As the days get darker and the weather turns colder, many of us will be spending more time indoors. With that often comes an increase in screen time and social media use, which can have negative effects on our mental health and wellbeing.
Here are a few ways that cutting back on screen time can benefit you:
Improved sleep: The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. By reducing your screen time before bed, you can improve the quality of your sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Reduced eye strain: Looking at screens for extended periods of time can cause eye strain, dryness and fatigue. By taking breaks from your screen and reducing your overall screen time, you can reduce the strain on your eyes and improve your eye health.
- Increased physical activity: Screen time often involves sitting in one place for extended periods of time, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. By reducing your screen time and finding alternative activities to do, you can increase your physical activity and improve your overall health.
- Improved mental health: Spending too much time on social media can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. By reducing your screen time, you can improve your mental health and wellbeing by focusing on other activities, such as connecting with loved ones or practicing mindfulness.
- Better productivity: Screen time can often be a distraction from important tasks and responsibilities. By reducing your screen time, you can improve your focus and productivity by dedicating more time to work, hobbies and other activities.
If you do spend yourself spending too much time in front of a screen, here are some tips on how to reduce your screen time:
Set boundaries: One of the first steps to reducing your social media use and screen time is to set boundaries for yourself. This could mean limiting your social media use to a certain amount of time each day or turning off your phone during certain hours. Whatever boundaries you set, make sure they are achievable and realistic.
Use an app: There are apps available, such as Freedom, that allow you to block usage of certain apps or websites on your phone that you find time consuming. You can lock yourself out for a set amount of time to help you focus and not get distracted by notifications.
- Find alternative activities: Instead of spending time on social media or in front of a screen, find alternative activities to do indoors. This could include reading, doing a puzzle, or trying a new hobby. By finding other ways to occupy your time, you will be less likely to turn to social media or your phone.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a technique that can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to be more present in the moment and less focused on a screen. There are many mindfulness apps and resources available that can help you get started, such as Headspace.
- Create a routine: Creating a routine for yourself can help you stay on track and reduce the amount of time you spend on social media or in front of a screen. This could include setting aside certain times of the day for social media use or screen time, or scheduling activities and tasks to keep yourself occupied.
- Get outside: Even though it's cold outside, getting some fresh air and exercise can do wonders for your mental health. Make sure to bundle up and take a walk outside or find other outdoor activities to do during the winter months.
By taking breaks from your screen, finding alternative activities to do and setting boundaries for yourself, you can improve your sleep, eye health, physical activity, mental health and productivity. Remember that it's okay to take a break from being instantly reachable and that there are many other ways to occupy your time indoors.