What Happened When I Unplugged For a Month

  • Health
    What Happened When I Unplugged For a Month

Source: Adam Katz Sinding via stylecaster.com/

Open. Scroll. Switch app. Scroll. Switch back. Scroll down. Scroll up. Close apps. Stare out the train window and pretend to practise mindfulness. Fail miserably. Open. Scroll… Sound familiar? If you’re anything like me, you flit from app to app all day long with no real rhyme or reason. But over the holiday season, this self-confessed Instazombie unplugged for the first time in a long time. And, let me tell you, I learned A LOT.

Let’s start at the beginning, which is (funnily enough), the end of the year. December 18th, 2018, to be precise. My last working day after a very long, very busy year. I was tired. I was over it. I was… set to board a long haul flight to NYC with my boyfriend the next day. After months of planning and days of packing, we were finally nestled into our microscopic economy seats. It was over a styrofoam plate of mystery chicken that it suddenly hit me - I haven’t sorted out my phone situation.

Twenty hours and several mystery meals later, we touched down in the Big Apple and my phone options at the airport were:
a) Never eat avocado toast again to be able to foot the bill for three weeks of international roaming
b) Purchase a prepaid SIM card from the vending machine
c) Sort it out later

… Guess what. I went with Option C. Over and over again, for three whole, glorious weeks. Here’s what I discovered:

1. Navigating a new suburb/city/country sans phone can be done. While it felt incredibly daunting to be overseas without the safety blanket of Google Maps, there’s this print-out version of the app that most hotels have in their lobbies… A good old-fashioned fold-up-and-fray-at-the-corners city map. We circled in pen. We looked up at actual street signs. We asked actual humans for directions. And you know what? It worked. Crazy.

2. Nobody really minds if you don’t post a snap of your meal. Or OOTD, or workout recap, or anything else for that matter. Sure, friends, family and followers are on your socials because they wanna see your content, but that doesn’t mean they’ll come at you with pitchforks if you choose to pare back the posting. In fact, they’ll probably engage with the content you DO choose to post even more. Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen, in the words of some ill-advised dating advice.

3. Taking photos is fun, but your brain is its own camera roll - let it do its thing. While my phone ceased being a communication device, it still took photos just fine. However, a strange thing happened. As I wasn’t in the business of mindlessly scrolling apps, emails or messages, I found myself pulling out my phone less and less, and soaking up my surroundings firsthand even more. Sure, I still took plenty of pics (it would be a crime to stand atop the Empire State Building and not capture the moment), but discovered that the little joys of life are even better when you’re not looking at them through a lens.

4. A clean bedtime routine IS all it’s cracked up to be. Usually, I’d hop into bed and then continue my carousel of apps and internetting for another hour at least. On this holiday? Hopping into bed when your body is actually tired, in complete darkness with nothing but the siren song of NYC’s traffic to lull you to sleep in a matter of minutes. A weird ritual to break? Yes. Rejuvenating? Hell yeah.

5. Your inbox is 95% EDMs for online stores, 3% spam and 2% emails you actually need to read and action. You don’t notice when your inbox is dinging away daily in the background, but after radio silence for three weeks, logging back in was overwhelming to say the least. Does 95% of your contact list spark joy? No? Make like Marie Kondo and unsubscribe. Your brain - and storage space - will thank you.

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