Monday, February 28, 2022

I followed a "Break Up With Your Phone" Challenge and here's how it went (Week 3)

eek three from this little four-week challenge is upon us.  

This week is all about "reclaiming your brain" i.e giving your brain a chill pill. I like that Price included this aspect to the challenge, as I think just shutting off your phone for three hours isn't going to do much good if we don't know what to do with our brain during those three hours.

Day 15: Stop, Breathe, and Be 

The first challenge this week is called Stop, Breathe and Be, and it's exactly that - noticing a moment when we want to reach for our phone, taking a big breath, and just being present for a few moments. I think this can be also implemented in all kinds of situations: when you're feeling overwhelmed, anxious, overexcited, etc. I did this a couple of times during the day and I really like it as a small brain reset. 

Day 16: Practice pausing 

Tuesday is about practicing stillness and basking in our boredom - love that. Price wants us to target the moments in our day when we reach for our phones the most (for me, that would be while commuting to and from work), and to restrain ourselves from our phones as a fun distraction. In such situations, she just wants us to be present, look around and really take in our environment. Sounds simple, but it's definitely not (especially when you've been trained to automatically reach for your phone within a split second of being left alone with your thoughts). 

Day 17: Exercise your attention span 

Ah, attention. Something that needs serious re-working. I'm sure we've all discovered throughout the years that we become less and less able to focus on one thing at a time, and this is a big problem. Price suggests we start practicing focusing by...focusing. Groundbreaking, I know. She suggests we set little attention-building exercises and add on more each day, such as reading without our phone nearby, washing the dishes in silence, or even getting a "music bath" where all we do is listen to music and focus on specific aspects of the songs. 

I get in these focused states usually when I do yoga, or when I read, so I will try my best to add another activity that requires pure focus today and see where that takes me. 

Day 18: Meditate

Today, Price puts the focus (pun intended) on meditating as a form of attention training. I can totally see how this would be a good tip for people looking to rewire their brains, as meditation can have multiple benefits for one's wellbeing. I love to meditate (when I actually get myself to do it) and it truly gives my overworked brain a break from all the buzzing around. Today, I will set aside time to meditate and not (!!) forget to actually do it. 

Update: I did it before bed and damn it felt nice. 

Day 19: Prepare for your Trial Separation 

At the start of the challenge, Price said to put down a date when we would feel most comfortable doing a "trial separation" i.e. 24 hours without using your phone. When I read this I was like "Oh okay, so I'll just pick a weekend and plan a whole day to myself (so I don't feel the need to text or call my friends for something), and it will be this magical, freeing experience". BUT, of course, the date that I had put down for my trial separation (tomorrow, Saturday) turned out to be a very hectic and busy one. 

As you might have gathered by now, I'm not one to back down from a challenge, so I will be proceeding with my initial plans and going about my day tomorrow sans phone. I will theatrically shut it off and place it in a box so it's out of sight out of mind (or at least, I hope). But that's a problem for tomorrow, and today is about preparation. 

Price suggests the following: 

- Try not to use any other internet-enabled screens. I will try my hardest, but cannot make promises.

- Tell your friends, family, and anyone who might try and reach you of your plans. This is, especially in my case, essential. 

- Get others on board. Yeah, I don't think this will be happening. 

- Make plans. Oh, and did I. It will be interesting navigating the day without my phone, and I'm sure it will be interesting to my friends too (i.e. frustrating).

- Use hard copy instructions for everything. If I need directions to something, I'll just print them out. Like the good old days.

- Get a pad or notebook. I think this will be an amusing experience to jot down, so I'll have my notebooks on standby. 

- Set a voicemail. This I won't be doing, I think it's unnecessary. 

- Set a physical contact list. I can't believe it, but the day I finally say "Wow, mom and dad, I'm so glad we still have a landline" has come. 

- There are a bunch of other suggestions, but I will not be implementing them, so I'll spare you the reading time. 

Day 20-21: Trial Separation Day

As I'm writing this it's Sunday and I've spent 24 hours without using my phone at all. And honestly, I had a very normal day. I played it out in my head that I would be tossing and turning, wondering if someone is trying to reach me, or that I'd find some tasks harder without it. Turns out, going about your day without a phone is exactly like going about your day, just without a phone. It definitely helped that I told my friends and parents I would be MIA for a day because it meant I got everything sorted the day before. 

That day I had a whole lot to get done, and I don't think I would've gotten it all done if I wasn't doing this challenge. I know for a fact that my phone would've posed a distraction and I would've ended up rushing everything last minute. I even managed to go outside during the day and get some chores in. This wasn't necessary, but I wanted to see how I would feel walking around town without a phone. And again, as I previously said, everything felt pretty normal. I used my laptop only for music, and I went on Facebook one or two times just to check if my evening plans were happening as discussed. And yep, that was it. 

Now, Sunday, I turned on my phone, sat on Instagram for a lot more than necessary, and it's not even 2 PM and I feel drained. The same goes for any type of social media account I logged onto. So much information, so much sadness, so much heaviness. I know that just shutting your phone off isn't the right answer, but time and time again I'm proven that we, as humans, are not programmed to take in THAT much information at a time. And the sheer array of things we consume, from someone's morning breakfast to the latest fashion show to wars and thousands of people living in actual hell, it's just all so much to take in, let alone process. 

In hopes of not straying too far away from the main purpose of this blog post, I'll end that conversation there. 

One week left of this challenge, and I'm looking forward to what else is there to try out. So far, I'm liking how things are progressing, and I'm hopeful that it will stay like this after the challenge is done. 

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