It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we are spending too much time in front of our screens. Be it TVs, computers or the most frequently used – cellphones, we could all agree that a digital detox would be beneficial to everyone. Of that screen time, we’ve seen mobile and laptop usage increase substantially over the last year with most of our jobs being online. On average, we check our smartphone 85 times a day. A recent study from Alcon Canada in 2019 shows that millennials spend an average of 13.1 hours per day looking at a screen of some kind and that it is starting to give us health problems. This not only affects our eyesight and neurological function, but it can also negatively affect our mental health. Here are a few ways you can reduce your tech time.
1. Throw in a pandemic on top of that, where everything is online (hello Zoom fatigue!), and that screen time increases even more, This is where setting boundaries and reaching out to people can help. Asking to cut back on work zoom meetings or taking wellness days when needed can relieve you of some screen time, and stress!.
2. Leave your phone at home (or in the car). You would not believe how many times I’ve gone to a restaurant and looked around to see everyone on their phones. Why go out for a meal with a loved one when you’re on your phone the whole time? Leave your phone at home or locked in your car when you go out. This will avoid the temptation to pull it out once you’ve sat down.
3. Keep devices out of the bedroom. Once it’s lights out it should stay that way. Having your phone nearby or the television on while you’re in bed may disrupt your brain waves and keep you from going to sleep. If you use your phone as an alarm, keep it on the other side of the room or buy an alarm.
4. Take your lunch break. Do not eat at your desk! When we do this, we generally eat faster than we would if we were sitting at a kitchen table. When we eat fast, we may not produce enough digestive juices to breakdown our foods which can lead to constipation and/or bloating. On top of that, it takes up to 20 minutes for our stomachs to tell us we are full so if you eat everything in a few minutes, you may not know that you are full. Take time to eat your lunch at an actual table with actual people. If time permits, go for a walk outside to get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
5. Set a limit. Using a screen time tracker, you can see your daily average use and you can set time limits on certain apps. In my house, we’ve all agreed it’s phones away at 8pm. That means no texts, Instagram scrolling, or checking emails past 8pm.
Taking a step back from your tech devices may sound easy but it will be a struggle for some. So take one small step at a time by checking off one of these tips at a time rather than all at once.