Close

temp

temp

Camille Styles

Living Kindly

Why I’m Leaving My Phone At Home This Weekend

June 30th, 2017

hydrangeas in tuscany

I hope y’all don’t mind if we get real (real fast) this morning, because I’ve had a few things weighing on my mind and need some advice before we head into this long weekend. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I need to make a few changes in my life. Don’t get me wrong: I love my family and my friends, my job, living in Austin… in fact, I think it’s because that I love all of these things so much that there never seems to be enough hours in a day to prioritize them all the way that I want to.

I know, I know – everyone’s busy and struggling to balance the varying demands of life is nothing new. It’s just that lately, I’ve been feeling like the growth of social media and our addiction to our phones has made it 10x worse, especially working in the digital media space where work can often be 24/7. There are always blog posts to write, comments to answer, Instagram videos to post… plus the styling, shooting, editing, newsletters, branded campaigns, Facebook chats, and so much more that’s a necessary part of the day-to-day. As our site grows and new opportunities come my way – all things that I’m so thankful for! – my daily to-do list seems to get longer as I seemingly get worse at prioritizing the other parts of my life.

hydrangeas in tuscany

To give y’all some context for where this all came from, let’s backup to something that happened last weekend that, in hindsight, feels like a wake-up call. Phoebe and I were making the drive home from an editor event I’d hosted in Houston, and (as road trips so often do) the 3 hours in the car gave me some rare time to be still and sit with my thoughts for the first time in weeks. I was coming off an extremely busy month with loads of travel and an intense work schedule, and heading straight into another one feeling tired and, as usual, strapped for time. I unexpectedly had the thought that if my car were to crash and today ended up being my last day on the planet, I wouldn’t feel like I missed out on a single accomplishment, travel experience, or career milestone. My biggest regret would be that I didn’t take enough time to just stop and enjoy all the amazing things in my life: that I was too busy to watch my kids play in the sprinkler, stop and chat with my next-door neighbor, bake my mom a birthday cake, or pet my friend’s dog without hurrying out the door. All things that I love to do, but require a little more margin in life than I’d allowed myself lately. But in that moment, I realized that life is never going to get less busy on its own. It’s up to me to make choices that will change this trajectory of constant busyness that I’m currently on.

painting in Tuscany

The very next day, my iPhone got run over by a car. Long story, but suffice it to say that it was a goner, and I ended up spending all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with no phone, no texts, and zero social media. Think maybe God was trying to tell me something? During my involuntary social media detox, I felt more relaxed than I had in ages, and I noticed that I didn’t fill every second of downtime with checking off items on my to-do list because, well, I couldn’t. Instead, I watched Phoebe’s mermaid swim in the pool, made eye contact with lots of strangers in Starbucks, and zoned out to music while I was driving (no podcasts!) And I loved it. I ended the weekend feeling calm, happy, and balanced, and with a renewed desire to find ways to regularly build these times of unplugged rest into my schedule.

Now that I have my phone back, I’m determined to recreate this experience on purpose, regularly. Easier said than done, right? This week, I’ve made an effort to put my phone in the other room while I’m with the kids, and I even left it at home a few times when we were running errands. But I still found myself emailing from bed on more than one evening, falling down the rabbit hole of watching Instagram stories that I cared nothing about, and only half-listening to Phoebe while I fired off answers to text messages.

As we head into this long Fourth of July weekend, I’m feeling it’s a perfect time to put some of this stuff into practice, and I’d love to hear from you guys if you’ve taken a digital detox, set boundaries for yourself with your media consumption, or just put any habits into practice that helped you find a balance. Give me all your good advice, and I’ll report back soon on what’s working for me.

*photos by kristen kilpatrick for our new CS Tuscany site that launched yesterday — check it out here!

Share this post

Share Your Thoughts

13 Comments under :: Why I’m Leaving My Phone At Home This Weekend
  1. As with everything, balance. In the digital age, it is so easy for that balance to shift. Smart of you to make the most of that first involuntary detox, recognizing the value, and purposefully trying to recreate the experience of the digital detox again.

