Most of us use our phones and computers for work, entertainment, shopping, and more. While devices are convenient, they can also take a toll on your physical and mental health. Here are a few ways that you can limit your screen exposure.
- Be Vigilant About Bedtime
Bedtime is not just for children. Even adults need a routine—one that screens have no place in. Too much blue light and screen time before bed can make it harder to fall asleep and affects your body’s rest cycles once you do fall asleep.
To combat this effect, turn off your screens one to two hours before you go to sleep. This will limit your exposure to blue light at the most critical period for your body and help you rest better.
- Get an Alarm Clock
Many people know that using devices right before bed is harmful, but they can’t help it. Most of us use our phones to set the alarm, and the temptation to scroll through social media when you can’t fall asleep is too great when your phone is right there.
Getting an alarm clock will allow you to move your phone out of the bedroom without worrying about oversleeping. This will also help you limit your screen exposure during one of the most crucial times for your brain—right before bed.
- Mitigate the Harmful Effects of Screens
Excessive screen usage may be unavoidable, depending on your job or studies. However, there are ways that you can minimize its harmful effects. First, keep your screens about an arm’s length away and slightly below your eye level. Second, decrease the contrast and glare on the screen to protect your eyes. If you notice that your eyes get dry after watching screens, keep eye drops on hand.
While you may want to limit your overall screen exposure, limiting the harm that screen exposure causes are also helpful.
- Track Your Screen Time
Realizing just how much time you spend looking at your phone or computer screen might be the incentive to help you change your habits. So often, we don’t even know how much screens have occupied our lives.
There are a few apps out there to track how much you use your phone. Apple products now have a built-in setting to track screen time, but you can also download apps such as Freedom, Moment, or ZenScreen.
- Make Designated Screen Time Zones
You probably won’t be able to eliminate digital devices from your life completely. However, acknowledging reality and creating a designated space and time for their usage can help you manage your screen exposure.
Create designated times when you can use devices, particularly outside work. For example, if you only let yourself check social media in the morning and watch TV in the late afternoon, you can still enjoy the benefits of screens without letting them take over your life. You can also set no-go zones for digital devices, such as your bedroom.
- Find an Offline Hobby
Outside of work, many of us rely on phones and computers for entertainment. Thanks to the proliferation of ebooks, we can watch movies, learn a new skill, and even read on a screen. First, however, you need to make space for offline interests. This will help decrease your screen exposure and increase your overall well-being.
Pick up a new creative pursuit that you can learn from books or in-person instructors, not online tutorials. Get a library card to read physical books, or make it a regular habit to get out in nature. This will help remind you that your happiness does not depend on the device in your pocket.
- Identify the Major Culprits
Sometimes, a few apps are driving the majority of your screen exposure. Some of those you cannot help, such as work-related obligations. Others you can minimize or eliminate.
Some screen-tracking apps tell you which applications are responsible for most of your screen time, or you may be conscious of the main culprits yourself. So turn off notifications for the applications that keep drawing you in, or delete them altogether. Sometimes, eliminating the few apps that you are dependent on will decrease your exposure overall.
Our screens can be valuable tools facilitating connection, but too much exposure can affect your physical and mental health. These simple tricks can help you regain balance.