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Have you ever wanted to lower your screen time? I can imagine many of us have thought about that… Especially any of you out there who get a weekly reminder of their screen time on their phones! I get that reminder and some weeks it is OUTRAGEOUS. I knew I wanted to start cutting down on my screen time, especially after my two weeks with COVID, when I was essentially doing nothing other than spending time on my phone. It was driving me crazy to see my screen time double…
This is not to say that long amounts of screen time is always a horrible thing. In fact, I know many people who have jobs that require them to be on the phone for many hours of the day. But finding a place that you feel comfortable with your screen time is good and having a set boundary for that is awesome! It’s not always easy to find that boundary of how much screen time you want to have, but it’s the most important step of this process. So first decide how much screen time is too much screen time for you and go from there.
Next, you’ll want to replace that screen time with something productive or a hobby you enjoy. I especially want to emphasize how important it is for a hobby to be included! If you replace your screen time with chores or productive things that may not bring you joy or a sense of relaxation. You will find that it’ll be harder to want to replace your screen time with those things. You will fall quickly back into spending hours scrolling or swiping, or whatever else it is you do on your phone. So don’t feel like you need to replace screen time with chores, instead finding things that bring joy or relaxation are the best place to start.
For me, I started by incorporating something more enjoyable to my routine: reading so many pages of a book every night. I have always wanted to read more and so this was a great first step which also helped reduce the time I was spending on my phone right before bed. It would relax me and easily fell into my routine because I wanted it to be there. It was also helpful that I was replacing something in my daily routine instead of adding something in my routine. I was already spending time before bed to wind down on my phone, but instead I replaced that with reading.
I have also noticed that I spend less time on my phone when I am doing something with my hands. I picked up knitting two years ago and have been still working on projects ever since. Having something else I was working towards was great, but also having a project that require my hands and my attention was even better. I still put on YouTube videos or shows on the TV and I would knit, but it was better than when I’d put on the TV and then sit on my phone at the same time. Replacing your screen time with painting, knitting, drawing, cooking, baking, or something of that sort can help keep you off of your phone. Doing something with your hands while watching a show or listening to a podcast can also help you transition into less screen time because you don’t miss some of the fun content you can find online.
Lowering your screen time can be so healthy. You do not need to spend all of your free time on your phone! But it is not a bad thing to have some screen time. So don’t feel bad if you don’t lower your screen time right away!! I know that a lower screen time may not be so important to everyone, and that’s okay! But with the new year, it’s something that I want to make a conscious effort for to improve myself beyond what my current schedule looks like… But some of the things that you do may incorporate some screen time (like learning a new language on duo lingo or using an ipad to draw) and that’s okay! You know the difference between good screen time and not-so productive screen time. I would encourage everyone to try and figure out what about of unproductive screen time you would like to take and stick to that though. Maybe the best first step for you is to replace wasted screen time with something you enjoy. Easy peasy!! Then you’ll get the ball rolling to accomplish more things after that…