In today’s world, when we’re not sleeping, we’re probably looking at a screen. Too much time on our phones is definitely not a good thing, but how do we reduce screen time?
I’ll admit it: I’m on my phone way more than I’d like to be. I tell myself that my screen time is “for work,” but more than 50% of the time I am mindlessly scrolling through Instagram.
The scariest part is how many times I catch myself impulse checking to see if any new notifications have come through. More often than not, there’s something that catches my eye and I end up spending another wasted five minutes staring at my screen.
Honestly, I hate feeling so reliant and addicted to technology.
I’ve heard stories of women in their young 20s developing carpal tunnel and joint pain from being on their phone too much. We can no longer deny how serious screen addiction can truly be.
This reality is absolutely terrifying to me, so I’m determined to set an example of how we can unplug from our technology and plug into our physical life more often.
The benefits of reducing screen time
Disconnecting from the digital world for a bit comes with many benefits, and honestly, some of them might surprise you! It’s important to note when I talk about screen time, I’m talking about your phone, laptop, computer, and TV.
These are all screens!
Reduced risk of depression
According to PMC, there is a link between screen time and depression. The article states it was found that there was a significant association between the TV watching/computer uses with a moderate or severe level of depression after controlling all potential confounders.
By putting down our phone and getting up from in front of the TV, we are opting for a more active and less sedentary lifestyle. Moving around and getting in physical exercise is an important part of living a healthy life and a strong self-care practice.
When we’re constantly scrolling through everyone’s highlight reels and their perfectly curated Instagram pictures it’s easy to get caught up in our own judgment.
Putting the phone down allows you to create moments of daily gratitude and find a new appreciation for what’s going on in your life, not comparing it to the lives of others.
Also, while you’re at it. Go ahead and unfollow anyone that makes you feel like to have to change something about yourself or your life. I cleaned out my “following” list on Instagram and it felt so liberating!
Improved sleep and focus
I will never forget when Corbin and I had just moved in together and he told me he didn’t want a TV in our bedroom. What?!
Now, I am so glad we made that choice. Our bedroom is a screen-free zone (yes, cell phones included) and we sleep so much better because of it. More screen-free strategies below!
In fact, there was a recent study on the impacts of restricting bedroom use of cell phones and how it affects our health and wellbeing. According to the study, sleeping without smartphones improves sleep, relationships, focus, and wellbeing.
Pretty crazy, huh?
Also, I know that you might be thinking how much you rely on your phone or TV to help you fall asleep. For me, it took a few nights of adjusting, but with the addition of a natural sound machine and essential oil diffuser, my mind quickly slipped into dreamland.
Strategies on reducing screen time
As I’ve become more aware of my screen time, I’ve come up with some strategies to help me cut back on just how much time I am spending in front of technology.
Create “no phone” time
Some easy ones to start with are not engaging with technology during mealtime or while in the presence of others. Focus on being fully present with your meal and those around you. Trust me, everything starts to become a lot more enjoyable once you get over the initial anxiety of being disconnected.
Sleep with your phone away from you
Ugh, I know. The thought of this is probably making you anxious because what if you miss something?!
I got so sick of Corbin and I staring at our phones while in bed, I started charging my phone downstairs in the kitchen. He now charges his in our bathroom (in case of an emergency, we have a phone upstairs).
The first morning with this new strategy sucked, but now I have more time for myself to complete my daily self-care routine without the added stress of catching up on email while I do it.
Update your iOS to get screen time limits
There’s a fancy new feature on the iOS 12 update that allows you to set screen time limits for yourself. You can also track just how much time you’re actually spending on your phone. The time measurements are listed out by category and let’s just say, it’s alarming how many hours your compulsive social media checking adds up to. Try it out!
Organize your phone
This project was so satisfying for me and I am a lot less compelled to mindlessly tap around my phone opening apps and clearing notifications. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
To make this strategy work for you, leave your absolute musts on the home screen. Everything else gets filed away by color into a folder. When you need something, just search for it using the phone’s search function.
What’s a healthy amount of screen time for adults?
Granted, this is purely my opinion, but I think you have to take a hard look at your daily life and see where screens are starting to impact your overall wellbeing. If you see your work, relationships, or overall health start to decline because of your screen addiction, maybe it’s time to consider enacting one of the strategies I listed above.
I’ve started with setting a one-hour limit on social media daily. This includes Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, text messages, etc.
Already, it’s encouraged me to be more productive when logging onto my social media accounts instead of mindlessly scrolling. I’ve also found myself picking up the phone to actually talk to people instead of texting them.
Boundaries, self-care and screen time
At the end of the day, creating healthy habits around your screen time is a powerful way to care for yourself. It can be anxiety-provoking to disconnect from technology, but that’s why it’s so important to have strategies in place before screen addiction causes some serious disruption in your life.
Tell me your thoughts!
Do you feel like your screen addiction is causing some negative results in your life?
What changes are you going to make to reduce screen time?