The Anxiety of Being Disconnected

The Anxiety of Being Disconnected


Who in their right might would have anxiety at an all-inclusive resort? People wait on you hand and foot, there are activities galore to keep you busy or you can just sit by a pool or on a sandy beach sipping cocktails and enjoying all you can eat whatever. There are kid-friendly programs run by resort staff so you can even find me time with your significant other to do any one of those above-mentioned activities.

So again, I’ll ask, who could possibly have anxiety issues while sitting in paradise? Apparently me.

And maybe you too.

My situation was a little unique in that I was there for the Social Media on the Sand conference so part of my time was dedicated to listening to speakers and participating in meaningful experiences. Yes, I had a great amount of time to soak up the sun and take in the sights but I also had this hint of anxiety a lot of the time. Apparently I was wearing my anxiety on my face because more than one person asked me what was wrong but I just couldn’t pinpoint it at the time. The reason may (or may not) surprise you.

I didn’t have a steady stream of connectivity. There. I said it.

Although I knew my kids were following rules and in a safe location, the fact that I couldn’t count on loading Find My Friends on my iPhone 6 to locate where they were or shooting off a quick text to let them know what time to meet me was unsettling.

Being connected is a pretty huge deal for a lot of people. According to a recent study by U.S. Cellular, I’m not alone. Let me put it into perspective for you based on the survey participants’ answers to the question of what they would rather give up than their smartphone:

According to a U.S. Cellular survey, 72% of those surveyed would rather give up chocolate than their smartphone. -

As much as Americans love chocolate (post-Halloween candy leftovers rock, don’t they?!), 72% said they would rather give up chocolate than their smartphone. To be fair, there are plenty of other sweets to satisfy the cravings, but there aren’t many alternatives to connectivity.

Would you rather give up TV or your smartphone? -

We’re kind of TV junkies, having been DirecTV customers since 1997 with only short break when we moved to Iowa. I can honestly say that we have more than a couple shows on the DVR, some of which are entire seasons waiting for our attention. However, our TV viewing lives are balanced by board games and the symphony and we’re able to find a ton of shows and movies on Netflix. The people surveyed by US Cellular must have balance as well because 65% said they would abandon their favorite shows in order to stay connected to their smartphone. I tend to agree with this one as well.

Do you have a coffee pot collection taking up a lot of counter space? -

What about caffeine? Would you rather give up your phone or your daily jolt of pop and coffee? 63% said they would pick their device over their caffeine fix. Interesting… I don’t get cranky when I miss my coffee, but I certainly do when I am without my smartphone. I guess we’re seeing what camp I tend to fall in.

As technology continues to improve and our lives are more connected through our devices, it only makes sense that we, as a society, become more attached. From our photos to entertainment to communications and even home automation, our smartphones make our lives easier and more enjoyable. According to the U.S. Cellular study, 65% of smartphone owners said they would never leave home without their device compared to 48% just two years ago. I can only imagine what that statistic will be in another year or two. As you could see by the above “addiction” statistics, smartphones are more important to many people than what used to be considered essentials. If you had asked me 15 years ago whether I would give up caffeine or chocolate for a phone I would have laughed at you for asking me a question that had such an obvious answer. No. Today, as with survey participants, my priorities have shifted.

The fact that we are so connected explains why I had such feelings of distress when forced to be disconnected (or intermittently connected) while out of the country. I hadn’t even thought about asking U.S. Cellular about connectivity because I didn’t realize it would bother me so much.

While I get that we need to find time to be off the grid, making the choice to do so and being forced to are two completely different situations. I’m just happy to know that when I’m stateside, I have my home network to rely on and when I’m out and about, I can count on U.S. Cellular to keep me connected.

What addiction would you give up before your phone?

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About Nicole

Founder and owner of, Nicole has been involved in social media marketing since 2007. She has worked with a number of major corporations who utilized her skills to improve their social media outreach and online presence. Nicole works as an ambassador for brands such as Netflix, U.S. Cellular and K'NEX, has been featured in McDonald's videos as well as Maria Bailey's book "Power Moms". Always a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and mother of two beautiful daughters (ages 13 and 12), Nicole can be your go-to person for all things social media.

11 comments on «The Anxiety of Being Disconnected»

  1. Kathy Lane says:

    Being without my phone doesn’t really matter to me.I enjoy being off the grid my self.

  2. Sandra Watts says:

    I just got my first phone a few months ago. Only because I won it in a giveaway. I think I could give it up, especially for my coffee.

  3. I could give them all up – including my phone. BUT there would have to be good reason to give them up 😉 To me it’s all about the balance. We don’t actually have DVR. We have bunny ears and netflix. I have a really really old smartphone as well that’s still working just fine. I don’t drink coffee, and rarely soda – and candy is my treat.
    However, I totally get your anxiety. I would have been anxious too if I wasn’t with my kids the whole time at a retreat like that. I try not to be, but I would.

  4. Brett Beyer says:

    I’ve started to make myself go without my phone for like, an hour a day. I’ve realized that I’m TOTALLY addicted to it, and it has started to interfere with my simple joys. I guess it’s my way to refrain from having the anxiety of being separated from it.

    You know, except for that one hour a day, when I’m totally freaking out.

  5. Oh I can so relate! It’s really hard being disconnected when you’re a blogger. I did go on a vacation once though and spent hardly ANY time (just late evenings) online and it was absolutely wonderful!

  6. diane says:

    I have been trying hard to put the phone down more and more for my own health and sanity but it isnt easy!

  7. Dawn Lopez says:

    Being disconnected is a very strange feeling. I would definitely be feeling that in your situation with all the kids running around. I could give up a lot to keep my smart phone…just not coffee!

  8. Even when we said we were not going to check our phones while at a ranch in WY I felt the pressure to do it for work. NO FB though which I wish I could do right now.

  9. Ourfamilyworld says:

    I’m glad that I’ve never felt the anxiety of being disconnected.

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