How to reduce screen time

Many of us use several devices every day, being afforded a quick and (mostly) reliable source of information and entertainment. But when you use your phone to socialise, a laptop or computer for work, and perhaps an iPad when you get home, it can really affect all aspects of your health.

 Physically, your eyes can become tired and sore from the blue light. This can potentially lead to headaches and migraines. Think about your posture when you use your phone too. More often than not, our neck is receiving added pressure from being tilted forward. Bring your phone up to eye level to stop this and sit up straight like your Mum taught you to!

 It’s become socially acceptable to have our phones with us 24/7 but not when you’re meant to be socialising. Take photos where they are due, but can the upload and punny caption creation wait? This is definitely easier said than done, but worth the effort.

 
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Here are some tips that we have collated that might help to reduce screen time:


1.     Night Shift mode:

Staring into a phone screen may not give us the “square eyes” that our parents threatened us with but it’s not too far from the truth. Research has shown that the blue light emitted from digital devices’ screens puts strains on our eyes. Particularly, the bright blue light can affect your circadian rhythm when using devices at night. Though the Apple software is automatically based on the time and your location, you can actually set your own hours for the Night Shift lighting—a more yellow tinged light. This is advisable to avoid strained eyes, so perhaps change it to the hours that you’re awake.

 

2.     Do Not Disturb mode:

Swipe up to the Control Menu on your phone (this applies to iPhones and Androids) to the moon button to turn on this feature. This allows no notifications to pop up until you turn it off, which you can do manually or set a time for. Why not do this anytime and not just before you go to sleep? Focus on yourself or the people that you’re with instead of checking Instagram for the fifteenth time that hour. The function will only let through calls from your Favourites, which is great in the case of an emergency but not for a Snapchat notification.

 

3.     Set a time alarm:

If you have housemates that you are friends with, or especially children, set an agreed time whereby phones and devices are put down to enjoy one another’s company. Get home and catch up with a few social channels but put devices away for dinner and leave them alone. Watch a movie or TV show together, play a game with the kids, or put music on and crack open a bottle of wine. These are the moments that matter most, and not having #FOMO about what other people are doing.

 

4.     Open your eyes!

How much of the world haven’t you seen because your head was looking down at your device? Put your phone in your pocket and open your eyes, especially for your work commutes. When you wake up in the morning, you are in a parasympathetic state, which is the relaxed feeling of waking up naturally. As soon as you look at your phone and see notifications, your stress levels rise, disrupting this cycle. Where possible, stay calm by waiting until you’re at work to address any issues. Despite soaring heat or freezing temperatures, enjoy walking to work or looking out of the window instead of missing the view by being absorbed in what is likely to be nothing important on social media.

 
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5.     Leave your device at home:

Breathe!!! We know this might be a heinous suggestion for most people but it’s worthwhile considering whether you need your phone/device for everything that you do. Going for a run or bike ride? Enjoy the fresh air and exercise instead. Taking your phone can often prolong the time you planned to be out—who has been to the gym and been there twice as long because your phone distracts you? Although our phones can have our money on Apple/Google Pay and it is less clunky than taking a bag or wallet, perhaps just take one credit card or some cash with you. Remember actual cameras? Invest in one and fall back in love with looking through a viewfinder for the perfect shot instead of taking disposable one second shots that you forget about.

 

Of course, for safety reasons, your phone is your ally to be able to get in touch with people. It’s a damn good invention and resource that we all use for everything, but it’s ideal to take a break and step back to normality sometimes. Working these tips into your lifestyle will likely give you a some more breathing room to just…live.

Sophie Evans