Yesterday, I had a wake-up call.
It all started when I began scrolling through my inbox as I sat on the bus, hoping to steer my mind away from the stop-and-go traffic we had been trapped in for the last oh, I don’t know, 20 minutes? Then, it happened. My eyes read the subject line: “Smartphones are the new cigarettes.”
And just like that, I got this gut-wrenching feeling. As I looked up from my plastic screen, I realized just how many faces around me were glued to their own. Heads down. Backs hunched. Ears plugged. Fingers glued.
Now, I know this is nothing new. Smartphones have been around for quite a few years. But, lately I have noticed a change. These small devices are becoming glued in even smaller hands. Instead of serving as the tool they were originally designed to be, these shiny screens are rapidly becoming quite the tangent.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use my mini handheld computer for my own distraction fix. Just a few minutes earlier, I was letting you in on my form of passing time while waiting to get from point A to point B: yep, the scroll.
Scrolling through emails. Instagram. Facebook. Snapchat. And any other apps that pollute my attention. When really what does it matter anyway?
See, I have this love/hate relationship with my phone and social media.
Love: it’s a great way to keep up with friends/family across the country; it’s perfect for connecting with new people; I’d be absolutely lost without Google Maps; when in need of a ride, lyft and uber are only a click away.
Hate: it’s a major time-suck; it’s way too easy to get swept under the tidal wave of comparison to others (even people I don’t know), which leads to an even larger time-suck; I hate the feeling of “needing” to check for new notifications, when like I said, why does it even matter??; it’s polluting my attention span.
The Hate list could go on and on but I’ll stop for the sake of time and your attention span…
But, you know what?
Enough is enough.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of feeling this “pull” to my phone. I’m tired of feeling the need to have it by my side, in my pocket, or somewhere within a hand’s reach. When you think about, it all sounds so silly. Being dependent on a phone. Because when you think about it, shouldn’t it be the other way around?
And as crazy as I feel for even having these thoughts, I know for a fact I’m not in this alone.
Well, I hope not anyway, for the sake of my own mental state.
Years from now, I want to look back and truly believe I lived in the moment. I was present, physically and mentally. I was having meaningful conversations with the people in front of me, not working out my thumbs by texting others not in the same room. Because it’s these moments we won’t ever get back.
So, do I believe smartphones are the new cigarettes? Yes. At first it might sound a bit extreme, but the more you think about it, the more it’s true.
And for me, it’s time to break the addiction.
So, what’s next?
After reading that article, and sharing my thoughts with Derek, we both decided to start making some changes. For starters, when we return home from the workday, we’ve started dropping our phones off at the door with our keys. This has been the perfect fix for preventing the phone to be the first thing we grab for in the morning, or the last thing we check at night.
In addition, I’ve implemented my own limits when it comes to checking social media. Of course, I don’t want to completely go off the grid. But, by setting limitations on how often I check these sites, as well as the amount of time I spend on them, Instagram and Facebook aren’t my first go-to when waiting for the bus, etc.
Lastly, I went through all my handles and conducted a nice, big social-media cleanse. Any sites and publications I was “following” on Instagram and Facebook that didn’t leave me feeling inspired, motivated, and happy, I clicked that “un-follow” button and didn’t think twice.
Can I just tell you how good this felt? Kind of liberating in a way, too.
If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling getting lost in the rabbit hole of the internet, or spending too much precious time comparing yourself to others’ highlighted reels, I’d highly recommend this type of cleanse.
What about granola?
Oh, but if you’re scratching your head wondering what all this social-media talk has to do with granola?
See, once I finally escaped the congested traffic and made it home, I put down my phone and made this granola. Let me just say, this stuff is gooooood.
And healthy, too.
Which, when you look at the ingredient list on the back of the bags of the store-bought kind, you’ll quickly realize how many filers and nonsense are included. Some are ones I can’t even pronounce. No bueno.
But, this stuff is super easy to make, super hearty, and making it is the perfect distraction from social media. Want to try it out?
Ginger Molasses Granola
This recipe is from the Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook. If you’re seeking inspiration for indulgent, nourishing—and most importantly, EASY—I’d recommend looking into this book. We use it on a weekly basis.
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses*
**Personally, I add more honey and less molasses. This makes the granola not as sweet, which is more to my liking.
Steps / Preparation
- Preheat the oven to 275°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins or dried fruit, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
- In a small bowl, stir together the coconut oil, honey, and molasses and microwave on low until slightly melted. Or melt in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined.
- Spread out in a thick layer on the baking sheet. Bake, gently stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly browned, 45 minutes. Granola will still be moist at the end of baking, but will morph into crunchy goodness once it cools completely.
- Store in a glass jar with a lid at room temperature. Granola will stay fresh for several weeks, but it is usually devoured within several days in our household!
What makes this granola a winner is how versatile it is. It’s perfect if you need to do a major pantry sweep. For instance, if pumpkin or sunflower seeds aren’t your cup of tea, switch them out for another kind of nuts you like. Or, skip these ingredients. It’s up to you.
But, be warned: once you start sharing this granola with your friends/family, they’ll most likely be asking you always make it. It’s that good.