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.

Analyze your current habits:

  1. Be aware of your current screen time habits. 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.
  2. Differentiate between 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 might be unnecessary.
  3. 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.

Tips to 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.
  • Rearrange the apps on your phone or computer, so that you only see your “essential” apps when you open your device (ex. Apps for phone calls, texts, etc.). Put other apps, such as social media on a different screen.
  • Turn notifications for specific apps off. For example, notifications for social media or news apps may be a distraction and start a longer than necessary scrolling session.
  • Keep your phone or device on “do not disturb” so it is even less of a distraction. You can permit calls and messages from specific people to still come through so that you do not miss anything important.
  • Avoid eating in front of a device. Use meals and snacks as times to disconnect. This also can help you eat mindfully, which may benefit weight maintenance and weight loss.
  • Try to implement regular screen time breaks. For example, you could make Sunday afternoons device free, or choose one or two device free nights a week for you and your household.

So, what can you 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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