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  • Stacie Rose

Why You Should (REALLY) Put Down Your Smartphone and Live a Little| As Seen in BC the Mag 

 



 

By Stacie Rose

 

If you grew up in a time before you were tethered to technology when people talked in shops, passed the time in waiting rooms by striking up a conversation, shared pleasantries at the market or enjoyed the spontaneity of a smile or impromptu phone call, you are lucky. Suppose you and your pals rode bikes until someone hollered, "Come in for dinner!" or you had to create your own stories, use your own imagination, and sharpen your communication skills by looking others squarely in the eyes. You may have a rather complicated love/hate relationship with your smartphone.

 

Sure, it can help us navigate the road. What in the world did we do before mapping programs? It can help us order a pizza, an Uber, a dress with overnight delivery, or a pair of black pants for our child's concert that happens to be tomorrow, which we happened to find out about ten minutes ago. We can insta-grocery shop, get our car towed, schedule ourselves and our family members, track our kids, find a date, the hottest restaurant, order flowers, book an eyebrow wax, a doctor's appointment, say "I love you" via text, post a video which may delight some repel others. Still, it cannot hold your hand, hug you closely, make you a warm meal, or know your heart- at least not yet.

 

CONNECTION

Connection is one of the beautiful aspects of being human. It's why we are here: to connect with others, nature, and ourselves. Smartphones can help us do all these things, but only to a point. 

 

The fact that we can Facetime with family in far-off lands is nothing short of fantastic. We can text a quick answer, address, or finetune a plan via text, stay in contact with our children, and snap a photo of an image we want to remember for years to come. We can reach the depths of ourselves through meditation apps and book a vacation. We can be with our family and friends or make new connections while travelling to new destinations. There are so many opportunities! 

 

But if we do not relinquish our phones and step away from our tech, how can we truly experience the richness, beauty, and radiance of the people in our lives? How can we ever be heard and seen and satiated? Sure, we may post a photo that fetches a bunch of likes. But how long will that feeling of validation linger? We can smile at the words "I miss you" as an incoming text pings, but how long will it be before we feel that there really "aint nothing like the real thing, baby?" There is just no substitute for human interaction.

 

Technology can be handy when we can't "be" near our friends, colleagues, and favorite people. Working remotely and keeping virtual connectivity has been an excellent development for many. But at some point, it's good to put on nice clothes, venture into the world and put the phone away. It's called balance, and it's the key! 

 

FAMILY TIME

Ever talk to a partner or family member while death-scrolling?

You're listening but not 100% because how could you be listening intently and scrolling? Your partner may be vying for your attention, eye contact, intimacy, and a deeper connection, but you might not be aware because you are missing the signs.

 

 Perhaps your child seeks attention, connection, and validation, but the message you're sending when you are perpetually attached to your phone is that the device is "the most' important thing. You may not feel that way and may also be a pretty great parent, but this choice does not utter the words of love. If actions speak louder than words, consider dropping the gadget and picking up your child or holding them with your gaze and undivided attention. No Tik Tocker, Influencer, or hilarious animal video poster will miss you, love you, or make your heart explode with sweetness like another human can. The best gift you can give your loved ones is your precious time.

 

And the phone on the table while eating thing? Just don't! You are a grown-up. Indeed, you can show some humanity, restraint, and a sense of priority. Why not give your mind, body, and senses a feast for fifteen to thirty minutes? Take in the aromas, the company, a moment for gratitude, conversation, or reflection. The phone isn't going anywhere. It's a perfect time to throw it on a charger and give it a rest.

 

THE MULTITASKING DILEMMA

The world we live in is fast. We are expected to do five things at once, and although smartphones can improve efficiency, the problem is that they improve efficiency. Ever feel like you get your best ideas while you are in the shower, walking your dog, or right before you slip into a night's sleep? These spurts of eureka cannot happen while clicking away on your phone.

 

It's hard to be here and be there. While multitasking is sometimes necessary, it shouldn't be a 24/7 thing. Multitasking is an extreme sport and can lead to total burnout.

 

LIGHT AND RHYTHM

You may have heard the news. Sleep is important. Decompressing before bedtime is necessary for many, and it can be fun to catch up on a bit of news and fashion, see what our friends are up to, and read some mindfulness quotes. Still, if you don't exercise a bit of discipline, the phone can run away with you, and as the moon rises, you may be tricking your body into thinking it's the sun. 

 

Your mind and body are perfectly attuned to nature's cycles; darkness signifies rest and repair. Pumping blue light into your face can confuse your circadian rhythm, create anxiety before bed, and lead to a less restful night of sleep. Our systems rely on that time to relax, recharge, and repair. It's vital to focus, mood productivity, and a sense of wellbeing. Keeping a book by your bedside, doing intentional breathing, or practicing gratitude could be your ticket to a good night of ZZs. 

