Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, Admits “I’m Addicted to My Phone”

·3-min read

Reading this on your phone? Maybe in a meeting or while you’re watching TV? Maybe you were doing something else and aren’t sure how you ended up here? Joe Wicks has something to say about that.

Taking to Instagram today, the nation’s favourite PE teacher has spoken out on a topic familiar to many of us, but little discussed; phone addiction.

“I’m addicted to my phone” Wicks states. “I recently took 5 days off social media and stayed off my phone as much as possible to really connect with the kids. It wasn’t easy unplugging, but it really opened my eyes to just how much I struggle with it on a daily basis”.

The raw and passionate post highlights Wicks’ struggles and the way in which phones intrude on our daily lives. “I am unable to stay focused on a single task without getting distracted by my phone. My brain is constantly seeking some other form of distraction and stimulation and it’s 100 per cent of the time coming from me picking up my phone”.

He goes on to speak candidly about the impact this has on his mental health.“The phone is the source of distraction for my brain but also the source of almost every single negative emotion I feel in a day. Anger, frustration, impatience around the kids, intolerance, stress, insecurities, anxiety all usually stems from looking at my phone”.

With 4.3 million Instagram followers, social media has been a powerful force in establishing Wicks’ career. But, he admits, it’s had a huge impact on his mind and ability to be present.

“I realised that I see the world through the lens of social media content. With a constant urge to record, curate and share everything. This [sic] effects my ability to feel truly present in the moment and appreciate what’s right in front of me”.

Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images

He also opens up about the constant pressure to respond to the thousands of communications he receives every day – and the sense of failure he feels in the face of this impossible task.

“I have this impulse and obsession to respond instantly to the constants DMs I get, to emails and WhatsApps from everyone at all hours of the day or night. In my mind nothing can wait… Even after a day of replying it never feels like I’ve done enough because I can’t reply to them all”.

He is candid, too, about his justification of phone use. “I justify the use of my phone for work but in reality, I’m probably 30 per cent productive with it and actually helping my community and 70 per cent of the time I’m just consuming mindless content, distracting myself, getting triggered and annoying myself, eternally scrolling and just avoiding something else”.

Wicks said his five-day phone detox made him realise how hard his children have to work to get his attention “and how many moments I’ve missed because of the use of my phone… I get sucked into this infinite loop where I’m constantly picking up my phone and refreshing my newsfeeds on all my channels without thinking”.

While you may secretly know your phone use borders on unhealthy, it’s likely you sweep this inconvenient truth under the carpet. Wicks’ openness on the topic and it’s impact on daily life has clearly hit a mark – with hundreds of thousands of comments fervently agreeing this is is an issue.

“There is physical and emotional addiction to our phones that I think we are all experiencing to and extend," he said. "It’s something we have to get a hold on. It’s about learning to detach from the phone. To set boundaries and win back some hours in the day when you put the phone away".

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