I was all consumed by the relationship, somehow along the way I lost myself. How did this happen? It’s not necessarily the significant experiences together that standout but the unforgettable feelings that do; happiness, desire, love, knowledge, joy and attention. It’s like I was blinded by the illusion of a relationship. In my heart it was real, it had meaning and added value to my life. I’ve always protected the anonymity of my relationships by giving them nicknames, however I will reveal the very public identity of this one.
Overwhelmed by it all, I felt controlled maybe even overpowered by the relationship. There were the sporadic phone calls, the constant text messages and never ending e-mails, not to mention the pressure to check-in and update my every move. What are you doing? Who are you with? What are you wearing? Every sound, each alert nagged to be answered. The sheer sound evoked a physical reaction.
It was only when stepping back that I realized just how toxic the relationship was. A break was in order to re-examine things. Friends began to notice a change in my behavior. I tried my best to explain the decision. Sadly, many of my friends didn’t understand and some were even upset. Others were happy because they knew my secret truth. Those who knew me well called the relationship overbearing, addictive, destructive, obsessive and even abusive at times. You see, I was heavily involved with a public figure if you will. I have only chosen to share the identity in the sincere hope of helping others. In the end it controlled me. My very long, very serious relationship was with none other than MY PHONE.
I was utterly addicted to my phone. In my defense I’m a blogger and it’s literally my job to be online while mobile. Besides posting to the blog on a regular basis, I do research, stay informed of trends, update and maintain ten or more social media platforms, launch campaigns and book ongoing travel, and that is just to maintain the blog. I do, however, take full responsibility for the obsession with my phone. Long before the blog, I suffered from this addiction. I’ve annoyed, agitated and even alienated countless friends and boyfriends by being on it incessantly.
While my relationship with my phone didn’t end it did change. I took one month for myself in which my phone was only used minimally. I’m slowly beginning to infuse a healthy amount of phone use back into my routine because for me it is a chosen way of life. I’m learning to integrate tactics which allow me to be present while still enjoying the freedom and convenience of a smart phone. In the beginning, I was married to my phone. Now, I’d say we’re more like friends with benefits. In the end, you have to decide what’s right for you and where to draw the line.
If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with phone addiction, please seek immediate medical attention or use these six tips for a DIY Detox.
DIY PHONE DETOX
If you have an iPhone utilize the DO NOT DISTURB feature. Customize it to allow calls from specific contacts to ring through if necessary.
FORGET YOUR PHONE from time to time. I know the thought is frightening, so take baby steps. Start by leaving it home while on a date or at brunch with a friend, that way someone with you still has a phone, just in case!
Turn AIRPLANE MODE on even when you’re not jet setting to an exotic destination. This allows you to have access to basic offline apps like the clock, calculator and camera. This will also prohibit alerts and updates from social media apps and sends all your calls directly to voicemail.
Consider TIME BLOCKING by putting a schedule that works for you in place. Take an hour in the morning before work and two hours in the evening and go wild! Check your e-mail, reply to texts, peruse social media, send or receive a dick pic and candy crush it during this time.
Keep your phone on SILENT, when you can. If you get easily distracted like I do, this will help you accomplish tasks without interruption.
Take a day to just UNPLUG. Wether you do this weekly, monthly or just from time to time, it really helps. I like to do this occasionally on a Sunday when I’m staying home to catch up on laundry. I usually post something to social media beforehand letting everyone know I’m unavailable via phone.
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