72 Hours without my Phone

~ from 25.Mrz. by Claudia ~ tagged to // ~ No comments yet.

Stefan and I recently spend a few days in a hotel resort a couple of hours away from Potsdam and I wanted to use this time to properly “switch off”. Here’s how it went:

It was Earth Hour yesterday and I have been informing myself about this initiative by WWF for quite some time. I thought about my contribution and though it seems small, it could potentially be quite big if we all would switch off our smartphones for longer periods of time. It would reduce radiation, use of electricity and prolong the “shelf life” of our technical, devices, reducing high production costs.

{Day 1} We left home on a Monday about midday and of course I used my phone in the morning. To check “what’s going on” and to inform my followers and friends on Instagram and WhatsApp that I’ll be offline for a few days. Isn’t it weird that we feel the need to address the fact we’re going to be absent from our social channels? I used to have smartphone-free Sundays and when I didn’t respond to messages etc., friends and family were a bit irritated. Anyway. Our first stop was Berlin, because we wanted to go to a baby store to buy myself a nursing pillow. Usually Stef would do the driving and I be on my phone navigating, so what I did was take Stefan’s phone and navigated us through the big city. So I basically already cheated. Then we had to look for parking spaces, for something to eat and usually I would consult my phone for that. It’s so weird how dependent we are on our phones. When we arrived at the hotel, we wanted to check out the area and how we get from A to B, but because I didn’t have a phone, Stefan had to do everything. Not easy for someone who likes to be in charge. Also, I thought about my phone constantly and I remembered all the time that it was still in Potsdam. Weird.

{Day 2} Waking up on Tuesday was nice, because my first thought was about my phone, but then I remembered it’s not there and I felt relieved. The thing was that I didn’t feel very well during our mini holiday and I had to lie down a lot, time I would usually spend on my phone doing “things”. Now, we had a massive TV in our room opposite the bed and I have to admit that because of me feeling puke-y and unwell AND the weather was really bad we watched a lot of TV. A LOT. We don’t have a TV at home, so we usually watch on-demand programmes. Documentaries, YouTube and Sky (we cancelled our Netflix subscription late January) is what we use to distract ourselves. But it’s a targeted consumption. Not just “switch the TV on and let’s see what’s on”. So we did that. It was glorious. And thus I easily replaced one form of media consumption with the other. What has changed though, was that I didn’t watch something and be on my phone at the same time. Do you do that? I mean, how effed up is this? Now I’m trying to not have my phone on my while I’m watching a YouTube video or when we binge on Babylon Berlin. I felt a bit better in the afternoon, so we did quite a long walk along the lake shore and that was lovely. The weather, still grey, cold and miserable didn’t hold us back from being outside and the fresh air felt nice. And what did I do? Asking for Stefan’s phone to take a few pictures. I had to. I wanted a few pictures to remind myself of this last holiday on our own. Isn’t it weird that we (I) need that sort of “proof”? Why couldn’t I just save this memory in my brain? Shaking my head here…

{Day 3} By Wednesday we have watched a few episodes of Babylon Berlin, trash TV and all the documentaries on arte. I love a good documentary! So insightful and eye-opening, the topic doesn’t matter. But we also went on another lovely cold and rainy walk, found a posh celebrity restaurant and only had the soup, because we couldn’t afford more, I had a massage and Stefan went to the indoor pool and sauna of our hotel. That was nice and “offline”! And I actually read a bit, too. In an actual book. The book is called “How to be Calm” and of the self-help variety, but it was beautifully made and of course there was a chapter on social media consumption and how it isn’t good for us. As if I didn’t already know that. Duh! Still I think I need constant reminding. On Wednesday evening we watched the German equivalent of “The Great British Bake-off” and Stefan, being a trained pastry chef, and I, being the worlds biggest cake lovers had the time of our lives. At one point I’ve binge watched all seasons of the British bake-off and loved it and I have to say the German show was equally gripping. While we watched this I thought about getting a TV just to watch shows like this but I’ve erased this embarrassing thought in an instant.

{Day 4} Thursday was our departure day and since the weather was shitty still, we had breakfast and went home. We did drive past an IKEA to buy a changing table for our baby and we needed Stefan’s phone to get us there and to navigate through all the chest of drawers IKEA has in order to make the best purchase. While I thought it’s weird that we’re running through a furniture place with the actual furniture in front of us with a smartphone, I saw so many people doing the same and I felt relieved. We’re not the only weirdos dependent on technology. We got home around lunch time and before I’ve even unpacked or did something else I went straight for my phone and had a look if someone has contacted me. No one had. The feeling of relief once again. I was actually scared to find a phone full of notifications and missed phone calls, but my announcement prior to abandoning my phone helped. Driving home all I thought about was my phone and how I hoped that no-one wanted something from me. This feeling was so strong that I ultimately have to think more deeply about that. I haven’t, because it might open up a can of worms. (Why don’t I want anybody to contact me? What does that say about me?)

{Conclusion} I have failed. I used Stefan’s phone while mine wasn’t available, I’ve watched a heck of a lot TV to compensate for my missing phone and I thought constantly about my phone and how people might react to me not answering their calls or messages. Now. What do I learn from this? I might be addicted. Or society only works with a smartphone nowadays. It might be both. While the topic of reducing social media (and phone time) is going around my head for quite some time now (I have a few blog posts on that topic here and here) I still haven’t managed it very well to stay clear from it. Yes, I use less social media channels and yes, it helps massively in the stress department, I still need to find a good balance. I’m still not there yet. The Michalaks, a vlogger family I like watching on YouTube just got old Nokia phones to be more offline. Other content creators I like to watch recommended the app “Moment”, a phone screen time tracker, which I also installed today to see how much I use my phone. Maybe it helps me to reduce my consumption. We’ll see.

So, do you use your phone super often? Or don’t you? Tell me your secrets or fails in the comments, please!


Quit-O-Meter: 1 out of 5 quinces

I’m thinking about reintroducing the phone-free Sunday and also try to free myself from being constantly available for everybody. In all honesty, this is my number one stress-inducer: having to instantly react to things on my phone. “Kill what kills you”, right? So I’m trying to use my phone less. Who’s with me?

Keine Kommentare »

No comments yet.

Hush, leave a comment, dear!