We are living in the digital age. Pretty much everything can be done online and with a click of a button. While this is super convenient (and especially nice for introverts like me), it means we’re spending an exorbitant amount of time online. We wonder why we’ve run out of hours in the day and why we don’t have enough time to spend with friends and family, but then we forget all the extra minutes that are spent online that aren’t necessary. In order to gain back time and to feel less anxious and overwhelmed, we need to develop a healthy relationship with our technology. I made big steps to reduce my screen time in 2019 and it felt so good. I’m going to break down ways you can practice digital wellness this year.
This is crucial and the most effective. Once I set real limits on my phone and other device usage, I was able to really notice how much time I was aimlessly spending on them. First, check the screen time function on your iPhone. That will give you a sense of how much time you’re spending on it. Set a goal amount of time you would realistically like to get to and try to hit it for a few months. Don’t get too hard on yourself if you’re over. A habit takes time to break. There are a lot of apps you can use to help monitor screen time. Moment is supposedly a great one and even has a bootcamp! What I’ve found to be the most helpful is to have my phone in a different room. It’s too tempting to reach for it all the time when it’s sitting next to me (even in airplane mode). I tell my friends and family that I’m taking a break for a few hours. I also implement this at night, too. I try to not use my phone at all while the kids are at home and often, I find after they go to bed, I don’t need it anymore.
Email is another issue. If you find you’re constantly checking emails you need to develop a system. I highly doubt there is anything urgent that arrives in the middle of the afternoon. Check it once in the morning and once before you’re done with work for the day. You will be amazed how good it feels to not be refreshing your inbox all the time! Bonus points if you unsubscribe from as many email lists as possible.
Turn Off Notifications
Remove all notifications from your phone and your laptop. I only allow calls and texts and a little note from the meditation app Headspace. Trust me. You will feel so much less distracted and your eyes will have a break from all those annoying popups.
Even if you’re not on your phone all day for work, you’re likely looking at a computer screen. This causes eye strain and headaches. It’s also not good to sit all day long! Carve out time on your calendar each day for breaks. Treat them as important as a meeting. Take 15 minutes for a walk outside or 20 minutes to eat lunch with an actual book.
Mute and Delete
If social media is sucking all the time and joy out of your life, it’s time for you to evaluate if it’s a healthy habit. If you can’t avoid it, take time to mute people or unfollow people who aren’t serving you. If you feel crummy after seeing their images, it’s time for you to clean up your follow list and make sure it’s only things that make you feel happy and inspired. No guilt allowed.
Don’t reach for your phone simply out of boredom. Get comfortable with the quiet times. Try meditation and get into reading. I like to bring a book with me in my bag so I grab it instead of my phone when I’m having to wait in long lines or for an appointment. Another idea: try talking to people!
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