Every day I try to do something active. This usually entails a 7-10 mile bike ride through the hills or maybe a 3 mile paddle on the paddle board. Whatever the case, I try to get my heart rate up everyday because it keeps me in shape, both mentally and physically. But that isn’t the point of this post.
The thing that I did differently yesterday was . . . I left my phone at home. I know, this doesn’t sound like a big deal and my teenage self is yelling that we didn’t even have cell phones back then, but leaving my phone made a big difference in how I felt yesterday.
I usually have my phone on me to listen to either music or podcasts, especially on my bike. It drowns out my surroundings and the sound of the bike cranks. It makes climbing on the bike easier to deal with while zoning out to whatever I’m listening to. Yesterday, my mind was full of worry. I felt like I needed a break from it all I decided, “I’m off the grid for the next couple of hours”. It was the best decision I made all week.
At the top of my ride is a picnic table that I sit on. I usually hang out there for 10 - 20 minutes and kind of mentally sort through my day before riding back down the hills to my home. Inevitably, that point in my ride always leads to me checking my phone at least once, but as we all know, it’s way too easy to click the button to neurotically see what you may be missing out on. Even during my ride, I find myself messing with it.
Leaving my phone prevented me from checking for text messages or email, fumbling with social media, getting robo-calls . . . whatever. My nervous and habitual phone checking was impossible. It forced me to be present. Even something as simple as deciding what I wanted to listen to during the ride was eliminated. I felt free.
Leaving my phone gave me freedom to spend time with myself. It gave me permission to be present on the bike ride. I had so much fun just riding. I can’t describe how free I felt too. Even down to not having the weight of my phone in my pocket. I knew that the time I was going to spend on the bike was my time. it belonged to me.
It seems so ridiculous that I am even writing about this, but I don’t think we realize how connected to our phones we really are. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to give it a try. I know there are times where you can’t be away from your phone due to family or work obligations, but I encourage you to try this even if you have to schedule it.
Give it a go. Leave the phone at home.