 

IMPULSE BUYING

You may be thrilled by how easy it is to make a quick purchase on your phone. But having the world- and all its cosmetics, kitchenware, furniture, gadgets, and athleisure at your fingertips can make for some trouble and only sometimes lead to the most well-thought-out decisions. How many impulse buys have you been super happy about? Sometimes, putting the phone down for a few minutes is a good idea. If that critical item is still calling your name, you can always make it happen, but why not be sure?

 

DANGER LURKS

Now more than ever, it's essential to be mindful and vigilant when it comes to tech safety, which means that you must be able to see the forest through the trees and not get pulled down a rabbit hole and sucked into the void. There is more misinformation on social media than ever. Many apps collect personal data and use malware that may infect your phone and infiltrate your privacy. Getting some distance and focusing your attention on reality vs an alternate reality, which bubbles just behind the screen, can help you keep your perspective and stay safe.

 

KIDS AND TECH

Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety and Obsessive behavior have all been linked to unhealthy relationships with smartphones, especially in children. There is a mental health crisis on the rise, so much so that the United States surgeon general has been raising a red flag. The infatuation, obsessiveness, and dependency on technology are not helping our kids to be kids or feel connected in ways that create stability and self-confidence.  

 

Many felt it was the only genuine connection to society, learning, and socializing during the pandemic. But here we are, still tied to our technology and losing ground with one another. Communication between people, in many cases, has taken a nosedive. We have begun a cycle of "Alone Togetherness," where we feel connected but simultaneously isolated. The same is undoubtedly true for adults. We are with others but also on our phones, which, in this case, means we are never "really with others." 

 

Kids need parameters, support, and guidelines, and we must monitor the situation. It's wonderful that kids can communicate with one another or play a game collectively from across town or in separate states. Still, children do not have the life experience or understanding of how intensely phone time and social media specifically could impact their physical and mental health. They are watching how we utilize technology. If we don't put our phones down and put some skin in the game of life, why should they?

 

AVERTING A CRISIS

The mental health crisis is not only showing up with teens. It's widespread. The grass is always greener. Someone always has a better job, more money, and the perfect partner. Everyone is a fantastic cook with flawless skin and an amazing family. It's hard for most ever to feel enough. It's not just social media. With so many apps at our fingertips, do we have any excuse to miss an appointment, a workout, a birthday, a beat, or to drop the ball? Yes, we do. It's called being human. So, step away from the phone, please. 

 

MAKING PEACE

Smartphones are incredible. They can be precisely what we need and none of what we don't. It's up to the individual. Making peace with these devices and their role in our lives comes down to balance. It's beautiful that we can hear music, make music, create mixed tapes in the form of playlists, share them, and express ourselves inventively while being thoughtful and deciding what matters most. 

 

Paring down the number of apps on your phone is a fast and easy way to prioritize your time, clear clutter and minimize distraction. You can put it to bed when you turn in for the night, silence it at your whim, turn down the screen brightness, and set it to study mode. You are the boss, not the phone.

 

YOUR HEALTH MAY DEPEND ON IT

Since we are seeing the effects of technology in real-time and some are finding it hard to create healthy spaces and separation from these devices, our health largely depends on our willingness to set boundaries for ourselves. If you knew too much sugar would make you sick, you might find ways to curb your intake. Too much texting and scrolling can lead to trigger finger, gamer's thumb, stiffness in the hands and wrist, carpal tunnel symptoms and back, neck and shoulder issues. 

 

Our sense of well-being often depends on our choices and the effort to curate our lives carefully. Creating balance is a lifelong endeavor, and being with people we enjoy is the best medicine in the world.

 

THE PRESENT IS THE GIFT

We must also be able to be with ourselves, dream, watch, and listen to the world and our hearts. Tapping into our truths, intuition, and to the beat of our drum will not happen while we are senselessly scrolling. Take the good parts of technology. Use and enjoy them, but keep sight of yourself and your loved ones. Sometimes, the best way to outsmart your smartphone is to put it down for a bit.

 

Never compare yourself to another mom, medical practitioner, musician, or member of society. You are beautiful and unique the way you are, with the gifts you possess. No face cream will make you 20 years younger (why would you want to be?). No supplement will solve all your problems. No sneaker will make you fitter, but you can make a splash, do some good, make some business connections, and congratulate a friend on a new baby or a job well done. So, snap a shot of something exquisite or simple pleasure and share it with the world, but don't forget to savor the moment and revel in it. Life is precious. Time is precious. Why not make the most of each moment? 


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