Challenges can be fun, right? WNYC, a New York public radio station, released a challenge that would make most millennials cringe, titled “Bored and Brilliant.” It consists of six daily challenges that get our minds off of our cell phones and into the real world. After skimming through the options to find the one I wanted to attempt to tackle, I found myself laughing at some of the challenges. A “Photo Free Day”? If you think I’m giving up my snap streaks then think again… Delete my favorite app? Absolutely not… Post an away message? I haven’t done that since my AIM days… After all these rejections to the challenges, I realized I may need these more than I thought…
I finally settled on the Bored and Brilliant Challenge 5: One Small Observation. A guest on the show mentioned how different his cab rides were after the iPhone was invented since he now spends most of his time staring at his phone versus staring at the world around him. The audio clip encouraged me to get into a creative mindset by going somewhere public to watch people and to let my mind wander and notice things. I decided to take this challenge to a place that is easy to let your mind wander… the gym. I tried to pay particular attention to peoples actions around me and even learned a little bit about myself along the way. I noticed that, like myself, people often have little routines they do (maybe without even realizing it) before they start a lift. I know that I always wiggle my foot a certain way before getting my weight off the squat rack and observing others I saw particular steps taken, specific breathing patterns, and even certain twitches that some people made to start their lifts as well. For me, this challenge pushed me to stay off my phone between sets which is something I struggle with on a daily basis.
Sadly, I’m not the only one who’s so addicted to their phone that they use it WHILE working out. It really is harder than some might think, though, to keep our phones out of our hands while working out. A New York Times article titled, “Cellphones Test Strength of Gym Rules,” discusses some of the different views regarding cellphones being allowed or not allowed in the gym. Personally, I use my phone to track my weight as soon as I get into the gym, throughout my workout because I have workouts apps on it, and then even ~more~ throughout my workout to send texts, tweets, you name it, between sets of my workout… but is that “wrong”? According to the article, cellphones are typically banned in gyms to prevent annoying surrounding customers by speaking loudly on the phone, sitting on equipment while not using it, etc. So, to me, I think using my cellphone while working out is perfectly fine. Would my workouts potentially go faster if I didn’t use my phone? Probably. But I enjoy staying connected, changing my music when a dull song comes on, and even staying up to date on the latest snap stories during a good lift.
Whether you spend too much time on your phone because of work or (the lesser) social media, we all deserve a break from it to let our minds ~wander~. Spending more time mindlessly taking in the beauty around you and less time stressing over how many likes your last tweet got, (see where your anxiety is really coming from here) could help your brain feel different in a good way. Happy mind-wandering!