Screens are a bigger part of our lives than ever before. On average, American adults spend six hours daily on an array of devices, while teens spend an average of four hours on their mobile devices—that’s a quarter or more of our waking hours spent holding a phone or a tablet or watching TV. (Yikes!) Whether or not it’s screen addiction, most of us could stand to cut back.
It’s tough to imagine our lives without them, considering how convenient and easily accessible they are. But overuse can lead to mental strain and increased anxiety. Staring at screens day and night can cause eye strain, lead to headaches, and cause issues with posture—all that ducking our heads while texting or checking our notifications.
So, what can we do to loosen the hold that screens have on our lives? Check out these easy tips to get back some of your time and peace of mind.
Carve Out Phone-Free Time
Many of us have routines that involve checking Instagram, reading emails, and catching up on the news via our phones. Review how you spend your day and pick a time to go phone free. Mornings are a great time to start. If you tend to check your phone first thing in the morning, make a new routine where you go on a walk, relax with coffee, or read the newspaper—without your phone. Eventually, a new habit will form, and you’ll begin your whole day with less anxiety.
Put It Out of Reach
If you sleep with your phone next to your bed or have it in bed with you when you go to sleep, you’ll feel more compelled to answer every ring, buzz, or notification. And having your phone so close makes it even more likely to be the first thing you see in the morning. Instead, move your phone to another room or the opposite side of your bed. That way, you won’t be tempted to check it throughout the night, and you’ll still hear your alarm bright and early.
Cut the Cord
This is a big one, but the majority of our time spent on our devices is due to social media. You may not realize how much time you spend scrolling through the endless stream of photos and videos. To cut down on your screen time, remove all social apps from your phone. Without them, your phone is just a phone again, and you’ve freed up a lot more time to decompress.
Turn Down the Noise
If removing your social apps feels too much like going cold turkey, at least try turning off your notifications. This way, you’re more likely to go to your channels when you feel like it—not because you’re getting alerts every hour.
Let the Bathroom Be a Sacred Space
Light reading while in the restroom isn’t uncommon, but barring your phone from the bathroom is a healthier, more sanitary way to reduce screen time and give yourself a little peace. And getting rid of this habit is a good way to refocus yourself and work on becoming less distracted.
Being glued to your phone may feel like a natural part of your daily life—but it doesn’t have to be. Give these tricks a try to see if you can reduce your screen time and refocus the extra time on other things, like reading, spending time with your friends and family, or meditating.
Generations of humans got along just fine before the digital age. Spending a little more time offline just may do you some good.