Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Ditch the phone and socialise

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The school holidays are well and truly here and I’m loving it. Last weekend I headed up to Northumberland with my family for a few days away.

Despite the fact it chucked it down for the whole time we were there, we had a great time, and I can say with certainty that despite being a city girl through and through, I throughly enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere.

We stayed in Alwinton, just a little way out from Rothbury, and there was literally nothing there apart from a pub and lots of sheep, and it came with an added bonus…there was no phone signal!

Although I’m a self confessed social media addict and I run my whole life and business from my phone, I couldn’t have been happier to be un-contactable for a couple of days.

Switching off from the rest of the world really highlights how we all need a break from the fast paced world we live in every now and again, and for me it resulted in better sleep, feeling very relaxed and generally feeling that I had well and truly re-charged by batteries.

There is no doubt that mobile phones are the way of the world, and we have much to thank them for when it comes to making life easier, whether it’s being able to tap Google Maps when we are lost or check our emails and shop online on the move.

But they have also had the negative effect of killing conversations and distracting us from what is right in front of us…other humans who we can interact with face to face.

I hold my hands up, I’m guilty of this just like everyone else. From using my phone at the table when I’m out for a meal to just casually picking it up in the house and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I do it all. But, my time away, without the ability to use the phone has really made me think about how much I over use it.

Without wanting to sound too old fashioned, I remember when mobile phones didn’t exist, and we were never bored or easily distracted and we didn’t panic if we didn’t have a small gadget with us at all times.

Those times were good, and I’m pretty sure we were all less stressed out too!

So with five weeks of the summer holidays in front of us, I’m pledging to make an conscious effort to ditch the pointless time I spend on my phone, and be more mindful of having more phone-free time.

It would be crazy, especially as I have an online business, to banish the phone, but my little trip taught me that taking a break from it is good for the soul.

My plan is to ditch it after 9pm and not sit scrolling through Instagram while I’m in bed, I’m also going to only check it four times a day, do everything I need to in those times like reply to messages and post on social media and make calls, and also not to let it distract me from fun, in-person events and experiences, unless I’m taking photographs to capture memories.

If you think you’d benefit from a ‘phone-cleanse’ as I’m calling it, then come and get involved.

Tweet me @KatieBulmer1 and let me know if you’re giving it a go and how you’re getting on.

So it’s time to say goodbye to unsociable phone use and hello to talking face to face with our fellow humans much more…let’s get sociable Sunderland!