Read this if you’re addicted to your phone

Spending too much time on your phone isn’t doing your health any good. Here’s how to cut down on your screen time

By Charlotte Bean

We all know the consensus: spending too much time on our phones is harming us.

    ...we can probably all think of a time when we’ve picked up our phones and fallen down a virtual rabbit hole.  

From RSI and neck pain to sleep problems and a negative impact on our mental health, the damage caused by too much screen time is clear.

Even without the scientific evidence, we can probably all think of a time when we’ve picked up our phones and fallen down a virtual rabbit hole. At the end of it, we have nothing to show apart from an uneasy feeling that we’re not as thin as we should be, the world is going to pot, or we can’t live without a new car/pair of jeans/boyfriend (delete as appropriate).

That said, few of us could function without our phones. The benefits they offer include connectivity, a capacity to work on the fly and a sense of belonging to a wider online community.

So we’re not saying you should stop using your phone completely. Just get the balance right: if you find yourself reaching for it during social situations, or even struggling to focus on simple tasks without picking it up, try our top tips to cut back on your idle scrolling.

1. Designate “no-phone” times

How often do you find yourself being woken up by your phone alarm to then spend the first 10 (or more) minutes of your morning scrolling?

How often do you go to bed only to be kept awake by having one last look at social media?

So here’s an idea: designate the first and last hour of your day as sacred no-phone time. This is especially helpful at bedtime, because the blue light emitted by phones disrupts sleep patterns.

Use these hours to develop a healthy routine that leaves you feeling fulfilled and ready for the day (or night) ahead. Aim to increase the length and frequency of your no-phone times, perhaps avoiding using it during your lunch break or on the way home from work. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your wellbeing.

2. Create a list of alternative activities

Make a list of things that you’d like to spend more time doing: reading or exercising, say, or hanging out (in person) with friends.

    The average person spends 2 hours 28 minutes per day using their phone online.  

Refer to the list when you feel the urge to pick up and scroll. You’ll soon find your time being spent in a more meaningful and beneficial manner.

The average person spends 2 hours 28 minutes per day using their phone online. Just think of what else you could achieve in this time.

3. Leave your phone behind

If the thought of leaving home without your phone sends you into a spin, this is sure proof that it’s exactly what you should do!

Worried you’ll get lost or need to know something? Instead of relying on your phone or Google to sort you out, aim to figure out the problem yourself or ask someone for help. Develop your confidence, independence and social skills by braving the outside world alone. Think of it as an adventure...

4. Make changes to your phone

There are a few changes you can make to your phone to decrease the likelihood of being lured in. Try using apps like Moment or Flipd that allow you to set limits on your screen time.

Delete apps that you don’t feel are beneficial to you - deleting social media apps doesn’t mean you’re deleting your account. It just means that you are less likely to spend time on them while fiddling with your phone.

Turning off notifications also means you’re less likely to find yourself constantly checking what’s going on in cyberspace.

5. Replace virtual contact with traditional methods

A large proportion of time spent on our phones is for communication. But even time spent making phone calls has decreased so that the majority of contact is made through social media or messaging apps.

Next time you want to connect with someone, why not try a more traditional method? Send a letter or card or, even better, pop and see them in person. Evidence has shown that a lack of face-to-face contact increases the risk of depression. So ditch the emojis and opt for more human interactions instead.

It’s a big, wide, beautiful world out there. Make sure you drag your eyes away from the screen and experience the joy of it at first hand. Why look at a video of a beautiful sunrise when you could clamber to the top of a hill and see one for yourself?

Published: 31 July 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Feeling stressed? Try this technique to help you unwind

You may also enjoy: Just thinking aloud: the lost art of letting go

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