Image by Slash Gear
I know I am not the first nor the only one to say this, but social media was the most exciting new discovery of my high school experience, and it is the most exhausting part of my current existence. I started getting curious a few years ago about the possibility that there was a link between my mental health and my consumption of social media and my smart phone, but didn’t always want it to be true. The reality is that the older I get, the harder it is to ignore, which is ultimately what led me to trying the Light Phone.
I tried social media detoxes, and I couldn’t deny that those 30 day hiatuses were the most present I’d felt in a while. I was more aware of my surroundings and generally just…happier.
Surely it wasn’t my addiction to scrolling though.
I even spent 6 weeks in a place without wifi and very little phone service, which meant I was mostly without my phone. Again, I was happier. I felt alive, connected to the people around me, and present with my thoughts. Is it too much to say that I saw colors brighter?
About a year ago, I saw an advertisement for the light phone. This phone is the most basic phone with an eReader screen. With no color and nothing enticing to scroll on, the phone prides itself in its simplicity. You can call, text, set an alarm, and use a calculator. Oh, and with the newest update you can listen to music and podcasts (but not browse them). Wow, I thought. That kind of sounds amazing. The thought made me feel like a weight was lifting off of my shoulders. Then I began to debunk the pleasure of said phone, I need it for my business, I use my map for directions (embarrassingly) constantly, and I take pictures.
I eventually reached a craving for a digital detox so strong, that I was willing to be inconvenienced. So I purchased the light phone 2, and sold my iPhone.
How It’s Affected My Everyday Life
I only use it when necessary
This is exactly what I expected, and I love it. I forget it in my room all the time. When people are talking, I am not thinking about what I need to be doing on my phone.
I hardly text
I had no idea how much time I spent on my phone texting, until I got the light phone. Texting isn’t as easy, so I try to be simple and efficient with it.
I have more time
When I wasn’t doing something on my phone, I was thinking about what I needed to be doing or typing to-do lists so I didn’t forget. My mind was constantly running. Now that I don’t have that ever-running battery driving my actions, I feel like I have so much more time on my hands. If I need to remember something, I scratch it on a notepad. I read when I am going to the bathroom. When I first wake up, I just lay there and rest a few minutes until I get up, instead of scrolling through Instagram.
I’m more present
I knew this one was coming. I knew I would be more present, and it is really nice. In conversations during lulls when people pick up their phone, when my coworkers run to the bathroom, or during a family get together, I don’t ever hop on my phone. Instead, I usually do something productive or I just think. I’ve realized how lost of an art this is, as I used to fill any unused minute with phone usage.
How It’s Affected My Health
My mental health
My mind feels quieter. My thoughts aren’t racing as much and thinking during my free time just feels more relaxing. I have no doubt that my ability to be still with myself has positively affected my mental health.
A quieter mind has led to an easier transition to sleep. I wind down much quicker. Not to mention, having good sleep hygiene is so much easier without the use of screens before bed and when I wake up.
Connected to myself
I feel much more connected to myself. I am able to hear more of what my body needs and what isn’t helping. I find myself not eating emotionally as often. If I am stressed, I regulate in ways other than picking up my phone, which has facilitated a more present, patient, and calm sense of self.
Concerns I Had and How I Solved Them
I’m learning my city more and realizing just how much I know. I look up places before I go the old fashioned way and if I need to stop and ask for directions I can. I can also pull into a parking light, turn my light phone into a hotspot, and use my computer.
People wouldn’t reach me
I had genuine anxiety about this when I first switched over my SIM card to the light phone. What if I miss texts or am not as accessible. Here is the reality; if people need you, they will find a way to get a hold of you. There is calling, texting, social media, etc.
All the necessary apps I would miss
iMessage was the first thing I thought I would miss. However, I just use it on my computer if I need to have conversations over text. This keeps my texting boundaries to work hours. Before I disconnected my iPhone, I added any big apps that I needed to my computer’s bookmarks. I even figured out how to post on Instagram with safari. Owning a business, I was also eager to see if this switch would aid work life boundaries or just complicate business in today’s world. For me, it has helped with work life boundaries, and any inconveniences have felt minor in comparison to the benefits.
Cons of the Light Phone
At $299, it is a little pricy. I have heard someone mention that this is a proprietary phone, the only one of its kind, so the price is justified, and it is much cheaper than an iPhone. I found mine used on eBay, and they are currently having a sale until December 15th, which knocks off $50 per phone if you buy more than one.
I also can’t send cash through Venmo on the browser, so I now use Zelle.
I can’t say how long I’ll continue this digital detox, but I also have no itch to get an iPhone again anytime soon. The presence, time, and mental health benefits have been priceless. If you are craving the same and are interested in making the switch, I highly recommend! I bet anything that is stopping you from letting go could be accomplished on your computer.