My phone detox: a messy divorce from my favourite distraction
Charlie Nadin, Lifestyle Editor, shares what he learned from an unplanned, month long phone detox, and considers whether these things have a lasting impact.
About a month ago, my phone broke. I only got it back yesterday. To make a VERY long story short, the parts for my phone repair were shipped, returned (for some reason?), shipped again to a wrong location, shipped AGAIN to Exeter, where the repair finally took place.
As if being without a phone in this day and age wasn’t anxiety inducing enough. But was a month’s phone detox really such a bad thing?
I was convinced of the separation anxiety as soon as I realised my phone wouldn’t turn on. What about contacting people when I’m out? I was anxious about nights out, because what if something happened? And, worst of all, my best reaction images are saved to my phone!
However, I quickly began to see some benefits to having no phone. My sleep schedule saw an improvement, which I was convinced would not be the case, as I used my phone as an alarm. But I started naturally waking up between 8 and 9 am, whereas prior to this experience it wasn’t uncommon for me to sleep beyond 10. Maybe it was the reduced blue light, or just the knowledge that I had nothing to actually make me wake up. Apparently I’m paranoid even when I’m sleeping.
My sleep schedule saw an improvement, which I was convinced would not be the case, as I used my phone as an alarm.
For a time, I really appreciated just walking to and from campus and listening to the world around me instead of listening to music. I was begrudgingly having to accept that the phrase “leave the house, touch some grass” may have been directed at people like me. I of course remedied this false reverence for the natural world by promptly ordering myself an MP3 player on Amazon.
Which sums up the crux of the issue. I had a phone detox, but did that actually impact much when I still had other technology? Instead of watching YouTube on my phone, I watched it on my laptop. Instead of listening to music on my phone while walking or while at the gym, I used an MP3. And as soon as I got my phone back, it was love at first text.
As soon as I got my phone back, it was love at first text.
So what did I take away from my phone detox? Most of all, don’t put your blind trust into a phone repair company with absolutely no contingency plan. Second, I definitely can survive quite happily without a phone, even if I lean a little heavily on home comforts in its stead. Still, one could say that I learned to see the wood for the trees, that I learned to appreciate the world around me just a little more.
Or perhaps I just want to make my annoying experience just a little more poetic.