Screen Time: Mindfully Unplugging

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Making small changes to your technology habits could unlock more time for you to focus on your health and wellness. Think about what you could do with an extra 30 minutes to an hour each day.

Observe Current Habits:

  • Be aware of your current screen time. On many devices, you can check your usage data in the settings. You may even be able to see a breakdown of the time you spend on social media specifically. Note the time you spend on your phone, computer, and TV.
  • Differentiate necessary and unnecessary screen time. Your computer might be essential for your work, and that screen time is necessary. Scrolling on social media first thing in the morning or before bed at night is not.
  • Think about the quality of your screen time. You may video chat regularly with family and friends, and that screen time fosters positive connections that are beneficial for your overall well-being. Prioritize positive screen time that adds quality to your life.
  • Note how your screen time makes you feel. Unfollow any accounts that evoke negative emotions, so when you are online you see content that evoke positive emotions. While online, are you energized or tired? Are you engaged or bored? Negative emotions are a great reason to disconnect.

Reduce Your Screen Time:

  • Keep your phone out of reach if you do not actively need it. Create a designated space for it in the house, and try to remove it from your bedroom if possible. Use a physical alarm clock instead of your phone. Wear a watch to check the time.
  • Keep your phone or device on “do not disturb”. You can permit calls and messages from specific people to still come through so that you do not miss anything important.
  • Rearrange the apps on your phone or computer, so you only see “essential” apps when you open your device. Essential apps may be for phone calls, texts, etc. Put other apps, such as social media, on a different screen, or set time limits for specific apps.
  • Turn notifications for specific apps off. Notifications for social media or news apps may be a distraction and start an online scrolling session. Turn these notifications off.
  • Delete unnecessary apps from your phone. Completely remove the apps you find yourself scrolling on from your device. Detox for 24 hours, 1 week, 1 month, or whatever you want to start with.
  • Avoid eating in front of a screen. Disconnect during meals and snacks. This also can help you focus on eating mindfully.
  • Plan your screen time. Set usage time limits for certain apps. Schedule TV/streaming time around specific programs and turn the TV off as soon as the program is over.
  • Implement regular screen time breaks. For example, make Sunday afternoons device free, or choose one or two device free nights a week for you and your household.

What to do with the extra time you unlock by unplugging?

  • Spend face-to-face time with family and friends.
  • Cook a healthy dinner, or use the time to meal prep and pack a healthy lunch and snacks for the next day.
  • Move your body. Go on a walk, engage in a short workout, or try a new movement-based activity.
  • Read a book. This is a great alternative to scrolling on a device or watching TV right before bed.

Like with any changes, start small and build up. What is a realistic change you could start today?

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