The internet is a weird and wonderful place – and it’s right there in our hot little hand.
Our smartphones connect us with friends, family, like-minded groups, the movements we care about, the memes we love and the videos we didn’t know we needed (like this bird dancing to ringtones).
But in this digital age, we’ve become more dependent on screens than ever. We digital natives clock about 14 hours a week on social media alone. We know that folks who spend less time on their phone are calmer, more focused and productive, friendlier, happier and have greater life-satisfaction and self-esteem.
So, here are 10 tips for taking a breather from our pocket pals:
1. Use (free) apps to track + limit screen time
Android users can take advantage of Google’s Digital Wellbeing tool and iPhone users have Apple’s Screen Time setting.
Flora — Focus Habit Tracker (iPhone)
This super cute screen-limiting app has you planting a virtual tree (alone or with friends) each time you set your 25-minute timer. The challenge lay in resisting your phone(s) to keep the trees alive!
Flipd: Focus & Productivity (Android)
A screen-limiting app and a meditative app, Flipd has a timer and Focus Lock to limit distractions. Connect with and challenge your friends and access the Wellness Hub to listen to relaxing sounds or motivational audio tracks.
2. Hit that unfollow button
The less time we spend pouring over people’s highlight reels, the more confident and secure we feel. Say thank you next to accounts that make you feel badly about yourself and build it around those that cheer you on to make the most of what social media has to offer us.
3. Remove apps from your homescreen
Removing our most tempting apps from their usual spot on the homescreen stops us from mindlessly opening them. When you go to open it, take a moment to check in and ask yourself do I want to be on this app right now?
Read more: So You’re Social Distancing – Here Are Our Top Tips
4. Switch off an hour before sleep
While the recommended dose is 8-10 hours of sleep, the average Aussie teen gets between 6.5-7.5 hours a night. Little sleep puts us at greater risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and mood issues. Leading up to bedtime, opt for relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, reading or drawing.
5. Charge your phone elsewhere
Late night and early morning scrolls induce anxiety, setting us up for disturbed sleep and a more stressful day. Eliminate the need for the feed by keeping your phone further away from your bed. This helps us get the sleep we need, get up faster, in a better mood and likely to have a great day.
6. Eat mindfully
Putting the phone away allows us to eat mindfully – to enjoy our food, be present in the moment, engage our senses and tune into ourselves.
7. Stash it away
Out of sight, out of mind. This simple hack removes the temptation to constantly pick up your phone or carry it around with you. Set yourself goals to work up to like checking it once every half an hour, then once every hour, etc.
Read more: Spare Time? Here’s Some Feminist Suggestions
8. Plan ahead
Some days you’ll kick goals and some days, well, your ball might have a hole in it. Progress isn’t linear and expecting both victories and setbacks guards us against give up on those not so successful days. Coming up with some rewards for when we meet our goals is a great way to keep us going.
9. Keep a journal
Journaling is a great way to plan ahead and track our progress. Jot down your reasons for wanting to less screen time, your habits, goals, triggers, moods, what has worked and what hasn’t. Your journal will remind you of how far you’ve come, how much better you feel and keep you motivated.
10. Celebrate your wins!
Curbing our habits can be tough. Don’t be hard on yourself if you suffer a setback – we’re only human. Be patient with yourself and most importantly, when you reach a goal (go you good thing!), bask in the moment and reward yourself.
You’ve got this!
If you’re struggling with iso or just feel like you could use someone to talk to, check out our list of support services.
Chantelle is an ambitious writer based in Warragul. Wanting to write and teach, she delves deeply into the world of literature and education to fulfil her dreams and learn about the world around her. Also obsessed with geek culture.