Natasha Meek: How do I switch off and use less apps to live happy?

The world can be a place of many contradictions.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 12:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 12:25 pm
SCREEN TEST: Can you live without your mobile phone?

This week’s episode of BBC One’s Real Marigold Hotel featured Miriam Margoyles in Havana whose first mission of the day was to find Wi​-Fi and catch up on emails.

Famous singer Ed Sheeran, 26, took a year-long social media break.

So much so, it seems there isn’t as much of a generation divide as we think - the technological age has well and truly reached us all.

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As a 19 year old, my phone represents a lot of my life experiences.

It’s a smaller and more stressful version of my address book, board games and camera combined together.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like social media to help you stay connected to the world.

Making friends around the globe, practicing a second language and gaining new perspectives are all perks of having a phone.

This weekend as my friend returned from university for Christmas, I got the sweetest message from her new classmate in Cornwall.

“Please give Alix lots and lots of hugs for me, but not so many that she doesn’t come back to Falmouth!”

As a curious person who talks on buses, this virtual message was just as meaningful as a face-to-face chat.

However, there’s somewhat of a disregard for people’s boundaries when it comes to social media. Social rules go out of the window and it is not uncommon for my phone to ping with a notification at 2am.

As a young woman, social media can be quite mentally draining for my self esteem. It’s very easy to compare yourself to picture-perfect posts.

My 10-year​-old family friend has just joined social media and is already worried about calories.

This saddens me, knowing how silly and carefree I was at that age.

By the end of the week, this electronic underworld leaves me utterly overwhelmed. My body almost feels suffocated by the lack of privacy and constant communication.

I took the plunge and created my own personal switch off. Every Saturday I put my phone away and leave it to the landline for any urgent calls.

If you feel the same, how do you ​turn off?

Here are some tips that I’ve learnt to help you ​tune out. One of the first things we do on a morning is reach for our phones - in a frenzy over missing out on what’s happening.

For nosy people, it’s hard but necessary.​ ​Try put your phone in another room or wait at least 40 minutes to start your day in peace and quiet.

If you get public transport, why not read the local paper or a new book? It’s far too easy to get stuck scrolling through Facebook.

This tip also works well with lunch breaks.

The most popular way to deal with a phone obsession is to switch it off an hour before bed - which helps you sleep better too!

Blogger Gretchen Rubin once said “technology is a good servant, but a bad master”.

Remember, there’s still a universe outside the one we create using our phones​ ... better to be happy than appy!