Show some self-love & break up with excessive screen time

Like most of us, are you too in a love-hate relationship with your screen? Like being sick of those exposing yourself to endless screen time on unending office zoom calls through the week but being thankful for Netflix? Come August, how else would you binge-watch the last season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Or know what Phase 4 of the MCU has in store? 

Between Zoom calls, Facetime, switching between Instagram and WhatsApp, live streaming Champions League football, incessant notifications from a zillion apps on the phone, and a barrage of work emails, people are somehow forgetting how to disconnect from the digital realm. Compare it with some other simpler stuff, from what now feels like a different life altogether, like mindlessly staring out the window with music plugged in during work commutes, stepping outside the office building for a breather, hanging out with friends over drinks all the while forgetting to look at our phones, and you’d realize how starkly life has changed over the past year or so. 

With this steep rise in screen time, are our eyes getting the break they deserve? Or are they constantly shrouded behind a layer of fatigue? Excessive screen time can affect personal well being, lead to sleep problems, stress, anxiety, and not to mention how harmful it is for the eyes. And while work from home, sans the coffee breaks and lunches, is the reality most of us can’t escape from right now, here are some ways on how we can improve general well being and how to reduce screen time, giving the eyes much-needed respite. 

Freeze your calendar

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Stick to set schedules. Block time on your calendar for breaks to avoid an unnecessary meeting and figure out how to limit your screen time even if it is for a short while. Having a schedule also lets you manage your day to not let your eyes or even brain go into overdrive mode. 

Move away from videos

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Unless a meeting must be conducted on Zoom, switch to a phone call to move away from your desk and regulate your screen time. Perhaps walk around your house while you brainstorm on an idea with your colleague. Choose Spotify podcasts over YouTube videos on days when you know you need to reduce screen time.

Practice going phone-free

Motivate yourself to not look at your phone for at least 30 mins to an hour every day, eventually increasing the duration to more than an hour. Simple steps like not dozing off with your phone in bed, not looking at a screen while eating a meal, putting devices away after work, and controlling the urge to mindlessly scroll on an app can help. 

Switch off notifications

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It is okay to miss that Instagram notification of your friend tagging you a meme, just how it is okay to reply to a work email a few hours later. Turning notifications off not only helps you to disconnect from your phone to reduce screen time but it also helps concentrate, which is difficult when your phone is buzzing off the hook. 

Let digital take a backseat

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Want to read something? Pick that book lying untouched on your shelf instead of reaching for your Kindle. Brainstorming for a project? Write your ideas in a notebook. Need to see what time it is? To reduce screen time, instead of lighting up your phone screen, keep a watch on the table. Getting bored indoors? Ditch Netflix and pick a hobby instead. 

Looking up from your screen is not a saving grace for tired eyes but gives your overall happiness and well being that much-needed boost. To reduce screen time, minor changes like turning your notifications off improve your sleep schedules, keeping your phone away at mealtimes lets you connect with your family during dinner table conversations, shutting your laptop to get up, and stretching keeps muscle cramps at bay. Ready to go on a break with your screens?

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