Have you ever endured the smartphone funk? Where you aren’t necessarily happy, not really sad, just perpetually over and underwhelmed by your phone. It is comforting in stressful situations and highly overwhelming when it feels like it’s interfering with your day to day life. You use it to much, there’s no question about it, but how do you start using your phone less when it has become so attached to you?
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Well, I too once suffered from the smartphone funk (and still occasionally do) and have found simple and sustainable methods to help me use my phone less every day. I have gained back so much sanity you can have no idea.
Why should you use your phones less?
Before we discuss how to stop using our phones as much, let’s discuss why we should a bit. Being constantly connected is a great thing in theory but it is extremely overwhelming at times. We need to to stop, relax, and allow all of our stressed out neurons to heal and recharge. That is hard to do when we have our phones providing constant stimuli. So by taking regular breaks from our mobile devices people normally feel an increase in overall well being. This includes a more stable mood, a better self rating of quality of life, less anxiety, and fewer mental health issues.
Have a designated phone area when you’re home
Create a charging station in your home. Typically, it’s best to put it close to wherever your drop zone is when you get home. You know, the spot you put your bag, keys, shoes, whatever. Keep your phone there when you’re home. You can still use it, text on it, scroll through the gram, etc. BUT! It has to stay in its spot. This is a good way to ease into using your phone less because leaving it in its spot is extremely inconvenient for mindless use.
Turn it off +/or leave it at home
Want a foolproof way to use your phone less in public? Don’t take it with you. If this sounds like a nightmare, try by starting small. Go for a walk, run a single errand, go to the library, do something small and not super time consuming without your phone to begin. Once you accomplish that without feeling like you missing a limb, try to go longer and longer.
Have no phone zones
The bedroom, the living room, or maybe the bathroom can be no phone zones in your home. Personally, I think keeping your phone out of the bedroom is one of the best things you can do for both your sleep and your romantic activities.
In high school, I had a friend who used to put her phone in a plastic bag so that she could use it while showering – just in case someone texted her. Showers are a time to recharge, not to have to worry about who has or hasn’t texted you back. A no phone zone can break that need to feel constantly connected so that you can more authentically connect with people. Obsessive connection is not the same as real connection. Obsession doesn’t actually equal enjoyment.
Have no phone times
After 7pm, turn off your phone. Or 8 or 9. Whatever suits you. Research says that turning off screens at least an hour before you go to bed can improve sleep and restfulness.
Personally, I don’t love putting it down at a specific time so I choose a point in my evening routine. As soon as I make my cup of Sleepytime tea, the phone goes away. It works great and actually helps me relax more before bed.
Enjoy some JOMO
What is JOMO you ask? It is the joy of missing out. It is not giving a crap about what other people are doing and just creating more time doing the things that you enjoy. Stop caring about what you’re missing out on and start realizing what you are lucky enough to experience on a daily basis. If it’s not the things you want to be enjoying, change that. By loving your life, you’ll feel less FOMO from your phone and social media because you’ll be too preoccupied with that sweet tangy business of JOMO.
Get rid of your excuses
Do you use excuses why you NEED to have your phone with you? No, just me? I always said that I needed it because it was my main step counter – and health is obviously very important. Also, what if I got a call about an emergency? Or what if I needed a coupon from it or to check my email!? I obviously needed my phone.
But in reality, I never get an emergency text, unless it’s from Trevor informing me that we’re out of ice cream. I already have a FitBit, I should just use that instead (it’s more accurate anyways). I never remember to use my coupons even when I have my phone on me. And I only check my email twice a day anyways.
Give yourself a reality check on those excuses you use for NEEDING your phone. We really don’t need our phones all the time. And most of our excuses are pretty weak anyways.
Delete time (+ soul) sucking apps
If you find you’re using your phone too much a simple trick is just to get rid of some of the reasons you’re using it too much. Games, social media, and other random apps can suck all the time from your day. Delete them. (And then don’t re-download them).
Use the Do Not Disturb Function
If you’re trying to be productive but find yourself getting distracted by phone related interruptions, use the Do Not Disturb function on your phone. This way you can stay focused and well, undisturbed until you’re ready to turn it off.
I know, it sounds crazy, but did you know they still sell simple phones that aren’t smartphones? They have no internet access, you just use them as a phone. Whaaaa? Why would I ever suggest this? Because honestly, it can help. And think about how many devices you already have! Tablets, laptops, iPods (yeah, those still exist), smart watches, you have so many things that can access the internet and use all your favorite apps on. If you’re struggling with you phone usage, or if it is just making you feel more depressed, why not give it a try? You’ll save money and maybe feel a little more level headed afterwards too. I know several people who have done this and it has done wonders for their mental health and overall happiness.
Stop the notifications
Turn off all your notifications so that you aren’t constantly tempted to check your social media, email, or other apps. Don’t go down that rabbit hole of checking the notification and then realizing an hour later that you’ve just been scrolling and never actually checked the notification.
Travel somewhere with no cell service
If your phone is overwhelming you and yet you can’t seem to put it down take it somewhere where it is essentially useless. My go to is normally a national park or just up a mountain. Seeing as how there is no reception, it does wonders at disconnecting you for a little while.
Don’t have an all or nothing attitude
Telling yourself you something is off limits or that you have to do something often achieves the opposite result. Diets fail, exercise routines get dropped, and procrastination lengthens. Technology isn’t a bad thing. As an introvert, sometimes it is the only thing that maintains your social life when you are peopled out. But you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Learning a balance in your phone use keeps you from binge-ing countless hours on your phone.
You know what is a good balance for yourself. If you’re reading this article, that probably means that you feel as though you’re using your phone too often at the moment. So try implementing some (or all!) of these tips to help you feel better about your phone usage and get yourself out that weird smartphone funk.
Tell us what you think! Do you agree with these tips? Do you think using your phone less would help you live a happier life? Sound off in the comments below!