In the final weeks leading up to our wedding, life was pretty crazy. While this was to be expected, I was surprised just how attached to my phone I felt like I needed to be. Plans were constantly changing and there were people to update and new details to figure out. Having my phone close by made me feel like I was keeping things under control. I realized just before the wedding that my relationship with my phone was getting a little out of hand. By the time our honeymoon came, I was beyond ready to break-up with my phone and unplug. So today I am sharing the warning signs that I have experienced and signs that you too may need to unplug from the technology in your life.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamote
Signs You Need to Unplug
#1 – You feel the need to check your phone every 5 minutes or less! Whether this is an anxiety based action or just a habit, it is not normal to check your phone five times while you watch a movie or eat dinner.
#2 – You let your phone rule the present. If a Twitter or Facebook notification frequently leads you to cut a conversation off with a person you are spending time with, you need to unplug.
#3 – You have a panic attack when you leave your phone at home .. for fifteen minutes! I once had a mild panic attack when I went to the grocery store to get milk. I have also turned the car around to get my phone, even though it made me late to my destination and I had no real use for my phone. This may seem silly, but you will be ok without your phone while you grocery shop!
#4 – You imagine hearing phone noises or seeing notifications pop up on your phone. If you have ever think your phone is ringing or vibrating when it’s really not, this is a big sign you need to unplug.
What does it mean to unplug?
Personally, I think of unplugging like a spectrum. You can unplug for 30 minutes while you workout or for a whole day. Some days I’ll put my phone down in my bedroom for a couple of hours while I clean or do laundry. Other times, like on our honeymoon, my phone was in airplane mode for a whole week and I checked my inbox or social media accounts a couple of times.
For me, my 9 to 5 job and blogging require frequent social media, emails galore and phone calls. Sometimes my relationship with my phone can feel like a love-hate relationship. It enables me to accomplish so much and connect with so many people. But, it can also feel like too much at times — hello wedding planning — ha!
Technology certainly offers valuable ways for us to connect with each other, but it is possible to take it too far. Doesn’t it seem ironic to watch a group of friends or family members at dinner pick up their cell phones or tablets and proceed to sit together while they stare at these devices? Don’t get me wrong – I am guilty of this! And sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes there are emergencies and deadlines in life. But other times, on a normal day, I think it is important to unplug regularly.
Give yourself permission to put the phone down and enjoy exactly where you are and who you are with right now.
Looking out for signs that you need to unplug is key to ensuring your relationship with your phone, tablet, laptop or television doesn’t take away from the human relationships in your life. Technology should enhance those relationships, not take away from them. Lastly, I will add that everyone is different. You may need to consciously unplug every day, while others may be fine with unplugging every week or two. Test out the waters and see what works best for you.
Do you feel like you need to unplug? Have you unplugged recently? Do you unplug when you travel or when you do certain daily activities? I would love to hear all about the unplugging habits that work for you.