From smartphones to TVs to laptops, screens have become routine parts of our everyday lives. Many of us wake up to scroll through social media and fall asleep watching our favourite TV show. Not to mention, the majority of people now work on screens all day. The truth is, screens have taken over our lives and it’s important for us to find balance again. If you feel like you’ve been looking at a screen way too much, check out 8 genius tips and hacks to reduce screen time.
Why Should You Monitor Your Screen Time?
- Mental health. Too much screen time can be detrimental to your overall health. It’s been found that higher screen times have been linked to a higher risk of depression.
- Poor sleep. Blue light from screens signals your brain to stay awake, which can make it harder to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
- Eye strain. Too much screen time can cause fatigue or discomfort in the eyes, as well as dimmed vision. The glare on screens and the brightness of the display can further strain your eyes.
- Addictive behaviours. Smartphones, and social media in particular, have been shown to lead to addictive behaviours, such as thinking about the platform constantly and craving using it, using apps to enhance you mood and experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you’re not able to use your phone or apps.
- Reduced physical activity. Before technology, society was a lot more active, spending more time outside, taking walks, playing sports or working on projects. With more time spent on screens, many people are living a more sedentary lifestyle, which is directly linked to risk of obesity and other health problems.
How Much is Too Much?
Outside of work, you should ideally be keeping your screen time to less than 2 hours per day. Limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day has been found to play a significant improvement in well being. Another way to think of it is screen time becomes too much when it interferes with other activities you could be doing that are more beneficial to your health. For example, are you skipping workouts because you get too distracted on social media? Are your kids staying home to play video games instead of playing face-to-face games with friends? If you’ve noticed screen time is taking a toll on your well being and impacting your overall health, it’s a big sign that it’s too much screen time.
8 Hacks to Reduce Screen Time
1. Leave Your Phone Outside of the Bedroom
Many people fall asleep scrolling their phone and wake up doing the same. This interferes with your sleep and increases your daily screen time. Your bedroom should be a place of calm and relaxation. If you have your phone, you’re more likely to check work emails or get riled up by something on social media. Leave your phone in another room and use an alarm clock to wake up instead.
2. Use Screen Time
If you have an iPhone, Screen Time lets you access real-time reports showing how much time you and your family spend on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. It helps you make informed decisions about how to use your devices and allows you to set limits on how many hours per day you can be on your screens. You can create a dedicated passcode to secure settings, so only you can extend time or make changes. Simply go to Settings > Screen Time and tap to turn it on.
3. Exercise Instead of Scrolling
Changing up your daily routine can help you reduce screen time and lead a healthier lifestyle. If you wake up and immediately start checking emails and scrolling Tiktok, replace your scrolling sessions with a brisk morning walk outside. If you spend your lunchtime watching Youtube videos, why not do a midday yoga session or bootcamp at your local gym? Your mind and body will thank you.
4. Give Yourself Limits
On the weekends, it can be easy to get lost in movies or binge Netflix shows to your heart’s desire. Instead of allowing yourself to binge, give yourself a limit of watching 1 to 2 episodes per day so you don’t exhaust your eyes. Spend the rest of your time outside in nature, cooking, cleaning, reading a book or going out with friends.
5. Turn Off Social Media Notifications
If you’re constantly getting notifications every time there’s a new social media activity on your accounts, this can lead to distraction, anxiety and decreased productivity. Turning off notifications can help with your phone/social media addiction and also allows you to be more in control of when and how much you pick up your phone.
6. Consider Deleting Social Media Apps Off Your Phone
The best way to spend less time on social media and as a result, your phone? Delete your social media apps off your device. You can still check your accounts occasionally on a computer and you can add the apps back onto your phone whenever you want, but if you feel like you’re addicted to social media and your days are worse off because of it, get rid of the distraction.
7. Avoid Eating In Front of a Screen
If you typically watch TV or scroll social media while eating your meals, it’s time to stop this habit. This will give your eyes a break, especially if you spend your workday on a computer. Eat meals with your spouse or family, or if you’re single, spend mealtimes with a book or magazine or listen to music. It will be healthier and more enjoyable.
8. Pick Up an Off-Screen Hobby
Hobbies have been shown to reduce stress levels, enhance physical health, improve sleep, increase social interactions and boost happiness. Consider joining a dance or Pilates class, reading, learning a new language, joining a recreational sports league or teaching yourself calligraphy. Anything that doesn’t require much screen time is a win.
If you feel like you’ve been spending way too much time staring at screens, we hope you find these tips and hacks useful!
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