Confessions of a Nomophobic on her way to rehab

Cheers to this new resolution..
Cheers to this new resolution..

I felt down, heard a crack and my Iphone still in my back pocket, just thought “Please Lord, let that be my leg!”. I must have said it loud enough for the hubby to give me a puzzled look and say “darling, you are really weird! You do need a proper detox!“.

Antiloneliness Ramen bowl by Miso Soup design: eat and surf! sad? (c)
Antiloneliness Ramen bowl by Miso Soup design: eat and surf! sad?

Did you know that 24% of smartphone users check their phone while driving? 48% use their phone at the gym and that 85%, instead of hugging their beloved one and just smiling at the sun, would rather check their phone within 15′ of waking up??

Did you know that smartphone users check their Facebook about 15 times a day, and 50% even at the movie??? I wish I could laugh at it and tell you in total honesty “ridiculous! Me? ne-ver!“…

In South East Asia in general and in the Philippines in particular, people are constantly checking their smartphone. All cafés and restaurants have at least a dozen of plugs in case you need to recharge your battery, wifi is free, so whatever you eat, breath and do will be posted on the new holy trinity _ IG, Facebook and Twitter. It is a widespread addiction, and no horror movie can surpass the sensation of touching your pocket and not finding your iphone! Been there, done that an incredible number of times.

When we were in France last month, the contrast was amazing.

Free wifi is still scare over there, so I eventually put down my phone and started to talk with the people around me. After a few days, I achieved the impossible: I put my phone into my bag. Not too far from me, but not at my finger tip anymore. Marcel noticed the milestone and silently gave me an encouraging nod “you can do it. I know you can“. My chin was trembling, my heartbeat was faster than usual, but I left the phone in my bag for 240 minutes!einstein

Being a woman of challenge, I also resisted the burning temptation to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower. Oddly enough, I enjoyed this long forgotten feeling of looking UP! I was eventually in the real life, in the moment. Totally in the present.

The detox also had its share of physical benefits: less stress, less tension in my neck and eyes. So much time at hand actually. I am now listening again to the cab drivers’ stories, talking to people in the jeepney, and I know I offer more quality time to the people around me.

I also re-discovered the pleasure of reading. A book. A real one, made of paper! I always complained of lack of time, but I was wrong. I can definitely spare a few hours a day when I turn off my phone.

We have set up a new routine at home: turn off cellular data from 5 to 8, to be totally with the kids. I am offline and reachable only by text at least 5h a day, from 10 till 3. Week end are detox days, no internet connection from 10 to 8. Now I really appreciate the moment I turn on the wifi again, it feels like the goo’ol’ days when I was opening the mail box..

Try it, it is really worth the little effort : there is an incredible world waiting to be explored out there!

Just for you, to help with the detox:

You can also join groups of people who also want to live in real life, such as Folkrebellion

And as ironically as it may seem, download apps that will help you break free 🙂


36 thoughts on “Confessions of a Nomophobic on her way to rehab

  1. Great post, Estela! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and have been trying really hard to stay off my phone, too. There is so much more to live for than my phone screen and sadly, so many people forget that these days (including myself sometimes). Best of luck with your detox! I loveee the photos by the way, by the way, especially the phone case. 🙂

      1. Same here! especially with a delicious meal : P Calm, coffee and pain au chocolat, what else?

  2. Oh I love this. And I had to smile as I scheduled a post this morning to be up tomorrow evening (did you see the Youtube clip ‘look up’?). Great minds think alike…

    1. for sure 😉 Looking forward to reading it! I haven’t seen the youtube video, will you embed it in your post?

  3. Great post, I need to set some rules to detox as well. While I don’t check my phone at dinner or most of the workday, I need to cut down on weekend time as well!

