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Life, Disconnected – Six reasons to switch off your smartphone

Laura Price gives us six reasons to switch off our smartphones and connect to the world.

When I left my job recently one of the last things I had to do was give back my laptop and iPhone ­– not the end of the world by any stretch, but nevertheless two pieces of technology to which I had grown accustomed and somewhat attached.

Walking away empty-handed from the IT department that afternoon, my natural instinct was to do what I’d do after any big moment: reach for my phone and send a message to my boyfriend/friend/mum. ("I'm officially phoneless/disconnected/free!" etc). Only this time I couldn't because I'd just given my devices back and all I had was a sticky-keyed old feature phone thattakesmeabouttwenty-minutestotypeoutonetext... So I felt a bit, well, bereft.

Five minutes later I felt liberated. I realised nobody in the world could contact me but the people in the office around me. I went back to my empty desk, ate an apple and talked to people – in person, face-to-face. Simple as that.

I've been without mobile internet for over a month now and frankly I'm loving it. Of course I don't wish to be completely internet-less because the truth is the web has been a wonderful support throughout my cancer experience, and I’m just as addicted to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as the next person. But there is definitely something to be said for going internet-free for a while, particularly as a recovering cancer patient in need of some head-clearing and soul-searching.

While many of us would practically require a surgical procedure to detach ourselves from our smartphones for more than a day, most of us would certainly benefit from a little internet-free time every once in a while. Here’s a few of the Good Things in Life I was able to appreciate in the absence of my iPhone for the past few weeks, and from which you might benefit too. Go on, I dare you!

  • Sleep – uninterrupted by phone calls and alarm
  • One-to-one conversation ­– where neither person pauses to check his phone every three minutes for calls/texts/impromptu Googling
  • A delicious dinner – without taking 23 shots of my dish to get the perfect Instagram snap (Guilty, m'lord)
  • Exercise – outdoors in the fresh air with no iPhone app bleeping and taunting me about how slow I'm running and how far I haven't run
  • A good walk – appreciating the natural beauty with my eyes and maybe an actual camera instead of Instagraming and Facebooking every sunset/squirrel/stream (Ok I kinda still did this on my iPad when I got back home to WiFi coverage...)
  • A good book – without the phone calls and texts and bleeps/pings/dings of Twitter/Facebook Messenger/Wordpress/whichever other new thing I've just downloaded interrupting me every two minutes.

Like everything wonderful in life though, this blissful period of silent, interruption-free reading and dining has to end, for July hails a new job and a new phone. I better enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts…

Explore more from Laura

Delve into Laura's personal stories and insights on living with breast cancer. Check out her blog, 'The Big Scary C Word', for more compelling and inspiring content.

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