I HAVE just arrived back to my reality and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
For the past three days, I have had my phone switched off, as I completely tuned out from my everyday life, and surprisingly, I really enjoyed it.
I spent the Easter long weekend, shacked up with a girlfriend in a beautiful lodge about 40 minutes out of Perth, hidden in the hills and surrounded by bushland and not much else.
I completely switched off and enjoyed the surroundings in my birthday suit, whilst pampering myself with spa dates and enjoying the sweet sounds of nature at the Hidden Valley Eco Lodge.
We had no contact with the outside world except once, when we ventured out for a lunch date, other than that, it was just Anita and I.
I felt very content, my world was simple and joyful and I was happy.
But as soon as we left the lodge, my anxiety returned.
The anxious knots in my stomach resurfaced and the long lists and obsessive thoughts were back as soon as we drove away from paradise.
I started to wonder who had messaged me, how many emails will I have to respond to? How many likes on my last Facebook post? Have I annoyed anyone by having my phone off? Will this week be stressful? When will I get a gym session in? Who do I have to call back?
The lists in my head were rolling over and over, and all of a sudden, I felt overwhelmed.
My life had become hectic, once again.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy being busy and I absolutely love my job and my life but I had no idea how much I enjoyed being in the bush where it was peace and quiet.
I will admit it, I, like many people, am addicted to my phone and check it almost every minute so to be away from it – let’s just say I really did struggle at times – but I also learnt a lot about myself by switching it off.
I learnt that I use my phone for EVERYTHING, and I mean everything!
I depend on it more than I do my boyfriend.
I use my phone to entertain myself on the toilet, now this might seem really weird and I don’t know if I’m crossing the line here with too much “poo chat” but I’m pretty sure Facebook and Instagram help me actually go, because I have something do in there, I can sit in the loo for hours, if you know what I mean?
When I had no phone, I noticed I was bored and I got sick of waiting, so a few toilet visits were pointless, as I couldn’t be bothered to wait around.
I apologise for the overshare but it was an “e-poo-hany” my new word for an epiphany.
I also realised that I check my phone when I am uncomfortable with my surroundings.
When Anita and I ventured out for our lunch date, she went off to the toilet and left me at the table, alone, and my instant reaction was to pull my phone out and check it.
It was in this moment that I remembered how much I enjoyed and loved people watching at restaurants. I had completely forgotten, for so long I’d been pulling out my phone to check on everyone else’s lives online.
I also learnt that without my phone I eat when I’m hungry, not when the time tells me to.
I am constantly checking the time on my phone and I will pull it out of my bag to see when it’s time for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Before mobile phones I would eat when I was hungry and surprisingly it wasn’t nearly as often as I do in everyday life.
The biggest realisation I had, and the most embarrassing, happened within the first hour.
Just before I switched my phone off, I posted a couple of pics on Instagram and Twitter about a TV appearance I had on Sunday and for the first hour of my phone being off I couldn’t stop thinking about what people would write in the comments or about the number of likes I might get.
Wow just writing this now, I am disappointed.
For years I have placed my own self-worth and value on other people’s comments and likes.
I will post stuff online and sit there for hours beating myself up if my video, blogs or photos don’t get likes and comments.
After this weekend, there is a part of me that wants to delete all social media, chuck my phone in the bin and live without it for the rest of my life, but in my job and the life I choose to live, it’s impossible to do.
But what I am going to do from today, and this is a promise to myself, I am going to STOP obsessing and caring about what people think and be happy and content with my life outside my little black phone.
Likes and comments don’t define me, so from today, this obsession will STOP!
Taking time out from my phone is going to be a weekly if not daily ritual, and responding to messages and emails I will do, when I want and when the time is right.
So, this is my advice to you. Put down the phone you’re reading this on right now, check out your surroundings and have a real conversation.
But before you do that, don’t forget to comment and share 😉