Leaving the #iPhone Behind

Category: Weekly Columns

A while ago, I wrote Seven Days Without My iPhone. Now, I’ve gone another 5 days, with one more to go, without it again. It is liberating. Much has been written lately about taking Social Media sabbaticals or breaks. Not only is it a good idea, I would assert it would improve your relationships – especially in your “home” family – and also improve, yes, your health.

Health? Hmm, is he reaching a bit with that one? NO, because stress is one of the biggest factors related to our health and being constantly plugged in is stressful or, at the very least intense, depending on your level of connection. Stress, like change, actually affects us whether it’s good or bad (stress or change).

So, being connected and reaching for that phone, checking your email, texting, surfing the web, etc. is stressful. Our bodies AND our souls need a break from it all.

That is why many religions have a Sabbath. In Judaism, it’s a proscribed 24 hours of shutting down. Created long before the advent of technology, it was recognized as an important needed break from the rigors of life. In those times, it was simply a break and rest from labor. It was an opportunity to recuperate, to re-connect with family, and to respect and honor God.

Not a bad idea.

Some old things are as relevant as the latest software update or newest iPhone. This is definitely one of them.

The reason for this particular “sabbatical” is simply my being cheap. I’m visiting my in-laws in Canada and my phone plan charges exorbitant rates when we’re abroad. I could change it for a few days and lessen the charges, but I chose to just unplug the iPhone since I still have wi-fi and otherwise have regular access to all I need…just not EVERY minute of EVERY day.

When I see myself checking my phone while out with friends, I reflect on this bad habit. I am trying to stop that. It’s not polite; it’s not necessary. We all did just fine back in the days when there was no email, no cell-phones, and no answering machines. Maybe, we even did better? Maybe, the quality of our lives was better?

  • Rebel

    I am so nodding my head and saying YES YES YES.

    I cannot believe how addictive social media is. Here’s my quick story. I live alone and work at home 90% of the time. SoMe turned into my conversation and interaction – as I would have in an office.  Problem is – I spend more time on SoMe than I EVER would spend in an office chatting with people/ taking a break.

     I’ve been taking small breaks – but the other day I realized I have to make a bigger shift. Im still feeling my way into exactly what that shift is – but it’s coming.

    Love the Sabbath idea Bruce – I’m thinking weekends….

    reb

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Start with one day, Red…then build up to a WHOLE weekend!

      • Rebel

         Ah honey – I can go a week without a blink.  Do it all the time when I go campin with the horses.  I learned to shut down a long time ago… My issue isn’t about blocking time outs….its about balancing the time when I AM online.  That’s my learning…. 

        reb

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          What is camping?

  • Rowena

    This is a super cool article.  Love the way your blog looks.  Who knew green could be so attractive?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thx so much Rowena…I was concerned it was TOOOOO green!

  • http://alphaefficiency.com Bojan Djordjevic

    I don’t wanna do it 😀

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      No one is forcing you…but, I promise if you do, you will look back and reflect on how good it felt to unplug!

  • Jules

    I just did a work-a-holic segment on my podcast WhatTheJulesLIVE and we discussed the issue of leaving the phone off for awhile for yor physical health and the health of your relationships. The stats agree with all of your points. The stress issue can’t be stressed enough! We are killing ourselves with our over connectedness.
    Thank you for addressing this important topic and addressing it so well.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I think this subject is really on ALL our minds, Jules…I appreciate your kind words!

  • http://twitter.com/thejoshuawilner Joshua Wilner

    Try turning off the sound for the notifications. It really helps to break the Pavlovian desire to check it constantly.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Leaving it fully behind was so liberating…need to do it more often!

  • http://www.inclinedesign.info CASUDI

    I am seeing this more and more “The unplugged trend” and I AM doing it more and more. Congratulations for unplugging and seeing the value!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Every time it feels good – after the initial feeling of discomfort!

      • http://www.inclinedesign.info CASUDI

         The pain-discomfort is good = you know you are really alive 🙂

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          I totally agree…it’s funny how the best things in life are often preceded by pain and discomfort – like being a parent, working hard, working out, finishing a difficult job/task, etc. 

