One grey Wednesday, I was having one of those days where I couldn’t concentrate in the library despite being fully snack equipped, hot drink ready, to-do list waiting and Hallward window seat secured.
I had a productive morning doing small jobs, to procrastinate the dreadfully big task of starting my essay, which was due within the next week. I thought I deserved a quick break from the busy morning I’d had up until that point, but my ‘quick’ break turned into endless hours scrolling through socials because I just didn’t want to do my essay. I was having difficulty concentrating, so I thought if I went to the toilet, a quick stretch would help me out and I could come back a changed woman – and I wasn’t exactly wrong.
I watched my beloved phone fall from balancing on top of the toilet roll holders into the toilet. The panic didn’t kick in till I made my way back to my seat and couldn’t get my phone to turn on, by which point the stress of the whole day got to me, and I quietly burst into tears. So I decided to call it a day. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I was emotional the rest of the day as my housemates told me to just put it in rice and I’d be okay because I was fixated on how badly my day had gone having left the house in high hopes.
I was able to stay in touch with people and continue my streak on Duolingo by using my laptop and I started to realise how dependent I’ve become on my phone. I had to unlearn automatic behaviours, like how often I mindlessly scroll while doing other things and I used my phone to waste my time.
With my essay still waiting to be written, I had no easy distractions to not be able to do it, which made it so much easier to concentrate, though I struggled at first. I noticed more scenery on my walk to campus, background noises and conversations, and noticed the people who were around me. I had to ask people the time as I don’t own a watch. I spent my free time being more creative, which made me happier. I managed to change my mindset to look for the positives in the situation instead of the negative because there was nothing I could change about what had happened.
I was lucky enough to have been given a replacement phone a few days later, but I’m happy to say I’m not dependent on it as I once was. I’m grateful to have a phone again, but I can’t help but feel embarrassed that it took me such a tragedy to even realise how attached I was.
If you’re in need of a phone detox, you could turn it off for a few hours, or a day, and put it at the back of a drawer, or under some clothes in your wardrobe, so you’re less tempted to go digging around for it. Or if you’re feeling really committed you could do what I did, but I don’t recommend the toilet method.