A powerful reminder of the reason why we should all put down our phones and look up.

Mindful Monday: The Reason You Should Put Down Your Phone | The Foodie Dietitian @karalydon

Last weekend, Steve and I drove home to Buffalo, NY, and I regretfully admit I spent the first five hours of the ride looking down at my phone. No conversation with the beautiful man sitting next to me that had to deal with hours of traffic. No breaks. I was glued. Emails. Facebook. Insta. Google+. Twitter. Back to emails. You get my drift. It was gross.

Until finally, something knocked me to my senses.

It was this video.

The Reason You Should Put Down Your Phone | The Foodie Dietitian @karalydon

As I was watching this, I got chills, I felt emotional, kinda wanted to cry. Once it was over, I shut off my phone and threw it out of my sight. I was disgusted with myself. During those five hours, I never looked around to just enjoy the scenery – the beautiful fall foliage. I never looked up to ask if Steve was okay dealing with the traffic (he wasn’t). I was glued. To a screen. Thinking I was doing well by “connecting” with others.  But in reality I wasn’t connecting with myself or my surroundings. I was being the opposite of mindful.

It’s scary to me to think that we’ll spend four years of our lives staring at our phones. Four freaking years. Think about all that you could do in four years. All that you could accomplish. Experience. Feel. See.

And I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if our attention spans are getting shorter by all the stimulus we have right at our fingertips now. I notice this in myself more and more lately – I get distracted more easily or I forget things faster.

I’ve noticed that since I’ve been putting more time and effort into my blog, I’ve been spending more and more time on my phone, on social media, and using technology. And I love social media and I love technology, but you know what, sometimes I kinda hate it too. Yup, I said it. Because I have this sneaking suspicion that deep down we all feel the same way sometimes.

I think it’s imperative that we don’t let technology and social media make us lose sight of what’s really important in our lives. What really matters. Our family. Our friends. Our significant others. Being outside. Feeling. Seeing. Experiencing.

We MUST strive to find a balance. We must take the time to look up.

You know when you’re at a restaurant or a bar and you see that couple or that family sitting down to eat and everyone is just on their phone? Hell, maybe you’ve even been that person or been with that person. I’ve definitely caught Steve and I doing it before. But until you see it in front of you, you don’t realize how strange and sad it looks. Steve and I try to implement a “no phone zone” at home during dinner and when eating out. Our quality time together is precious. We don’t get that many hours together during the week. So when we do, we make that time count.

It’s such a double-edged sword when you think about it. On one hand, social media was essentially created to help us connect. And I’ve made so many amazing connections and made friends IRL from relationships that started via social media. So it can do a LOT of good. I’m not saying it can’t. But it can also make us disconnected with what’s around us.

For me, I’ve noticed I pick up my phone out of boredom, to fill the time. Rather than it be an intentional action, I now just pick it up as if I’m on auto-pilot, without even realizing what I’m doing.

So my challenge to myself this week and I hope you’ll join me is to put down your phone. When you’re with someone. When you’re bored. When you’re walking. When you’re driving (hopefully in the passenger seat), put down your phone. And look up.

Mindful Monday: The Reason You Should Put Down Your Phone | The Foodie Dietitian @karalydon

Be present. Be with the person you’re with. And if you’re not with anyone, then be with yourself. And maybe that’s an uncomfortable thing for you. Be uncomfortable. Embrace it.

There’s so much beauty that surrounds us. And all we have to do is.

Look up.

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  1. Marta

    I agree, but what really got me were those pictures… breathtaking!
    Where is it? It looks like paradise (Hawaii, Thailand??)

    Just found your blog, it’s great!

    • Hi Marta! So glad you found my blog – thanks for stopping by! You guessed it – those photos are from Thailand (Ko Phi Phi Island).

  2. Karen

    Really well written, K. Made me a bit uncomfortable to acknowledge how RIGHT you are. Love sent your way. xo

    • Thanks, K. I was uncomfortable writing and admitting it all too. Sometimes the things that make us most uncomfortable are the things worth writing about. xoxo

  3. So wonderfully put! Yes, I am so with you on this – I WANT to put down my phone more, but I still find myself on it out of distraction, boredom, or even avoidance. I’ve been making the purposeful intention to not use it right when I wake up and do something for me like yoga/a walk/meditation to start my day off without the clutter of social media. Presence is worth it.

    • Love it, Lauren! I too refuse to check social first thing in the morning. I love my “me time” in the morning before I start the work day. Totally sets the tone for the rest of the day.

  4. Love this! And I just watched that video over the weekend. I try really hard not to stare at my phone when I am with people but when I am alone I am always checking it for something…which doesn’t really make it any better! I agree, as a blogger, it kind of goes with the “job” but there has to be a limit. Like you said though, it’s such a habit that half the time we don’t realize we’re doing it!

    • Thanks, Melanie! I feel the same way – it’s worse when I’m alone as opposed to with others. I think it’s important to take a step back and ask ourselves why is it so hard for us to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts?

  5. Great post Kara, and a terrific reminder to all of us! Coming off of a 2 week trip to Spain and Portugal where I was either walking all day, (or relaxing and sleeping because I was so tired from walking :-), I thoroughly enjoyed my phone free time (apart from taking photos and sharing a few on Instagram & Facebook), but now that I’m back to “reality” your post is really motivating me to be more mindful of my phone and social media time. Thanks, and hope you have a fabulous week!

    • Thanks for sharing, EA! Welcome home! I loved following the highlights from your trip! I know how rejuvenating and liberating it can be to disconnect when you’re traveling (I did a no social challenge for a week in Costa Rica). I think having that experience can be motivating too to be more mindful when you’re back to the grind and your regular pace. Hope you have a wonderful week too!

  6. Perfect timing! I realized I’ve been filling my “empty spaces” with social media, rather than filling them with connections, beauty and productivity. Set a goal to only look at FB, instagram and twitter at designated times this week and I already feel like I’ve accomplished so much!

    • That’s awesome, Rachael! So smart to set designated times and then stick to it. And look at what good has come from it! I think I need to try setting designated times to engage. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Gosh Kara. I love you even more after this post.. how is that possible? I so find myself doing just this and I think it’s gross too. Thanks for sharing your heart and I love the challenge to LOOK UP!!

    • Yay! Love you too girl. I just think it’s so important that we all be transparent about this topic. And I had to share because I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Let’s all encourage each other to look up!

  8. I hate how much I care about my social media. It only got bad once I became a blogger though 🙁 That is one down side to being a blogger and I need to reign it in!

    • I am right there with you, Rebecca! I noticed I took the glued to the phone up a level once I started devoting more time and effort into my blog. I have a love/hate with social too. I think it’s all about finding the balance that works for you and listening to your body and mind and knowing when it’s time to power off.

  9. Perfect timing. I was walking to the farmers market yesterday, picked up my phone to check social media, got fed up with myself and shoved it deep inside my purse. I realized I’ve felt the NEED to be on the phone 24/7. I seem to always be in a rush no matter what I’m doing, where I’m going and decided it needed to stop. I looked up and took in my surroundings and felt so much better!

    • I’m so there with you, my friend. I find myself doing that more often than I’d like to admit. But you’re right, if you stop and take in your surroundings, it has the power to totally shift your state of mind! So powerful. Glad we’re bringing this conversation to the table so we can all be more aware of this moving forward and support each other!

  10. So true, Kara. My husband and I have at least one “digital sabbath” day each week (sometimes 2, if we do not have too much work to do). It’s helped in so many ways!

    • I might have to steal this digital sabbath day term. Love this, Katie! I might take a mid-week digital sabbath day tomorrow, post-FNCE! 🙂