Swapping out phone for paper: curation vs self

This week I explored my phone addiction, my sleep patterns, my creativity.

I stopped going on Instagram.

My personal one, anyway.

I’ve always been a bad sleeper. It’s not uncommon for it to take 2 hours for me to finally nod off.

I’m also naturally a night owl and so I’d much rather be editing photos at midnight than be laying in bed hoping sleep will take me into its embrace. But, despite being freelance and free to get up whenever I want,  I’m busy, I’m active, and nowadays I’m way too tired to be up creating until 3am.

I still haven’t been able to sleep too well, though.

It started as just taking a weekend away from Instagram: scrolling, posting, liking

It’s been a week now, and I’m ready to break my fast. But I’m not ready to let my phone become a part of my life like it used to be.

It’s not like any of this is brand new news, a scientific breakthrough: Blue light is bad for us. Screens are bad for us.

We know. But we continue to spend every morning waking up by scrolling, and every evening staring at screens, be it Netflix, The Guardian, or Facebook.

We stare and consume. 

And sometimes we consume good stuff – activist literature, news, whatever.

But I’m actually a bit sick of my sleep routine revolving around my phone and social media, especially as social media is my job and I’m on these platforms every single day for my clients.

Read: an hour in the morning, an hour in the evening

100 nasty women of history

I didn’t really plan it but I’ve ended up reading every morning when I wake up, and every night before I go to sleep – around an hour, or so.

No phone, no checking messages, likes, anything.

It’s felt so good – at night it feels like I’m actually winding down. In the morning, armed with my coffee, breakfast, and book, I feel so much more at peace with the day ahead.

Write: whenever it feels right

I started writing again. In a notebook – a place reserved only for me. Not a caption, not a blog post, not for anybody else’s eyes. And it was nice. I didn’t feel like I needed to perform to anybody, to write a certain way.

I realised that everything I create is curated, because nearly all of it is shared.

And this isn’t a bad thing. I always try and keep my online self as close to who I am, so I never really feel like I’m lying or showing a false self. But it’s still all curated. I don’t have wake-up portraits or average day captions. So it’s been nice to write for writing’s sake. For my sake.

Sleep better

I have to say my sleep hasn’t magically gotten better, though I do see a small improvement. I think it might take some time for the effects of my no-bedtime-phone routine to kick in but, so far…

It’s been nice.

And, whilst I won’t be ditching Instagram anytime soon, I’ll still be ignoring my phone an hour before and after sleeping. 

p.s. go get yourself a copy of 100 Nasty Women of History. It’s brilliant. 

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