My phone was stealing my peace. I knew I needed to take control before the phone was controlling me. Here’s how I set simple limits for my own mental health.
Nine years ago when I moved to Boston, I gave in and purchased a smart-phone. I realized that every email I missed could cost me a client. In the fast-paced culture of the city, potential clients expected immediate response or they would move on to the next therapist–and there were plenty of qualified therapists in such a large, modern city!
Unfortunately, this pressure led to a certain level of anxiety for me. I felt that I constantly had to have my phone on me. Every spare second I was checking my email, my text messages or answering the phone.
This worked out great because it garnered me many new clients that greatly appreciated my quick response time and ability to be organized.
I was simultaneously turning into a jumpy, anxious and unsettled person who was being eaten up with stress. It was revealing itself in my neck and shoulders as I was in a constant state of “alert”. I needed a change.
I went on a long weekend to Northern PA where there was (and still is) limited cell phone service. I created an auto response for my email that stated I was on a technology-free retreat and would return emails and other correspondences upon my return in the order that I had received them.
My weekend in the woods was exactly what I needed.
My cell phone died in my car and I didn’t even care. I rode horses, went hiking, sat and talked with loved ones in person for hours without being interrupted by a ding, a beep or a calendar alarm telling me where I needed to be next.
The tension in my shoulders withered away and my mind felt clear and rested. When I got back in my car to drive northeast to Boston, I plugged my phone into the charger and switched it to silent.
I set a technology boundary for myself. I would not be ruled by this piece of plastic and glass.
I would rule it. I would pick it up when I wanted to pick it up. I would return phone calls at my convenience. I would check my emails when I had time to. I would not jump and run when my phone buzzed or beeped, interrupting conversations with clients and colleagues.
I would be present.
To this day, and seven smartphones later, I keep my cell phone on silent. I also established other ways to set limits:
Several times a year you’ll receive an auto response from me about being on a technology-free retreat; those times are so refreshing.
Sometimes a good thing in our lives, even something necessary like a phone, can become a subtle stressor. I still struggle sometimes to take a technology time-out (hey! I’m human, not perfect!) but doing so never ceases to relieve some stress and restores a sense of peace into my life.
Have you ever done a technology time-out? Why not give it a try to help restore your own personal peace?
Julia Walsh, Licensed Massage Therapist, has been helping clients manage chronic pain, recover from injuries, and prevent injuries since 2007. She has gained experience in a variety of settings over the past six years ranging from spas, to chiropractic clinic, to massage center, to ivy league poolside to her own private office. Combining her experiences in all of these settings, she is excited to serve a broad client base with her unique skills. Her passion for teaching self-care led her to develop a Foam Rolling Workshop and a Raindrop Therapy workshop. Because of an active lifestyle, Julia loves to connect with clients who also strive to live active lives.