As part of Marie Claire’s new #screenbreak campaign, influencer and actress Tanya Burr tells us how she keeps a digital balance
If you’re with your phone, you’re not actually alone: in the same way I sometimes need space from my friends or my dog, I also need it from my phone. Without it, you can just breathe. Being on your phone all the time can cause physical conditions like repetitive strain injury, and, mentally, I think it’s really good to be by yourself sometimes and not constantly hooked into technology.
Bizarrely, since I started acting more three years ago the amount of time I spend on my phone has actually increased – I used to not work on weekends at all! Any audition you get offered, you feel really lucky, and sometimes you get less than 24 hours notice, so you spend all day on an app learning lines. When I was just doing digital work, the only thing I really had to switch off from was emails – my social media postings were just little snippets of my life.
One of the best ways I find to switch-off from my phone is through exercise. I like to do Barry’s Bootcamp classes, which are great because you can put your phone away in a locker. In general, though, I just try to be mindful in each individual situation. I don’t really have hard and fast rules, but I don’t like being on my phone when I’m with people, and my husband [Jim Chapman] and I try not have our laptops out in the evening.
If I find I’m on my phone too much, I usually go and put it on charge in my bedroom, then hang out downstairs. I find that technique useful because there’s three flights of stairs between me and my phone so it’s a lot of effort to go and get it! Though if I’m waiting for news or an important message I tend to carry my phone around with me to all sorts of weird places.
Although acting isn’t great for the amount of time you spend on your phone, when I was acting on stage recently [as Ella in Confidence], I hardly spoke to anyone for two months! It was the most time I’ve ever spent off phone and people began to notice – my management even asked when they were allowed to speak to me.
This morning, I was on my phone, texting my sister-in-law, exchanging really lovely text messages about her pregnancy. It was 6am. I definitely could have stayed in bed texting back and forth with her, but I forced myself to go and make myself a cup of tea: I just suddenly thought, ‘Do I really want to be engaged with my phone right now?’
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