Look Up Southsea

#lookupsouthsea, what is it and how can you be involved?

Well as we all know February is a slightly better month than January, we have survived the dreaded long payday, (Xmas spend oh no I spent too much and now I have to wait 5 weeks) but it can still be a tricky month for some. So, as a bit of fun I decided to do a focus for the month where we all try to spend a little more time off our phones. What is that I hear you say? Like no way? Yes, I get it, our phones are a huge part of our lives, they store all our work information and all our conversations happen via WhatsApp and Instagram, but it has become a fact that as a nation we are spending too much time on our phones and research shows this isn’t good for our mental health or for focusing on what we need to do during the day.

Why is that do you ask? It’s stated that on average an adult looks at their phone every 9 to 12 minutes. Over a day that adds up to 6 hours and before we know it that 20 mins of scrolling through Facebook and Instagram feed as soon as you wake up just becomes a daily norm. So what can we do to change our habits slightly?

I am just as much a culprit as anyone else. Being self-employed means that I need my phone to connect with businesses about the magazine but it also means it is hard to switch off from my phone. Of course, there are thousands of self-employed people with exactly the same problem so what can be done to ease away from your phone?

Going on a break that is technology free is one way to realise just how much anxiety you have around your phone. Visiting a place that has no WiFi or very little signal means you have no choice but to switch off and look up and spend time in nature. I regularly do this and believe me the first 2 days are tough and you feel withdrawal symptoms but then you ease into relaxing and not worrying about what messages, notifications you have and just chill out. If you don’t think you could do a whole 7 days like this try doing it slowly and then build up so you do get regular breaks away from your phone!

Here are some tips to help you try and have a more balanced relationship with your phone:

Keeping a schedule throughout the day means you can decide how many times you check your phone. If you set yourself a target then you can aim to stick to it. Even if you check it a couple of times more than you set, you will find that you are on your phone less. To avoid phone anxiety you can have automatic responses that says you will answer queries within 3 hours and this means you don’t have to worry about replying back to a message straight away.

Turning off push notifications on as many apps as you can is a great way to reduce the amount of time you check your phone

Get out of the habit of leaving your phone to charge by your bed. Take it downstairs at night and then get yourself an alarm clock. This stops you from looking at your phone before bed and first thing in the morning. I think this is such a good habit to get into as when I talk to people this is what most people do and it isn’t healthy for us.

Try an app that tells you how much phone usage a day you are achieving and work on ways to have a better-balanced relationship with your phone.

Get on board with #lookupsouthsea by taking some photos of what you have seen out and about rather than looking down and send them to me across your preferred social media. There will be a WINNER chosen at the end of February who will win a new tote bag which is a Southsea Folk/Pompey Banana Club collaboration so get snapping!

By Louise O’Brien