Take a Break: 5 Phone-Free Zones at Home

updated Sep 26, 2022
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(Image credit: Shay Spaniola)

A new year, a new opportunity to start and master habits that will add to your overall well-being. One small, kind-of weird habit you could work on this month to master for this year? Not using your smart phone in certain spots in the home.

We’ve seen in recent years a backlash on smart phone usage in certain public areas — whip your cell phone out and start Facebooking during a friendly dinner and you’ll probably get chastised. Even using grayscale on your phone can still tempt you into pulling it out at every moment. Talk loudly in the doctor’s waiting room and you’ll probably get a lot of eye rolls. But our adherence to decorum when it comes to using our smart phones should also apply to our private spaces — not just out of courtesy for the people you share your space with, but so you get more out of enjoying your home, too. Our vote for five places you shouldn’t use your smart phone in your home this year:

(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

1. In the bedroom

As we’ve learned from the past (like in Using Your Phone as an Alarm? Here’s Why You Should Stop), letting that smart phone be the first and last thing your eyes (and brain) gaze at each day and night isn’t the right way to end or begin a new day. So begin this new year with a promise that you’ll really put some effort in trying it smart phone-free in the bedroom this year.

2. In the bathroom

This doesn’t really need that much explanation. EVEN if you’re not using your smart phone to take calls, don’t bring it into the bathroom…ew!

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

3. In the dining room

If you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t scroll through your Facebook feed while at a restaurant, don’t indulge around your own dining table. Your family deserves (perhaps even a bit more) your undivided attention, but even if you live alone, you could use that eating time for mindful chewing and contemplation of life’s big mysteries instead of looking at cat photo after dog photo on Instagram.

  • Advice not just for Thanksgiving — The Experts Weigh In: A Crash Course in Tech Etiquette at the Thanksgiving Table

4. In the TV room

I have this terrible habit of smart phoning while I’m watching TV. Like hello, is one screen not enough for me anymore? Television watching isn’t exactly the pinnacle of mindful meditation, but even that task deserves your full attention to achieve true relaxation. So stick that phone in the cushions and don’t look down again until you’re ready to shut the tube off.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

5. In your outdoor area

Unless your backyard overlooks the Grand Canyon (and even if it does!), you can probably stand to miss any photo opportunities out in your outdoor area, porch or patio. Instead, focus on hearing the wind ruffle through the leaves, watch as the world goes by and let your thoughts meditate on how lovely the temperature is (or isn’t) instead of staring into a screen.

More thoughts to consider: Should Dinner Guests Check their Phones at the Door?

Are there any places you avoid using your smart phone at home? Has it made for a more pleasant experience at home? Let us know in the comments below!