Step Away From the Phone

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Consultant Tips” series, written by Charese Fruge on April 28, 20202

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meme, challenge or political sh*# show on social media. I have always tried to make it a point not to post political opinions of my own on these outlets, but I’m not going to lie, I’m addicted to reading everyone else’s opinions, especially when people are gaslighting or shaming each other and their true stupidity comes out. It’s comical. Twitter is the worst (or best) place for this. And I confess, if I agree, I’ll tap the heart on my screen and occasionally even retweet.

I’ll also admit that I’ve been even more obsessed with Twitter since Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, volunteered 2.3 million Las Vegans as “Tribute” to be a “Control Group” in a real live version of The Coronavirus Hunger Games meets the Twilight Zone. It happened during one of the most painful interviews I’ve ever seen with Anderson Cooper on CNN last week. I’m a Las Vegas citizen and NO I don’t want to be a part of a “Control Group” that could potentially take the lives of millions of Americans if we re-open the city and casinos too soon.

The reason I bring this up is because I’ve noticed lately that I am a lot more anxious and irritated at times, more so than usual, and I live alone so there’s no one around to make me crazy or vice versa. And sure, there are significant reasons for this, including being on lockdown for the last six weeks and not being able to leave the house or be as active and productive as I’d like. But I’m a pretty happy person and typically very positive. And I stay in touch with my family and friends often via FaceTime and Zoom, and when this all began, I knew in the back of my mind that it would be a lot longer than May 1 before things got back to normal, so I was prepared for the long game. What I wasn’t prepared for was the agitation and frustration I started to experience after trolling through my phone on social media all the time.

As humans we are addicted to this pattern. But I realized it was becoming a HUGE problem for me when I woke up one morning at 7:30 and at about 10:45, I was still lying in bed frustrated, with no motivation to get up, and still trolling through social media. And honestly, it wasn’t the first time that had happened to me since the lockdown. I even found myself responding to things I would never respond to just out of anger or outrage. I’ve always been addicted to news too, but when I look at my weekly screen time use lately, I realize I’m making myself crazy and I seriously have a problem. I even tried to stay off social media for the weekend, just to see if I could relax or go back to taking everything with a grain of salt.

So far, I haven’t been able to do it. I’ve cut down “a little,” but I’m still addicted. And I know it’s unrealistic to be able to take a vacation from our phones, but I can tell from social media, that the majority of us are developing very unhealthy habits and we’ve got to cut it off before it’s too late. So I’ll make a deal with you, let’s go through these steps together to see if we can regain control of actual productivity in our lives and maybe even a little more sanity.

  1. Set a time during the day (and stick to it) to scroll through your accounts. Mornings are probably better so you’re not tossing and turning all night.

2. Set your timer for 30 minutes to scroll. Anything beyond that is WAY too much time.

3. If you have to post something, make sure it’s positive. No one likes a “Negative Nancy.”

4. If you can make it funny please do. Everybody needs a good laugh right now.

These are four simple steps, but we’ve got to start somewhere. My addiction is not only messing with my psyche, but it’s also causing useless spending on junk from Instagram and Amazon and preventing me from getting out and getting some healthy activity in (while social distancing of course). That can lead to financial problems, especially while the economy is at a stand-still and there’s no income coming in. And if we don’t get out and exercise, and treat ourselves right, that makes us 50 times more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

It’s a very simple first step to making sure we survive mentally, physically and financially from this tragic pandemic: Just STOP, AND STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE for a minute.