    1. Isn’t it crazy how addicted we can get? Our new “rules” have made such a difference, and I am feeling far less stressed since I became Wifi free and the kids don’t need to shout to get my attention (well, not that loud at least ;).. Back to how it should be: I am the one in charge, not my phone. So far, so good…
      Have a sweet day dear and thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great post, Estelea.
    It is shocking to see this happening. I got used to seeing everyone around me in public spaces just typing instead of talking or watching the views.
    Yesterday, after we finished a Yin yoga class, which is deeply relaxing, as I stood up from my mat I saw a woman behind me looking at her smartphone. I was appalled.
    All I could think of after that class was to drink a cup of tea, and keep the relaxing flow.
    Thanks for sharing wonderful reminders.
    And here is what I read another day.

    1. Thanks Lucile for this very interesting link. I think that if Nomophobia is most widespread among teenagers and students, probably because they were born with internet and used to have everything at their finger tips, instantaneously.
      I felt sorry to read that people are getting so excited because they have the apps that enable them to order their food prior to entering their restaurant. So sad, spending time waiting for the meal is part of the show to me. It’s when you enjoy your drink and the company (in any order!)

      After a few weeks of my new “wifi free zone” diet, I noticed that Taxi drivers are talking to me again, people lining at the markets too. Feels good to feel this kind of connection too 😉

      You made me smile with the yoga story. How about this one: The first time I managed to do a headstand in Bangkok, my yoga instructor asked me if he could pick up my phone in my bag so he could take a pic I could post on FB… Nah… Talk about relaxation and “focus on your breathing” 😉 XXX

      1. I’m happy you liked it.
        I guess it’s still the generation pre-Internet who gets more upset about the nomophobia because the others, as you say, were born and raised with it. Your Einstein quote was very good to define it, but I hope he’s wrong.
        Isn’t that marvelous what you’re experiencing? I do understand though that you may have been more attached to your phone because you live abroad and away from family and friends, and that’s a natural way to be in touch with them. So, that’s fine to have some attachment to it.
        So funny your teacher asking you that. I can imagine how many times he had to do that before. He might ha e been surprised that you didn’t want to do it.
        I once wrote a post about another woman with a phone ringing in class during savasana. We lost our relaxation as she didn’t lose hers and dint move to turn it off, ignoring it completely. She might be Buddha. Lol.

      2. Honestly it was more than attachment. Something borderline to passion 😉
        Honestly, I felt so surprised when he asked for my phone that I told him I had no battery. “No pb kha!”, and he took his to immortalize the moment 😉
        Eventually the pic turned out ok ;))
        All those weird things happening during yoga.. you re supposed to be so focused that in principle, you shouldn”t hear them in the first place. Or at least let it go and not caring. When I did savananda in India, I couldn’t, I remember the first months I had to leave the room because all the “noises” would really irritate me. I bet you know what I mean …..;)

      3. I’m happy you got out of it.
        When I felt I was getting into it I also cut the habit to avoid becoming addicted. But I still watch myself.
        Your post was a great reminder. I added the photo to my phone’s background and it really works wonders. I saw myself stopping short from opening an app when grabbing my phone during Abby’s ride, after reading the background message. Effective message. I looked around instead and it was a much nicer trip.
        Ah these yoga classes are very interesting. We need to have a few cuppas sharing our stories.

      4. Oh yes we do!!! Amazing how those little screen savers can work wonders.. 😉
        Big hugs ❤

  5. Estelea,
    I’ve been meaning to write to you about this post I read last week…It really hit me in such a powerful way….I suffer too from too much cell phone use…How many times do I cross the street in NYC while reading or texting? Terrible! I have almost tripped on the sidewalk and have walked into people…I really must stop doing it but I feel so glued to my phone…
    Your post was an eye-opener that I need to detox too…I appreciate the apps and the funny iPhone reminders to look up. I really have to look up more and around me!
    Thanks my friend for sharing this important reminder!

    1. I am so glad it can “help” you too 🙂 Since I have downloaded this screensaver, it actually helped, it is a good little reminder .
      And you’ll realize after at while that the detox is not that hard, there is so much to enjoy when you look UP too 🙂

      Let me know how the rehab goes my dear! Good night X

      1. Your advice is really great and a real wake up call! I swear I started today being more aware of using my phone less!
        Thank you!

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