How to break up with your smartphone

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It’s official: we’re in a relationship with our smartphones. The average person checks their device about 80 times a day, according to a recent report, and we collectively spend more than five hours a day on our phones.

But as with any relationship, there are ups and downs. Maybe you’re feeling a little suffocated by your phone, or maybe you’re simply ready for a change. Whatever the reason, breaking up with your smartphone can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you make the break.

1. Set some ground rules

Before you break up with your smartphone, it’s important to set some ground rules. Decide how often you’ll allow yourself to check your phone, and stick to it. If you find yourself constantly reaching for your phone, try setting a timer for yourself or keeping it in another room.

2. Unsubscribe from notifications

One of the main reasons we’re so attached to our phones is because of notifications. Every time we get a new email, text, or social media notification, our brain releases a small dose of dopamine, which makes us feel good.

To break the notification addiction, start by unsubscribing from email newsletters and other non-essential notifications. Then, turn off notifications for social media and other apps that aren’t essential to your daily life. You can always check them manually when you have some free time.

3. Find new hobbies

When you’re not staring at your phone, you might find yourself with some extra free time. Instead of scrolling through social media or playing games, try using that time to pick up a new hobby. Take up knitting, learn to play an instrument, or start a garden. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this list of hobbies for inspiration.

4. Spend time with friends and family

One of the best things about breaking up with your smartphone is that it gives you the chance to connect with the people in your life in a more meaningful way. Instead of texting or messaging your friends, give them a call or better yet, meet up with them in person.

5. Be present in the moment

When you’re constantly checking your phone, it’s easy to miss out on what’s happening around you. One of the best things about breaking up with your smartphone is that it allows you to be more present in the moment.

Next time you’re out to dinner with friends, put your phone away and really focus on the conversation. Or, if you’re at a concert or a play, resist the urge to take photos or videos and just enjoy the experience.

6. Get more sleep

If you’re used to falling asleep with your phone in your hand, you might find that breaking up with your smartphone helps you sleep better. That’s because the blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle.

To get the best night’s sleep, experts recommend disconnecting from electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. So, if you’re used to scrolling through social media in bed, try reading a book instead.

7. Be patient

Breaking up with your smartphone is a process, and it might take some time to adjust. If you find yourself struggling, be patient with yourself and remember that it’s okay to take things slow.

If you find that you can’t go more than a few hours without your phone, try gradually increasing the amount of time you go without it. Start with an hour, then two, then a half day, and so on. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you don’t even miss it.

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