The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we are living, interacting, and working. If there was ever a question about too much screen time before we now have surpassed that even more. Whether we are working, learning, or even catching up with a friend it is now mainly done via screens.
A few weeks ago, outside of working on a laptop for 9+ hours a day, I found myself scrolling through Instagram, switching over to Facebook, checking my snapchat, then an hour deep watching reels. I was having trouble focusing and at night I was having a very hard time falling asleep. I work with clients everyday to build new habits and I did not even realize how big of a habit I had developed myself. I did not even realize excessive screen time had anything to do with it until my weekly screen time report flashed on my phone on Sunday. After a few weeks of monitoring my screen time I am sleeping better and throughout the night, my eyes no longer sting, and I have more energy throughout the day.
Utilizing our phones and social media is the simplest way to fill time and entertain ourselves when we are bored or trying to avoid something. Scrolling is not only easily accessible but it is also highly addicting. The increase at working from home has led many people to having a few free minutes from work and immediately grabbing our phones, this is becoming a natural reaction.
Now you may be wondering why increased screen time is a problem. Is it really so bad?
Excessive screen time can affect your vision, sleep, weight, and ultimately your overall health. We cannot just step away from our computers and stop working. Technology is an integral part of our culture. There is nothing wrong with scrolling through social media but when your screen time continues to increase each and every week it is important to integrate moderation into your day.
Social media apps such as Instagram have a feature where you set a time limit for the day. You can set a goal to be on Instagram for under 2 hours each day. You simply plug in your 2 hour time limit and when you approach the 2 hour mark a notification will pop up that you have spent 2 hours scrolling through that day. Challenge yourself to set a time limit each day. Even if you surpass your limit some days you will still have the reminder and be aware how much time you have spent that day.
Within your IPhone settings you have the ability to also schedule downtime, app limits, communication limits, and content and privacy restrictions. If you choose to implement some downtime you can schedule a time away from the screen. During this time only apps you choose to allow and phone calls are available to you.
If you are wondering how to fill your time with if you are planning on reducing your screen time check out these 10 screen free activities below!
Phone Free Activities:
Go for a walk! No matter which coach you work with at Clar-e-ty Nutrition you will hear us constantly suggesting to get outside and walk everyday. Walking allows you to get away from the screens and have the opportunity to get your body moving and blood flowing. Our bodies were made to move, not sit inside at a desk all day. When you start adding walking into your routine we recommend using the 5 minute rule. Simply start with 5 minutes, at the end of that 5 minutes consider heading back or continuing. Either way, 5 minutes each day (7 days x 5 minutes each day = 35 minutes walking each week) is significant more than if you just sit inside and scroll on your phone. You can apply the 5 minute rule to everything on this list!
Meditate! If meditation is new to your routine this is likely to be uncomfortable. Stop constantly moving to the next thing and take a few minutes to be still and breathe. If you are unsure where to start with try a guided meditation from an app such as Headspace.
Read a book, magazine or newspaper! Take a break from reading your newsfeed and read a tangible book. Many libraries are offering free audiobooks since the pandemic has begun. Check out your local library offerings and see what they have to offer! Try to read before bed instead of scrolling. This will reduce your blue light exposure and help you fall asleep sounder and stay asleep throughout the night. Some Clar-e-ty coach favorites are Atomic Habits, Start With Why, and Grit.
DIY! Take the opportunity of being at home as a chance to craft or find a DIY activity in the house. Find inspiration from your favorite HGTV episode or favorite influencer and bring it to life in your house! You can also do smaller crafts such as candle making, painting, or tie dyeing!
Board Games! Instead of sitting with your phone or turning Netflix on at the end of the night try a board game or card game. Take this as an opportunity to unwind and chat without technology.
Puzzles! This can be any type of puzzle. Crossword puzzles are one of my favorites, they can be worked on in one sitting or throughout the day. You can also get themed jigsaw puzzles from movies or shows you love and work on them throughout the week.
Go to the gym! Take the opportunity to get in a great workout without checking your phone the entire time. Take the hour or so for yourself. Your notifications will be waiting for you when you finish.
Paint your nails - or go get your nails done! Take some screen-free time to pamper yourself.
Reorganize! Take the opportunity to finally reorganize your drawers, desk, closet, or entire house. Take time to establish a system so you know where everything is. Start with smaller items such as your wallet or a drawer before tackling bigger rooms.
Practice being mindful! Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. You can be present everyday, or you can continue to scroll through social media. Try to strike a balance so you stay mindful!
These 10 activities are just a sample of things you can do without using your phone. Screens are part of our everyday lives but we don’t need to make them our entire day.
Reducing your screen time will not only benefit your sleep and eyes but your overall health!
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