Healthy Living

Why I Set My Phone Aside…Sometimes

04/25/2017 05:15pm ET | Updated April 26, 2017

I held onto my phone with one hand as my children, laughing, bickering, unbuckled their seatbelts and we pulled into the parking spot of the hiking trail. One foot out of the car, I had a burst of in-the-moment inspiration.

“Wait, I’ll be right there!” I called, as I shoved my phone into the front-seat tray. I took a deep breath as I shut the door, a freeing breath that I hadn’t felt in quite some time.

Nobody could call, text, email. I didn’t feel like I had to capture every moment on camera. I could be in the moment. In that moment, felt the grounding silence around me so profoundly, even amidst the happy noise of my family.

“You are the photographer for the day, I left my phone in the car!” I jubilantly told my husband, as I joined my family. He wound up taking a few photos, and putting his phone in the backpack he was carrying.

As we walked through the trails, it was us.

Crisp air. Glistening water. Absolutely majestic trees. Rushing waterfalls. Impossibly smooth branches that my children used as walking sticks as we climbed, balanced, leaped, crouched, and held hands through a place that still feels so magical in my mind as I write these words.

My husband, the one with the phone and consequent photographer, captured this image at one of our family hikes. So, so peaceful.

I sometimes feel as though, we, as a society, can feel the anxiety that may come with the convenience connected to being ‘always available’. Don’t get me wrong-my cellphone has been so helpful in countless ways. I do notice, however, the difference in setting limits in its use.

Shutting my phone off at specific times of the day, when my responsibilities allow for it, has done wonders for my well-being.

My important, phone-free, times in my life are for being a family, a couple, and having down-time. At moments that feel especially hectic, I find benefit in the use of a personal mantra, of sorts, to remind myself to stop, and take this type of break.

“This is Me-Time.”

OR

“This is Couple-Time.”

OR

“This is Family-Time.”

“With my phone off, there are no distractions. Nothing can interrupt this moment in time. “

My experience has been that this practice, in and of itself, has made specific important moments in my own day-to-day feel that much more focused, while improving my overall peace of mind and consequent quality of life.