A few weeks ago, I set out on a 6 day long camping trip with my school. Keep in mind, this was my first ever camping trip and in the 10 years that I have had a phone, the first time I have gone more than a couple of days without being "plugged in." Believe it or not, I survived and since then my entire relationship with my phone has changed.

We live in a society that is constantly connected. Always scrolling through Instagram, posting on Snapchat, and sending friends funny memes. Don't get me wrong, I love my phone and I love social media. I think that the ease at which we can connect with people all over the world is beautiful but it comes with a cost. 

If you look around yourself right now, count how many people are staring at a screen. Think about what you do in times where you feel uncomfortable or bored, most likely you instinctually grab for your phone. The ease and convenience that this technology has brought our society also leaves us feeling disconnected and numb from life. 

I'm here to tell you that there is a way to have a healthy relationship with your phone and still feel connected with your life. It'll require some work to break habits at first but by the end, you will feel connected both on and offline. 

1. Put your phone away while you are eating

Nikki D'Ambrosio

This was my intention for the month of May and it is something I want to keep with me for the rest of my life. So often, I found myself scrolling while I was eating and I completely missed the food I was eating. In times that I was in a group, I missed the people that were around me. Focus on the food you are eating and the people around you. 

#SpoonTip If you really can't stand silence while you are eating, I love listening to podcasts while I cook and eat. They help me to feel a bit more productive than just listening to music does.

2. Stop looking at your phone 30 minutes before and after you sleep

milk, cream, dairy, butter, sweet, dairy product, dough, flour
Jocelyn Hsu

This is a hard one. I like to put my phone on the other side of the room while I sleep so it forces me to take some time to myself before bed but it's still easier said than done. I will say that I sleep better and feel more focused throughout the day when I limit my screen time. So I guess it's working?

3. Turn off notifications

Probably the best decision I have made in looking to reduce my phone induced anxiety. Think about it, if you see notifications continuing to pop up on your phone, you're going to feel inclined to dive head first into your phone for the next 30 minutes. That's a perfect example of your phone taking over your life.

#SpoonTip I like to schedule designated times to check social media accounts, emails, and just catch up on my phone in general. I'm not always good at sticking to these times but it helps in productivity schedule your time out wisely.

4. Unsubscribe, unfollow, get that annoying sh*t out of your life

cake, pizza
Becky Hughes

Those annoying email lists you signed up for to get a coupon 5 years ago, all of the people on social media who you constantly compare your life to, and basically anything that doesn't bring you joy shouldn't have a place on your phone. 

5. Remember that you don't always have to be connected 

genmai cha, loose leaf tea, green tea, tea, tea pot
Jocelyn Hsu

If you find yourself feeling exhausted after scrolling through Instagram or just feeling blah about yourself, take a break. You don't always have to reply immediately to every text/message/email. You don't have to update your Snapchat story with your every move. Sometimes we need to leave our phones at home in order to recharge away from it, and that's ok. 

It's not easy finding a healthy balance between staying connected on and offline but being more intentional with my phone and social media usage has made being connected online more fulfilling and worthwhile. I now feel more present in the "real world" while still using platforms like Instagram to connect with people across the world. What a beautiful thing.