These days, there are screens in every direction you turn. We use devices to wake up in the morning, log into work, order food, and even wind down. Sadly, it seems like iPhone screen time is unavoidable. Since screens are becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives, we should be aware of the role they play in our health.
If that’s the first time you’ve heard that screens affect our overall health, you’re in the right place. Today I’m sharing how wifi devices affect our body and mind, and ways to reduce screen time.
How Excessive Screen Time Affects Overall Health
Excessive iPhone screen time is detrimental to our skin, eyes, energy, sleep, and so much more. Staring at blue-light, which is the type of light our phones and computers emit, is linked to weight gain , altered glucose metabolism , and signs of aging . If your goal is to look and feel your youngest for longer, reducing screen time is a must. Especially if you work office jobs.
In addition, the social media effects on mental health are through the roof. The more we’re exposed to people’s highlight reels, a.k.a. only the best parts of their day, we can start to second-guess our satisfaction with our own lives. Endlessly scrolling through pictures and videos seemingly living out a fantasy can mess with our minds. One study found that increased social media time was associated with increased rates of depression.  If you find yourself envying friends and strangers online, it might be a good time for a social media break.
7 Ways To Reduce Screen Time
Trust me, I know how hard it can be to put down your phone. When you’re getting messages and comments and totally refreshed feeds at the swipe of a screen, it’s hard to step away. With your sleep, mental health, skin, and energy on the line, it’s worth it. These seven hacks can help motivate you and keep you accountable for reducing your exposure:
1. Schedule Screen Time
Just like you schedule meetings, coffee dates, and gym sessions, schedule screen time. Maybe you let yourself scroll for 30 minutes while your partner showers, during your lunch break, or on the subway. Even if it changes day-to-day, set some parameters on when it’s appropriate for you to be on your phone. Make a mental note that you don’t have to open up Instagram every time you wait in a line or get put on hold. Let yourself be present and see where your mind wanders to. I promise it will become more comfortable over time.
2. Set Timers
If you have a tendency to scroll for “just five minutes” and when you look up the sun went down, you should set a timer. Set an alarm for 20 minutes and let yourself scroll until then. Give yourself an immediate task or destination after your timer goes off to avoid snoozing over and over again. A little planning can help avoid the endless scroll.
3. Crowd It Out
This is a term I use with nutrition clients. When you want to cut something out of your life, it needs a replacement. So, for example, you can “crowd out” scrolling with reading a book, going on walks, trying new recipes, painting, or whatever else you enjoy doing or have been wanting to try. Instead of just giving up screen time, give yourself an equally enjoyable replacement activity.
4. Separate Yourself
This can be difficult for people with office jobs, but removing yourself from screens altogether is a great way to avoid temptation. If you’re sitting on the couch with a television in front of you and a screen to your left or right, it can be difficult to resist indulging yourself. Instead, put yourself in a room without screens, go outside, or keep your phone away from you. Out of sight, out of mind.
5. Use Do Not Disturb Mode
When you do need to have your phone handy but don’t want to get lost online, set Do Not Disturb (DND) mode. This way, even if you’re checking emails or sending messages to coworkers, you won’t get text or social media notifications. This is a great way to stay focused without having to ditch your phone altogether. If you have an iPhone, there are so many ways to customize your DND mode. You can decide whose messages can come through, how long you want to stay on DND, and more.
6. Buy An Alarm Clock
It sounds simple, but it works! When we use our phones as our alarm clock, we’re immediately exposed to blue light in the morning. Ideally, sunlight would be the first light that hits your eyes. Blue light aside, grabbing your phone first thing in the morning (especially if you’re still sleepy) is a recipe for disaster. There’s nothing stopping you from instantly responding to texts, scrolling through social media, or hopping right into work. Giving yourself time to breathe, have a morning routine, and really be present has made the biggest difference in my day-to-day productivity and mood.
7. Cut Down On Apps
If you’re someone who has pages and pages of apps, it might be time for spring cleaning. Games, news channels, and social media are all ways to stay on our phone. Do you really need 10 brain games on hand, or could you do with just one? Do you need to have all of your social media notifications turned on, or could you just wait to open them until you’re interested? Narrowing down the reasons to get on your phone can help reduce screen time by a lot.