  • @MimiBakerMN

    I agree, technology has completely ingrained itself in our lives. I find myself with the bad habit of checking my phone with friends as well. It’s a habit I need to get rid of! I won’t admit how long I’ve been without my phone since I got a smart phone 2 yrs ago. Pleading the 5th on this one!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Ahhh, c’mon Mimi…fess up!

  • http://www.dadblunders.com/ dadblunders

    I have this debate with myself and friends all the time. I remember a time when we didn’t have cell phones or the technology that was instantaneous. I often ask are we closer now as a society or further apart. I can see be both sides so I can’t give you a definitive answer but I can say this…

    When I was little and I didn’t know if my friends were home I would try call them on a landline (oh the horror) and most people didn’t have a answering machine. If i couldn’t find them at home through a phone call I would get on my bike and ride to their house to check (more horrors).

    I was born at the of 1969 and I was not an overweight child but a large majority of today’s children (1 in 6) are. I wonder if its because I didn’t have the technology to rely on and actually had to put forth effort to maintain bonds. Outside was not a dirty word because I didn’t have the option of just staying inside. I believe we need and have to disconnect every once in awhile. If for no other reason than to have face to face with people that we are friends with.

    Aaron

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Good questions Aaron. The older we get the more we tend to “wax poetic” about the “Good ‘ol days” and I’m occasionally guilty of that. The reality is there is/was good and bad then as there is now…

      • http://www.dadblunders.com/ dadblunders

        I don’t think there are any simple answers either.
        It would be some good questions for a dadchat. Are we closer to today as a society or further apart because of technology….

        Aaron

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          We’ve sort of covered this in various other topics at #DadChat, but an exclusive topic in this vein is an excellent idea, Aaron!

          • http://www.dadblunders.com/ dadblunders

             I knew a few things had been discussed here there in recent topics. I just thought one that is exclusively about society…..

            Yesterday vs. today in some ways

            I know since I was born in 69 (A 60’s love child as my wife points out) I remember things quite differently than they are today. I was a teen in the 80’s and I still had to physically see if people were home. Lots of parents today were teens in the 90’s or later and they don’t recall those times as easily. From what I had seen as a social worker I think it changes parenting styles somewhat.

            Thanks for liking the idea!

            Aaron

          • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

            Aaron, I was a high school senior when you were born…shhhhhhhh!

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  • David Weber

    I would love to get off my cell phone. I first subscribed to a service in 1999. For several years, I went MONTHS at a stretch between placing or receiving calls, more often than not never even switching the phone on, let alone taking it with me anywhere.

    That changed in about 2007, when an uncle said that with a 90-yr.-old mother, his sister, I should be easily accessible at all times. He was angry with me to the point of inarticulateness that I didn’t have the phone with me always. (My mother lives in Calif., I live in NC.)

    Now I take the frigging mobile phone with me virtually everywhere. I get a knot in my stomach if I inadvertently leave it somewhere I’m not, like at the office and i’m in my car and on the way home, or vice versa.

    I virtually never check my stupid cell phone; and I certainly don’t answer it when it rings during a conversation (I automatically hit ignore), unless I was expecting an important call and usually inform my conversation partner that I may be receiving it. My phone is not even set up to receive email, even though it’s a smart phone.

    A portable phone IS a convenience to have it when occasionally I want to make a phone call and, not being at home or the office at that moment, would, 20+ years ago, have had to find a pay phone. So, yes, I would never say that it is worthless to have a phone that goes where you do. I do, however, dislike the ugly features — the weeds that outnumber the roses — of the mobile phone culture.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I sort of feel like your Uncle DW, since you are your mom’s ONLY son (only child)…btw, what’s a “pay phone”? Is that one of the pre-paid cell-phones you can buy in a drug-store?

  • Michael

    Hey Bruce,
    I am happy to see that you tried this 1.5 yrs. ago. I leave my iPhone behind. I am on day 3 now and you are very right about what you say! I like your humor here. If you are into German, check out http://www.thepastwasperfect.com/wordpress where you can find my blog where I tell the world the problems I face without my iPhone.

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