Every night, I sleep with my phone on Airplane mode. Not “Do Not Disturb” mode, but completely on Airplane mode, shut down to any incoming data, wifi, bluetooth, you name it. Right before bed every night, I render my phone completely useless to communicate with the outside world. I’ve been doing this now for years, at least three, and it’s one of the best habits I’ve ever established. Anytime I forget to switch on Airplane mode before bed and wake up with notifications, I feel off for the rest of the day.
I’m also noticing that the time of morning that I switch it off has an impact on my day, as does what I do with my phone (or computer!) first after it’s reconnected. If I immediately head to Instagram, it usually winds up being an Instagram kind of day, wherein I find myself doing far too much scrolling and checking obsessively. If I answer texts, immediately I’m sucked into an ongoing chat. If I browse Pinterest…well, you get the picture.
Yesterday on her stories, Amy Young shared that she’s been experimenting with something similar: not downloading the Instagram app until after 12PM. She shared that she generally feels less obsessed with it when she starts the day with this “Instagram vacay” as she calls it, and that feels true for me too. Taking some active space from the apps that obsess us is a great way to retrain our brains. We get to assert that these technologies do not control us, as addictive as they might be. We get to take some of the power back!
I’m realizing how important it is to set the tone for the day, in this and other ways. If I start by giving in to the shiny thing that’s going to give me a hit of dopamine, I’ll be chasing that feeling all day. But if I start by having a cup of tea and doing some quiet reading, or journaling, or meditating, I‘m actively creating space for myself. I’m limiting my exposure to these addictions and suddenly all kinds of energy opens up. I might tidy my apartment, or try a DIY, or make lists in my notebook. I have control over my day, and that always feels so good.