  2. I love this post and have been feeling this way alot lately too. We are heading on a 10 day canoe trip into Canada, starting Sunday, and we are leaving our phones in the US! I am looking forward to the digital detox and being able to spend time with my husband and new friends! Thank you for sharing your experience – have a lovely 4th!

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s so easy to get caught in our to-do list and forget to enjoy the moment. I am also practicing to stop using my phone after dinner til next morning so I can spend quality time with my family and unplug. It felt awkward in the beginning when I tried to reach my phone unconsciously and had to remind myself I didn’t really need it at that moment. But with enough persistence, anyone can make it happen! Good luck!

    • Yep, this is exactly the type of plan I’m thinking about… allowing me to be fully present during the day at work, and then fully present with my family at home. Thanks for sharing and kudos to you for drawing boundary lines that help you be the best possible version of you.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I diconnected from social media on May 14 and haven’t looked back. It feels so amazing not to be tethered to my phone. I sit outside on my porch listening to the birds sing, smell the freshly mowed law, and pray — trying to take in each moment that is such a gift. Good luck on your journey and just remind yourself what is important.

  5. Camille I love this post! How funny that the universe seemed to conspire to give you a phone free weekend. For very similar reasons I decided to go a whole week without my phone last week, just to see what happened. I checked emails and work stuff only at my desk. From the first day it was totally transformative. I read a whole book in two days (never happens), I was totally in the moment whilst playing with my daughter and I felt so much more peaceful. I’m planning to write a full blog post about the experience. Thank you for sharing this on your gorgeous blog. It is such an important thing for us all to be talking about! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family and friends and Happy 4th July xoxo

    • Wow, what amazing words of encouragement! It’s incredible how “life-changing” such a simple action can be, but I totally hear you. So happy you’re on this journey, too, and I would love to read your blog post when it’s published – come back and leave us a comment with the link! xo

  6. Marguerite says:

    It saddens me to see parents on the beach this weekend with their noses in phones. Children riding carousels and parents staring at screens, meals being shared and children being handed iPads.

    I ‘m a bit older than your demographic I’m sure, but I can’t help but wonder where it all is taking us

  7. Julianne says:

    I took a social media break for Lent and it was wonderful. After a few days of missing my favorite blogs, IG, Pinterest, I let them all go. The time away from SM put a lot of things into perspective. SM is fun but real life is so much richer and the sense of peace and calm is invaluable. Yes, I’m now back to reading blogs, checking IG etc., but your post has inspired me to take another SM break and enjoy the beauty of Summer…*after I finish reading your blog. 😉

  8. I have instituted a personal “no social media on weekends” policy since January, and it has been wonderful! From the time I go to bed on Friday night, until I wake up on Monday morning, I stay off of Facebook and Twitter. (I do post and look at stuff on Instagram, because that’s a very curated space for me, and I find it relaxing to look through beautiful pictures of food and beverages, and lovely scenery, and I don’t engage in long discussions there, the way I do on Facebook.)

    I’ve found that my weekends feel longer because my attention is not constantly being divided, and I’m more productive when it comes to my weekend chores, which means that I have more time to relax after all of my weekend work is done!

    When I come back online Monday morning, most of the Facebook notifications I have waiting for me are unimportant, and I ignore the majority of them.

    I’ve also become ruthless in my email management: I’ve unsubscribed from most of the newsletters and lists I’ve somehow been added to (usually by entering some kind of giveaway!) and I’ve filtered what I call “e-circulars” from shopping sites that I enjoy, but don’t want to be tempted by three times a day! Those now go directly into a separate email folder for me to check at my leisure, rather than landing in my inbox and either cluttering it up or requiring me to decide whether to keep it or delete it right away.

    By setting firm boundaries around social media on the weekends, and setting up my email so that it’s not constantly begging for my attention with unimportant junk e-mail (which took up a lot more time than I realized), I’ve found a sense of calm in my life that I haven’t felt in a while. I hope that you have, too!

Leave a Reply