Get off your phone

Every morning I wake up and reach for my phone. I check Instagram, Snapchat, emails, text messages and even Facebook if I am feeling adventurous. I do this without fail every morning. But wouldn’t it be nice to break this streak?

Over winter break, my family and I went on a trip to South Africa. On this trip, I did not have any cell service, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Although that soon changed and I eventually connected  to WiFi, I was a little excited about the forced separation that I had with my phone.

On the trip, I had access to the internet but found myself leaving my phone behind. Instead, I spent the time that I was normally on my phone with my friends and family. It endedup being one of the best trips of my life.

In a society where we need to be constantly updating the world about our lives and need social media sources to constantly update us, it is important to take a minute to enjoy what is surrounding you instead of look down at your phone.

While in South Africa, I was able to reconnect with friends and meet new people that I normally would not have been able to connect with. Although I missed my friends at home, I was excited about making new friendships and strengthening old ones.

If I had been fixated on getting my next Snapchat or waiting for my Instagram feed to update, I would have missed out on the opportunities that the trip presented to me. But why, when I came back to California, did I find myself falling back into old habits and re-gluing my phone to my hand?

For the month that I have been back, I have been trying to force myself into a phone detox. When I get home from school, I will check my social media, answer any texts or Snapchats and then leave it in the kitchen as I go and do homework in my room. I have found that I am more productive and that I can finish my work in a much more time-efficient manner, which leaves me more time to go out and interact with my friends.

When I go out, I will put my phone face down on the table which prevents me from feeling the need to look at it and check social media. This has allowed me to strengthen my friendships by showing that I am engaged in what the other person is saying.

Now, I am not trying to say that I am perfect by any means; I still check my phone in the morning and more frequently than I would like, but staying off of my phone for the extra hour or two has allowed me to build better relations with my friends and interact with people on a deeper level than before.

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