If you’re among the millions resolving to get healthy in the new year, considering adding tech health to your list of areas to tone.
Over-indulging in tech – in bed and everywhere else – can take a toll on our physical and social health.
- The average American adult spends about 11 hours each day looking at a screen, and checks their phone every 10 minutes, according to the Associated Press.
All that screen time strains not just eyes, but heads, necks and shoulders. And binging on Netflix and Facebook can come at the expense of real face time.
- Studies show passive consumption of information takes a negative toll on our mental health, dimming our ability to concentrate, analyze and reflect.
And as convenient as Amazon is, online shopping bypasses the myriad small but important social exchanges we get from traveling to and shopping at a physical store.
7 tips to reducing screen time
If you’re interested in slimming down your tech consumption and perhaps improving your social life, consider making these changes in 2019:
- Monitor your screen time. The iPhone has a new Screen Time feature that shows how long you’ve been using specific apps, and even helps parents put limits on their children’s usage. Apps including Space, App Detox and Off the Grid can also help you reduce your screen time and regain your tech/life balance.
- Switch off notifications. Do you really need to know the exact moment someone likes your most recent post? Reduce the temptation to repeatedly check your phone by turning off notifications that demand attention. Go to “Settings” on your phone, scroll to “Notifications” and turn them to off.
- Switch devices to “off” at a specific time each evening, and make it at least an hour before bedtime. Not only will it give you time to quietly ponder and unwind from your day, or have quality time with family, screen time too close to bed interferes with quality sleep.
- Buy an alarm clock. Statistics show one in three people check their phones during the night. So while it sounds like a step back in time, using a clock instead of a device is an ideal way to eliminate those middle-of-the-night time checks that can segue into wee-hours scrolling. Plus, the blue light from our phones sends a signal to our brains that it’s time to start the day, making it tough to get back to sleep.
- Unsubscribe from unwanted email lists. The time it takes to read or trash an unnecessary email is time you’ll never get back to do anything else.
- Meet in person when possible. If you and your coworkers work in the same building, skip WebEx and other such tools and do your business face to face. Book a conference room or schedule lunch instead. It’s easier to read body language and facial expressions in real time and you’ll build bonds that just can’t be created virtually.
- Find a hobby. If Facebook and online news have become your pasttimes of choice, consider dusting off your skis, running shoes, board games or book club list and find some ways to pass the time that don’t require a Wi-Fi password.
Your body and your brain will both say thanks.