As my boys were ushered back to see the dentist for their routine cleaning, I found myself mindlessly reaching for my cell phone… again.
We don’t even think about it anymore, do we?
We have a few minutes, we pick up the phone. Standing in line? Browse your phone. Waiting on someone? Pick up the phone. Have a few minutes before heading out the door? Scroll, scroll, scroll.
It’s not a conscious decision anymore. There’s no blank space in the day. No room for white space in our heads. We fill it constantly.
And then we walk around feeling tense and dealing with record levels of anxiety (here’s a printable prayer for that, btw). We know people of all ages are struggling with depression, too. It’s an epidemic.
Not to mention our missed opportunities for appreciating beauty and showing kindness to strangers around us.
That is the reason for this list.
Stop, and be mindful of what you are doing. Resist the temptation to pick up the phone yet again. Have set times during the day where you “fast” from hurriedly scrolling your screen.
You can also try this experiment: At the very least, stop using your phone is public spaces. When you’re sitting in a waiting room, on a park bench, or in line at the grocery store, look around and be aware of your surroundings. Smile at the young mom standing nearby. Give a warm hello to the old man shuffling past. Get up from the park bench and push your kids on the swings.
Need an intervention? Here are 53 ideas to help you kick the scrolling habit.
Things to do other than pick up your phone:
- Go for a walk outdoors.
- Spend time in nature.
- Bird watch.
- Read in a quaint cafe.
- Meet a friend.
- Write a page in a journal or notebook.
- Ask your kids silly questions.
- Let your mind wander.
- Imagine ideas for a story.
- Recall a fun memory.
- Start a conversation with someone nearby.
- Turn on the radio.
- Sort through something in your house.
- Sip on a gourmet tea or coffee.
- Learn to craft, crochet, or knit.
- Learn a few conversational words in a foreign language.
- Allow yourself to simply be bored.
- Volunteer somewhere nearby.
- Ride your bike.
- Tend to the garden.
- Draw a picture.
- Try out a coloring book for adults.
- Offer a compliment to a stranger.
- Buy a $5 Starbucks gift card and give it to a stranger.
- Go for a hike.
- Find a body of water nearby (lake, ocean, stream) and simply sit and absorb the beauty.
- Read a poem.
- Go to the library.
- Call a loved one.
- Write a thank you note to someone.
- Do something small to make your home more beautiful.
- Eat something good for you.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Quietly sing or hum a favorite childhood song.
- Ponder a way you can make the world better for someone else.
- Turn on some classical music.
- Go window shopping.
- Go for a drive on a country road.
- Color with a child.
- Bake cookies.
- Learn to bake bread.
- Pull out your contentment scripture cards and read through the verses.
- Thumb through a magazine.
- Ask the receptionist how her day has been.
- Just sit and close your eyes.
- Wash your hands.
- Look at the people around you and create stories in your mind about who they are and what they’re doing.
- Tell a young parent nearby that s/he is doing a great job.
- Clear clutter, old receipts, etc out of your purse.
- Make a short list with five things you are thankful for today.
- Spend a few minutes working on a puzzle or crossword.
- Don’t stress about finding something to do, but choose to simply be still and present in the moment.
What would you add to the list? Share it in the comments.