De-stressing with Bente (4)


Learning to relax again: how do you manage to do that? Bente (23) is a freelance journalist and works as an online editor at Flow. Having experienced a near-burn-out, she’s finding her way to a life with less stress. And every Friday, she takes us with her on her journey to get there.

“You have to spend less time on your phone. It’s too much stimulation.”

My therapist is right. I spend so much time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and other apps that it sometimes feels like my smartphone is an extension of my arm. And scroll sessions such as these often leave me feeling very restless. Not to mention, insecure. And that isn’t exactly in line with my plans for a stress-free life.

What’s more, the numbers also don’t lie. An app that I’ve downloaded to see how much time I spend on my phone on a daily basis scares me. It turns out to be an average of three hours per day. That equates to almost an entire day per week wasted on looking at a screen. This has got to change.

But that’s easier said than done. I’m constantly reaching for the thing, and if I’m not using it, I’m certainly thinking about it. Am I missing something? Has a new Instagram photo been posted yet? Shouldn’t I be posting something myself? Soon I discover that I’m filling those ‘I-don’t-need-to-do-anything’ minutes with endless scrolling. And thus the scoreboard shows: Unlocked my phone—68; Done absolutely nothing—0. Suddenly I understand my body: with so many stimuli I would also have thrown in the towel.

Which is why I download an app (yes, yes, I see the irony) to make sure that I am offline more. It’s called Forest. The aim of it is to create a virtual forest: every time you go offline, a tree grows on your screen. The longer you stay away from your phone, the more trees you plant virtually. If you close the app and do other things on your phone, the tree will stop growing and it will die.

The next day I create an entire rainforest. Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but I do spend more time offline than ever. And in that time, I read my book and I draw. And I discover how lovely it is to be able to daydream again. My body rewards me with a calmer mind and a relaxed feeling. And with the metaphoric amputation of the acquired phone, I am now one step closer to my goal.

  • Bente’s other blogs can be found here.

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