Our world today is largely technology-driven. And so are we. Smartphones and tablets have become a regular in households around the globe. We’re so attached to these devices that we could even consider them our new found family members. After all, they live (and breathe) with us. These ‘companions’, however, are a cause for concern. Nomophobia, short for ‘no mobile-phone phobia’, is a burgeoning condition amongst the technologically affluent. It refers to the fear of not having your mobile phone with you. You should have guessed by now that in such a modern society, most people have traits of this affliction.
A Lookout survey by Harris Interactive in August 2013 gathered shocking findings including 63% of respondents reporting that they would feel upset if they were to go out without their smartphone. A whopping 97% of smartphone users check their phones regularly while out with family or friends. The Mobile Mindset Study by Lookout also found that a 54% of its U.S. respondents sleep with their phones i.e. they check their phones while in bed.
As a writer, I am reliant on technology for news updates and information. However, I use my devices in moderation so I’m on Facebook or Instagram sparingly, and that’s not because I’m ugly or have no social life to brag about. In fact, I have a life beyond the confinement of such social networking sites. Social media really takes up a great deal of our time, time which can be used for a better, more earthly purpose.
So, if you’re tired of Facebook pictures of your virtual friends’ trips to Dubai or Machu Picchu, and shots of someone’s new slippers on Instagram, you probably want to go out and do something tangible for a change.
To get you started, here’s a list of five regular things you could do every now and then to take a breather.
Explore some place quaint for brunch or a dainty dinner. If you’re looking for a coffee house that’s centrally located but not crowded, hit up Little Part 1 café along Jasmine Road in Upper Thomson. Situated directly beside Thomson Plaza, this café serves a decent albeit small range of mains and desserts on their menu. Their signature crepes are delish, but what fascinated me more was the shop’s interior and décor. The shop front also exudes a vintage indie feel.
This cosy café offers the right ambience along with quality food. Note that the café is closed on Mondays, and from 3pm-5.30pm from Tuesdays-Fridays. Our locales are filled with exciting gems waiting to be discovered. For more unique neighbourhood trysts, also visit Kombi Rocks on 66 Yio Chu Kang Road, or Maple & Market Bakery Café at Cassia Crescent.
2. Buy a book
Even with Kindle and e-books, there is still a love for print. Apart from the smell of brand new books and magazines which we all love, there’s always that oldschool charm of reading a good book in a cosy cafe. For some literary wisdom, check out this new-on-the-shelf find and rekindle (pun intended) your love for books.
If you’re like Gretchen Rubin, on a mission to find happiness (I think we all are), then this is one read not to be missed. If you always find yourself feeling empty, this is the book for you. It might not rid you of your sorrows, but the title says it all. This biography will entertain you and hopefully, inspire you to do something for yourself as well. You can also purchase the entire book set which comes with a journal for you to start your own journey on the road to happiness.
3. Room revamp
Your bedroom’s probably the place where you spend a great deal of time. Imagine coming home to a boring and lacklustre room that neither inspires creativity nor calms the soul. Try painting your room a shade of blue.
Blue brings about a sense of tranquility and peace. The calming effect is good for both the mind and body because it encourages rest. Now you can have a staycation in the comfort of your own home every day.
Also, perhaps it’s time to dust your shelves and do some major spring cleaning. Cleaning out your room will not only get your life in order, perhaps it’ll help you find that long lost missing items, or you might stumble upon a hidden gem like an old personal diary.
4. Support a cause
Have you always wanted to champion a good cause? You might not have had the time before but by taking a break from social media, you might have some extra spare time to do your bid for the community. If you’re wondering how to get started, why not volunteer for a cause you believe in?
SG Cares is a useful portal set up by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) to encourage greater participation in volunteering activities. You can simply browse through the list of available activities and find one that suits your schedule and interest. Opportunities range from animal welfare to dance and the arts so there’s something for every individual. Being able to make a difference in someone else’s life is the most meaningful thing one can ever experience.
5. Go the distance
If you want to get physical, join a marathon. These days there are plenty of runs to participate in. From the ever popular Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore to the Orange Ribbon Run 2014, Race Against Racism, you’ll be spoilt for choice. These marathons cover varying distances so you can choose one that suits your interest and abilities, whether it’s a 5km or 21.1km half marathon. You can even join in a fun run like The Color Run or Zombie Run. The possibilities are endless. If running’s not your thing, then there are walks such as the Pink Ribbon Walk which you can participate in too.
These are just reminders of the many things we can engage ourselves in apart from the routines of social media. When we look, we find. These discoveries enrich our experience and life. They are the moments we’ll look back and reflect on, not that last Tweet about Kim Kardashian. I might be wrong, but it’s worth trying! At least you can be sure you’re not nomophobic.