From the morning alarm to the nighttime newsfeed catch-up — we modern humans spend all day using our tech devices. Have you ever mindlessly reached for your phone at a red light? Pulled it out when waiting in line at the grocery store? It’s hard to remember a time when that wasn’t the norm.
But all that tech use can be a bummer for our bodies. We already know how slouching in front of a desk can cause shoulder and back issues. But so much screen time can affect our bodies in other ways, too. Eye strain and brain fog can be a result of too much time in front of your phone or tablet. Information overload can lead to stress and anxiety. Not to mention the mental health concerns we may have that our lives aren’t “good enough” or feeling that others are living better lives than we are on social media.
That’s why tech time-outs are vital to our overall health.
It might seem like quite the feat, and in some cases, it’s just impossible to take an extended period away from technology. We use our phones to map out routes to new restaurants, our tablets to read books and outsmart assistants to build grocery lists. What would we do on a lazy evening without Netflix?
Strategic tech time-outs can reduce feelings of stress, improve the quality of our sleep, and even improve our relationships with other people.
How can you get started?
Remember first that you don’t have to commit to an extended time (say, a full day.) Start with just an hour a day. And just a note: it’s way easier when everyone in the house is involved. No fair if you’re off tech while your partner pretends to engage with you, scrolling Facebook for an hour.
- Create A Tech-Free Zone
During this time, all devices must be turned off. If only for an hour a night, say during dinner or right after. Play a game, read together, or chat about your day.
- Set A Tech Curfew
Set a reasonable time when all tech must be turned off. At 9 PM, phones on chargers, TV’s go off, and it’s time to reconnect. This is an excellent opportunity to unwind with your partner, do your skincare routine, or prepare for the next day’s outfit and plans.
- Try Leaving Devices Behind When You Go Out
The next time your family goes out for dinner, shopping, or to a relative’s house, try leaving your devices behind. Set them up on the charge and leave the house. At first, you’ll no doubt experience withdrawals, wondering how you ever went about your day without it. But after a while, you might be surprised at how great it feels to exist without constant distraction.
Reducing your screen time can improve your quality of life, ease stress, and promote general well-being. Those are all compelling reasons to take a tech time-out! Remember to use this time as free time, and not think of it as punishment. You may even get others around you to enjoy it, too!