Going Warm Turkey on Phones (Weeks 4-5)

Phone Addiction, Rat Brain, Self Care

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As expected, the battle with my phone (and internet) addiction is proving to be challenging, but in ways I haven’t anticipated.

I’ve had reasonable success eliminating the smaller, less anxiety inducing times I use my phone, such as not using it while walking or on the loo or something (I know, I know).  I use my phone considerably less at work, now, and hardly check it at all before work. However, I’ve got some time off work at the moment and it’s been difficult keeping that momentum going without the usual routine.

This has highlighted something that seems obvious, but I’m finding myself tripping over again and again — when you’re tired, hungry, hormonal or generally emotional compromised, it’s going to be easy to fall into compulsions. It is phenomenally easy to avoid doing compulsions when you feel tiptop, but if your go-to approach for uncomfortable feelings is still avoidance… You’re always going to reach for the thing that helps you avoid it.

I am exhausted right now. This is the first sliver of time I’ve had off from work since I started here, and I was beginning to get burned out. However, I need to remember that self care doesn’t mean lying like a slug in my bed all day until my muscles ache, it means not avoiding my feelings. It’s easy to tell myself that I will feel more tired, more burned out if I allow myself to feel everything, but I actually feel worse when I reach for all my addictions.

So yes, I am exhausted, but I need to take care of my little rat brain right now.

P.S. I’m almost halfway through my No Takeaway/Fast Food challenge this month. This along with tracking my phone usage has  been illuminating to say the least, about the arguments my brain makes up to justify compulsions, and what is necessary to stay on track with my values. I was just going to post week to week like with the phone stuff but I’m going to do a monthly roundup of what I learned, instead 🙂

Surprisingly it’s gone far better than this phone challenge, and taught me numerous things about compulsions and sticking to values so… Maybe cold turkey isn’t so bad!

Going Warm Turkey on Phones, Week 3

Phone Addiction, Values based living

See last week’s post here.

I had a pretty bad start last week. Mostly hormonal: the pill is the devil and the break wreaks havoc on my mental state (less so my body thankfully). During that time I often find myself doing more compulsions, spiralling more easily, and doing things I avoid the rest of the month (e.g. giving a shit about people I don’t interact with anymore). This happens to a lot of people I think, and my dad’s suggestions of ‘herbal remedies’ are surprisingly not very helpful…(!)

Nonetheless my phone usage for the week WAS considerably lower, by about 13 hours. I’m happy that even though I’ve had a terrible time, I still made progress. As well, my time spent surfing at work isn’t as high as I’d imagined; about an hour or so, which isn’t terrible over a full work day. I am still very distracted though, and check often which doesn’t amount to much time but still disrupts my mental state.

In terms of cutting out specific activities I’ve not made any new progress; not using my phone while walking or on the toilet or something haven’t quite become automatic yet. As such,  after next week I’ll probably change to biweekly and then monthly updates since it’ll take longer to make visible changes 🙂

I’m also going to work on my takeaway addiction next month as a semi challenge with Working Girl. In which I WILL be going cold turkey — and hopefully eating some turkey…

 

 

Going Warm Turkey on Phones: Week 2

Levelling Up and Productivity, Phone Addiction, Values based living

See last week’s post here.

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Since the last week, things have … Improved. Not as much as I would like, perhaps, but any movement is movement right?

Some numbers/observations:

  • I managed to get my phone time down to about 3-5h a day. Better. That’s a start.
  • Weekends were down a fair bit. I’d been on about 12h both Saturday and Sunday the week previous. I got about 7h/5h this past weekend, and felt like I got a lot more done than I normally do.
  • I only had one headache last week. Coincidentally it was on the day I fell apart a bit and used my phone a ton. Colour me surprised.
  • Despite uninstalling reddit, I instead torture myself with the terrible mobile site now. This happens even though I fucking hate reddit and most of the posts there make me feel miserable. I probably need to explore my reddit addiction more deeply…

The good stuff:

In general, cutting down using the graded hierarchy method I outlined last time seems to be working well. Sometimes I start automatically using my phone while eating or walking because I’m used to that; however, usually I’m able to remember that I made a commitment to not doing that.

Since I’d already identified that these weren’t situations that led to more than a 1 or 2 on the discomfort scale, it was just a matter of putting it away. I think this method works well with current thought on how best to form habits, too — the situation is the trigger, and chains on to an existing activity I do already so it’s easy to remember.

Given a bit more time I reckon it’ll become more natural. I’ve seen this happen with my quick walk to the station in the morning, where I established that I wouldn’t use my phone for any reason (unless I see a car accident or something) during that time. I automatically put it away before I leave now.

Thoughts for ahead:

I’m sure I will encounter a bit more difficulty as I move up the hierarchy and it becomes more anxiety inducing to cut out phone time (especially with sleep time — you can see above I had a lot of trouble with nightmares last night). I’ll probably need to adjust my method slightly at that point, and introduce more supports. Still, hopefully in the lead up to that I’ll have learned to be more mindful in general and the urge to surf won’t be so strong 🙂

Something else to think about is that although I check my phone less, I am conscious that I may unconsciously shift to using my laptop more, especially at work when bored. I’ll need to think about that, and maybe set smaller amounts of time when in the office to stay off my phone/the internet in general.

See ya next week!

 

 

Going Warm Turkey on Phones: Week 1

Phone Addiction, Self Care, Values based living

I recently installed an app, Quality Time, to track how much time I was spending on there and what I was doing. I had a vague idea that it was a lot but wasn’t sure exactly how much, and for the last few months I’ve not really wanted to know. But after finally getting diagnosed with having tension headaches that have been plaguing me at work — and finally realising my phone usage was one big compulsion I’d just decided was “fine” for some reason — I figured it might be time to bite the bullet.

12 hours. On both Saturday and Sunday. My work days weren’t much better, and were characterised by multiple unlocks just to check … Something that wasn’t even there?