It’s no secret that almost everyone is glued to their phones. Whether texting with friends or family, answering work emails, or scrolling through social media, we spend countless hours a day with our eyes on our phones. Add in work time spent in front of the computer, and we’re likely looking at a screen for most of the day. While some of this time is necessary, such as when we’re working, taking steps to tear our eyes away from screens can be a boon for our physical and mental health.
For one, a time when you’re not looking at a screen can be used for taking part in a different, often healthy activity, such as going for a walk, cooking a homemade meal, attending an exercise class, or just spending time with your loved ones. Putting down the phone or shutting your laptop will help you practice mindfulness or be more present in your experiences, thus getting more in tune with your world. Looking at people you know (and people you don’t) on social media can lead to an unconscious comparison of your life to theirs (or really, to the version of their life they are presenting online), which can breed feelings of self-consciousness and inadequacy. On the flip side, taking part in activities that make you feel good and creating memories with your friends and family instead of peeping at the lives of others will make you happier in the long run.
So, exactly how can you unplug? You can take simple steps in your daily life that will drastically reduce your time looking at screens. Here are three:
- Make your bedroom a phone-free zone: Before you go to sleep and right after you wake up are prime times for mindless scrolling. Leaving your phone in a different room for the night makes this habit impossible.
- Set your work hours: This is especially important if you’re working from home, as you may be tempted to spend longer in front of the computer than you need to. Determine when you’re going to sit down and when you’re going to close up shop and stick to it.
- Plan technology-free fun: Schedule board game nights once a week, designate times when you will go for a walk, or determine a menu ahead of time to have the ingredients to cook a healthy meal. Planning will make it easier for you to avoid settling for your screens.