BY STEPHANIE VALENTE
My bedroom is my sanctuary.
It wasn't always that way. In fact, I used to roll over each morning and leave my sheets in disarray with little mountains clothes on the floor. Plus, there would be half a dozen books with dog-eared and bookmarked pages that I never got around to finishing. My bedroom wasn't particularly inviting or relaxing.
Since then, I made scores of changes: developed wellness and morning routines, discovering crystals, making my bed, and instilling a simple daily practices. I'm a few weeks into a small, simple, but life-changing action that has transformed my bedroom into the ultimate sanctuary. My room feels peaceful. My partner and I lovingly chat, cuddle, and connect in our room. I notice the morning light each and every day. We make our bed with care. I look forward to reading before sleep.
It's just one small change that's made all of the difference. My partner and I don't have many hard and fast rules for our home. But, this one is sticking for the foreseeable future: no phones in the bedroom.
Yep, that's correct.
The truth is, it's magnificent. No phones in the bedroom at all. No lounging in bed mindlessly scrolling Instagram. No group chatting under the covers, or refreshing the Gmail app bright eyed at 7:30 in the morning. I got exhausted from my daily cycles of waking up, checking social media and email on my phone, and relentlessly repeating the cortisol spike each day and evening. And honestly, for what? What are we getting out of it? The answer is simple: I'm not gaining anything insightful, spiritual, or important.
So, I bought an alarm clock. I started charging my phone over night in the kitchen. Now, I wake up and enjoy entering the world at my own pace. I look out the window, I cuddle my dog, I kiss my partner good morning. I meditate for thirty seconds to a full minute. We laugh and smile and we don't think about the world for a few moments. Now, my mornings are warm and loving. Sure, I end up checking my phone, but a good half hour to an hour after waking. It happens sometime after washing my face, making coffee, and choosing an outfit for the day. And the truth is, my soul feels more nourished. I greet the day with a sense of calmness, and maybe even reading a chapter of a book or a few pages of poetry before heading into the day.
That in itself is pretty fucking sacred. I'm looking forward to seeing how a less intrusive smartphone routine shapes my life.
Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as an editor. One day, she would like to be a silent film star. She is the author of Hotel Ghost (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and Waiting for the End of the World (Bottlecap Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in dotdotdash, Nano Fiction, LIES/ISLE, and Uphook Press. She can be found at her website.