off at Dublin airport for a flight to England. I kissed my wife and kids goodbye and hurried into the terminal. As I was going up the escalators towards security I reached for my smartphone to check the time and then a moment of panic set in. I patted myself down and realised that I’d left my phone in the car. The sense of exposed vulnerability I felt was surreal. I thought about ways that I could contact my wife to make her hurry back to the terminal – but then I remembered that I was pushed for time anyway and needed to get through security ASAP. I cursed myself for being so absent minded and thought about the things that I wouldn’t be able to do – I had planned to write a blog on the flight and read a book on the Kindle app on my phone. What if something happened to me? How would I contact anyone? How would I contact my Dad who was picking me up at the other end?
And then I thought, wow! How can a device that I lived without for most of my life have become so import to me that it induced a feeling of dread when I’d forgotten it? I had everything I needed for the flight – case, clothes, toiletries, passport, boarding pass – and I was only going to England for 4 days. There are telephones in England, and laptops and Skype and WIFI. I let the fear in me ebb away and decided to take the opportunity to see how I would fare without my smartphone for a few days.
Now, during this 4-day period I used my dad’s computer to do a bit of work for the business. I used Skype to talk to my wife and kids. And I used my mum’s kindle to read the book that I was engrossed in. So, I was not completely tech free throughout my trip. At first I found my lack of phone a challenge – with the business we use social media a lot and I realized just how much I’d check Facebook. I play online scrabble on my phone and I read a lot of news reports, check emails, food sites and blogs. On day 1 I missed my phone…. Quite a lot!
Over the coming days it got easier and it felt strangely liberating not having my phone – this little security blanket and friend that we carry around in our pockets. I have a 10-year-old step-son and he would be in front of a screen all day – if we let him. He doesn’t have a smartphone yet – but he wants one, soon! I guess the reason why we restrict his screen access is because deep down we know how addictive tech is. Research in the UK showed that 59% of people believed that they were hooked to their devices and 34% of people had tried to take some time away from the internet.
Heavy tech use has been linked to poor sleep, stress and adverse effects on mental health. Especially among young adults.
So this weeks’ tweak. Take a screen break. Just for one day. Pick a day and stick to it. See how it feels. You may actually enjoy it!
BTW – if you’re one of our recipe boxes customers please don’t detox completely! We want you to check your meal choices for next week :)
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