At the turn of the new year, this annoying
little message started popping up on my
phone, alerting me of how much time I
spent each day on social media.
Around that same time, I decided to take on
a meditation practice. Diving into the deep
end, I selected a guided meditation that
persists for about an hour and twenty
minutes. I quickly realized that I was only
willing to make time for such an endeavour
on the weekends.
Laying in bed, each Saturday and Sunday
morning, focusing on my breathing, I quickly
became frustrated with how incapable I was
of turning away the overwhelming amount of
thoughts that flooded my brain.
It’s because I’m laying down, I said to
myself, I need to sit up straight. I need a
meditation cushion. I need a bigger
apartment so that I can have a room just for
meditation. I should be doing this every
day...and so on.
But then I had a new thought.
Week after week, as that disturbing little pop
up would show up on my beloved phone
screen, I couldn’t help but start to wonder,
Are you my problem?
I couldn’t believe the amount of hours I was
spending on my phone. Between work, and
the gym, cooking dinner, and household
chores - it was almost as if every other hour
of the day, that wasn’t already accounted
for, I was spending tuned into my phone...
Except that it wasn’t “almost as if”. Doing
the math, this was exactly the case.
No wonder my brain couldn’t stay still during
those meditations. It hadn’t had a single
moment to process anything all week long.
And then I began to notice it all the time.
This automatic action of picking up my
phone, and checking in to social media, at
any time that my mind wasn’t already
engaged in another task - and very often,
even when it was.
We’ve all had that irritating experience when
we’re sitting across from a friend or loved
one, trying to tell them about something
from our day, or something we’re struggling
with - and they’re on their phone.
It hurts. It makes us feel rejected, and it
makes us feel insignificant.
As a big believer that the most important
relationship in your life, is the one that you
have with yourself, I want to remind you
that, being on your phone all the time, is a
rejection of yourself. You are making
yourself feel insignificant.
You’re turning your back on the opportunity
for self reflection, to process your emotions,
the chance for creativity, and the chance to
birth new ideas.
All of this, as well, as the real people in front
of you. Your children, your spouse, your
friends - and not just them. I can’t tell you
how often these past few weeks, my heart
has been touched by strangers that I ride
city transit with, or those out on the city
streets, the ones I suddenly see so clearly,
now that my phone is tucked away, and out
I know what you’re thinking: That’s nice, but
is it really possible to cut out screen time
It doesn’t have to be.
The main thing, I’ve found, is to limit access.
Leave your phone at home when you walk
the dog, or take the kids out for dinner.
Delete your social media apps when you’re
finished using them, so that you have to
redownload them when you want to use
them again. I’ve found that even placing my
phone in the bedroom when I’m in the
kitchen, or leaving my phone in my coat
pocket when I have coffee with a friend has
made a big difference.
Make screen time a little bit less accessible;
and make you time a little bit more
- Kale xo