Life

How to go an entire week without your phone

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Smiling beautiful urban woman texting on the smart phone, phone, unplug

Image: Milos Vucicevic/Shutterstock

Can you imagine life without your smartphone? For tens of thousands of years, people somehow made it through their entire lives without even thinking about, much less desiring, their smartphones—because, duh, they didn’t exist. It’s strange to acknowledge that now we are so addicted to our phones that we forget what life is actually like without them.

Smartphones, and especially the iconic iPhone, have literally invaded our lives so much that they have given rise to a new pathology known as “nomophobia,” which designates the fear of not having a smartphone and the feeling of being disconnected from what’s happening on social networks. That’s why Reboot, a Jewish organization “that affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own,” has organized the 2017 National Day of Unplugging. The idea is simple: to take a break from our phones (and computers, etc). Officially, it only lasts a day, which is hardly a break from your phone… you may need a week to really “refresh,” so to speak.

You may be thinking, “I don’t know if I can actually go a week without my phone… how will I keep up with what’s going on with my friends? How will I take selfies? What will I do on the commute home from work?” I understand. But if you get nervous about the idea of separating from your phone, it’s a sign you could use a break. Here are some tips on how to survive a week without it.

My name is ______ and I have a problem.

The first step is to admit you have a phone addiction (yes, just like in Alcoholics Anonymous). If you can’t go a couple hours without checking your e-mail or your Facebook account, take it as a sign you need a break from your phone. If necessary, leave a message on your Facebook page saying you’re going to take some time off, so people won’t expect to hear from you during the week.

Have an alternative way for people to contact you

If you really need to, check your e-mail and Facebook account when you get home at night, spending just 10 minutes to see if there’s anything really important you need to attend to (stalking your ex’s new girlfriend on Facebook is not considered “really important”).

There’s this thing called a “book”

If you take public transport to and from work, bring a book. A paper one. Reading is a great way to work your imagination in a healthy way.

Stay in the moment

The most important thing is just to enjoy the present moment without giving in to the need to be stimulated all the time. Actually try doing nothing—it’s good for you! Let your mind wander. Daydream. This will help you enjoy moments of solitude and reconnect with yourself. Go for a walk. Bake something. Try something non-virtual.

And if you start to miss people and need company, consider meeting up in person with a friend. I mean face to face communication is, in fact, still a thing.

Marcus Wade loves to surf the Internet, drink coffee and travel. He loves meeting new people and having interesting conversations about art, politics and society.