The new year is often a time for making resolutions that we hope will improve our lives in some way. The most common resolutions involve taking more exercise and eating more healthily. However, according to a survey reported in Forbes Advisor, some 13% of Brits will also be vowing to cut down on time spent on social media.
This is part of a more general trend to enhance our mental and emotional wellbeing, with around a quarter of people aiming to reduce their stress levels in 2024. The link between screen time and stress has been much-studied in recent years, as we are living in an era dominated by technology and it plays a central role in many people’s lives.
While technology can bring undoubted benefits of convenience and instant connectivity, there is a tipping point where we can become controlled by it, rather than using it to serve us positively. For some, screen addiction has a serious hold, leading them to spend hours scrolling through social media or news sites in their spare time.
The addiction may spill over into work or family time, damaging careers and relationships. Whether you feel totally out of control and dependent on your phone, or you just want to trim back on your screen time, here are a few tips that might help you.
Most of us have a fear of missing out, and we feel obliged to read or even respond to messages and notifications instantly. However, in most cases these messages are not urgent and we do not need to interrupt what we were doing to read them. If you are expecting an urgent message, you will generally know in advance who it will be from.
Therefore try and mute all but your most essential notifications and just go to your messages at a fixed time, rather than let them come to you at all hours of the day.
Put off-line activities in place
Set aside at least an hour or two each day for off-line activities, such as going for a walk, gardening, reading a physical book, or having an in-person conversation. This not only gets you away from a screen, but also stimulates the brain and encourages the release of endorphins that can help us to feel happier and less stressed.
Set screen-free zones within your home
Scrolling casually in the hours before bedtime can reduce the quality of our sleep. Designate specific areas such as your bedroom or dining room as screen-free zones where you can wind down in the hours before bed without any digital distractions.
Detox your social media
Social media can create a false impression of what makes us happy. It can be difficult to distinguish between the highly curated images and lifestyles that we see and the reality behind them. Take some time to consider which social media feeds truly bring value to your life, and delete or unfollow the ones that simply create feelings of envy or inadequacy.
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