Counsellor Sarah Barr explains the importance of putting the phone away to live in the present moment.

So much of our time, personally and professionally is being consumed by being present in the online world. Yet we are not always fully present in our real world, experiencing the people and places around us. 

Disconnect, both physically and mentally from devices, apps, social media and virtual worlds that constantly steal your attention, sometimes confidence as you compare whilst continuing to satisfy our  fear of missing something. 

Reconnect with the real world, with the people we are closest to you, to the activities and experiences you enjoy, to the non-filtered real life.

What does it mean to disconnect –

Disconnection or a digital detox, is basically deciding to take a break or reducing your hours spent online through your phone, tablet or laptop.

Technology is a great tool, and we have especially seen the importance of social networks in the past year. As they played an important role in helping us to stay connected to our loved ones and friends during lockdown. 

But that’s only one section of the time we spend online. The rest of the time may be made up of aimlessly scrolling through social media platforms. In my practice I am seeing an increase in low levels of confidence and self-worth in young women. As they compare themselves and their lives to often unrealistic and filtered expectations of beauty and lifestyle. Mothers may compare themselves to other mums, businesses compare themselves to other businesses and so on. However we only see a snippet of someone’s life (the snippet they choose to share) so please be mindful of this and gentle with yourself if you find yourself comparing online. If you are not comfortable about sharing parts of your life or  your day online please try not to put pressure on yourself to do this. Some people are more private and this is perfectly okay. Be true to who you are and do what is right for you.

How to disconnect –

Most phones today include options that measure usage time, analyse the time you spend on each one of them and set a disconnection goal. 

  • Turn off the notifications completely and set specific times to check your phone.
  • Turn your phone on airplane mode at bedtime or don’t bring them to bed at all.
  • Uninstall the most time-consuming apps, this may sound a little harsh, but by uninstalling, it just means it will take a little longer to log in via internet. 
  • Take regular breaks, log out or delete apps or simply put your phone away and only use it when needed. Disconnect in a way that suits you. I personally enjoy putting my phone away for the weekend sometimes.

With lockdown eventually coming to an end we may (hopefully) have less of a reliance on our phone for connection, as we can actually plan to meet up with friends and family members and plan activities or days out. 

Put the phone away, pause and focus right now on the present moment and the world around you.

Take care, Sarah.