Listening to myself instead of social media

What are you hiding from, distracting yourself with social media?

I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone, two social media platforms that allow me to scroll and mindlessly read for hours. I do check them on the computer, but on my phone, I’ve only kept Instagram, Whatsapp, Telegram (all notifications are silenced). When I walk the dog or go groceries’ shopping, the phone stays home. It’s part of a new routine of taking care of myself, especially my neck, my spine and my self-confidence.

What are you checking your phone for?

The question my coach asked me was this: What information does my mobile phone provide while I walk the dog? What do I fear to lose if I am not connected at all times? And why do I do this to my neck?

Staring down at your phone is bad for your eyes – and for your neck. Tilting the head 15º the force on your neck increases from 4 kg to 12kg – that’s a lot of pressure for very little content.

Still, health issue notwithstanding – leaving my phone at home is difficult. If I don’t have the phone to distract me, what do I do, alone with my dog and my thoughts? It’s scary to engage with myself and maybe figure out stuff that I don’t want to figure out about myself. What if I remember things I am desperately trying to not think about?

Me, myself, and my thoughts

So far, the experience has been bearable, maybe even interesting. I’ve started running again without audio distraction – no music nor podcasts. Just my breath, my rhythm and I, letting my mind wander, doubt and struggle where necessary. And it is doing me good. I  managed to get out of most of those depressive thoughts of a few weeks back. It turns out that I can stand myself – and sometimes I even enjoy my own company, without distractions.

To be me, I have to listen to myself, with compassion and realism. It is the only way to discover and define my limits, to be faithful to myself. My challenge is to connect with the world without losing myself. Hiding isn’t an option anymore.

In an interesting twist of fate, getting away from social media might be the catalyst to daring myself to show up and be seen more often.

[This post is part of my journey with my career coach Stephanie Vora, a perk offered by Automattic. You can find all posts here.]


  1. Chaitanya
    28th May 2018

    I became aware of Text Neck earlier this year through a nutrition and exercise science expert I follow. That felt very scary and I immediately started taking corrective steps by reducing my phone usage. I also ordered a Roost stand (that’s taking longer than I hoped to reach me) to help with my neck posture while working.

    I too am practicing and succeeding largely with leaving phone at home as much as possible. I feel like a cool kid to be the rare few who are not looking at phone amidst people who are glued to their screens in most social environments.

    When at home, I mostly leave the phone in silent mode, disable most notifications (despite nagging app reminders to turn them on — every time I see an app reminding me to turn on their notifications, I feel like a boss!), and practicing not to respond to text messages instantly. There is no place for Facebook on my phone. I charge phone in the next room. The only side effect I see is, if I forget to leave the phone in the silent mode, I don’t hear the alarm and may miss waking up early. But I count that as a positive side effect given I get to sleep extra 😀 I am yet to miss an early morning work appointment due to this though. So overall it has been great!

    Thanks for the post. It feels nice to be in the great company of a relatively small group of people who are using gadgets differently 😀

    1. val
      29th May 2018

      I actually have considered buying an alarm clock to solve the phone alarm problem 😉

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