If you find yourself becoming burned out by the amount of screen time you have in a day, you’re not alone. Many people, especially those who work in technological fields, feel like the time they spend staring at their phones, laptops, and tablets is a giant drain on their mental wellbeing.
There are a number of verifiable problems with the amount of screen time the average American has in a day. Most notably a lot of screen time is tied to a lack of sleep or trouble staying asleep. Sleep, of course, is closely tied to overall mental and physical health.
Indeed, it seems at times that the only way out is to completely disconnect and move somewhere deep in the wilderness where we don’t even have the option of connectedness. Fortunately, such extreme measures are not required.
Many people are finding that a simple digital detox is enough to reset their systems, making them feel less drained by their screen time. At the same time, after coming back from a digital detox, many people might feel like they’re more inclined to be more mindful and purposeful about how they spend their screen time.
Any way you slice it, there’s simply no downside to a digital detox. Here’s what you need to know about having your own.
How Screen Time Impacts Your Health
Excessive screen time has measurable impacts on your health. Here are some of the ways that screen time could be negatively impacting your physical and mental health.
- Eyestrain and Digital Eye Fatigue: Too much screen time can lead to eyestrain and digital eye fatigue. Some signs that you might be spending too much time looking at screens include headaches, lack of focus, and dry eyes.
- Disruption of Sleep Patterns: Digital screens emit copious amounts of blue light, which can interfere with your body’s natural melatonin production. This in turn leads to erratic and unhealthy sleep patterns. Poor sleep quality has cascading effects on your overall health, impacting everything from cognitive function to mood, and even the functioning of your immune system.
- Physical Health Concerns: When you’re on your phone, you’re usually sitting down. This can contribute to a range of physical health concerns including cardiovascular problems, obesity, and musculoskeletal issues.
- Impact on Mental Well-Being: Constant connectivity through screens can increase your stress, and anxiety, and create a sense of being constantly “on.” The constant barrage of information and notifications can become overwhelming, creating an additional impact on your mental well-being.
Strategies for a Digital Detox
Ok. You’re convinced. Too much screen time isn’t a good thing. So how do you begin scaling that back? A digital detox is a great way to start. Here are some tips to help you have a fruitful and effective digital detox.
- Setting Limits On Screen Time: Establish clear boundaries for how much is too much. Apps can help you track and limit screen time.
- Make “Tech-Free Zones” In Your Home: Make parts of your house “tech-free zones.” The bedroom or the dinner table are too great places to declare screens off limits.
- Increase Outdoor Activities: Getting outside more is good for you in general, but it also helps to decrease the amount of time you spend staring at a phone.
- Cultivate Hobbies Away From The Screen: Much like getting outside, engaging in your screen-free hobbies are great way to buttress your mental health as well as do things that don’t involve screens.
The prevalence of digital screens in our lives requires conscious effort to strike a balance. Implementing strategies for a digital detox allows you to foster a healthier relationship with technology, promoting your physical health as well as your mental and emotional well-being. In the modern, connected world, achieving a harmonious balance between technology and wellness is key to cultivating a healthier and more fulfilling future.
Have you ever done a digital detox? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.