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5 ways to switch off when you're 'always on'

Healthy & Happy

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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Many of us have been ‘living online’ for the past few months and, as a result, we’ve adopted an ‘always on’ mentality. Too much screen time is not only bad for your eyes, but your mental health too.

 

Here are five ways to manage your screen time and how to connect with your loved ones in healthier ways.

  1. Make time for healthy activities

    Ever wished you knew how to knit, paint, write poetry or take on a DIY kitchen project? Or have you just been meaning to declutter your house? If you add up the extra time you’ll have if you cut down on screen time, you’ll see that there’ll be plenty of time to take up a new hobby. Decide on an activity you’ve always wanted to do or learn and allocate regular time to it. Good options include learning new skills like baking sourdough bread; writing or drawing; doing a course; or clearing out the clutter in your house. You can also do budget-friendly family activities such as building puzzles, crafting, board games, sharing stories and braaiing in the backyard.

  2. Do nothing, with purpose

    Put away your phone, switch off your computer, turn off the TV and… just breathe. Take a break with activities that are good for your mental health, such as meditation or yoga, or a workout you enjoy, like dancing. Round up your family to make it a bonding activity or do it on your own as a way of getting some downtime. If you need tips initially, watch a tutorial online and memorise the moves, or use a book with instructions instead.

  3. Manage your screen usage

    Ironically, your phone can help you manage your screen time. Most smartphones have built-in software that can be used to monitor how much time you are spending on apps, for example Screen Time on iPhones. What’s more, it also allows you to set limits for each app. You could also install an app such as Digital Wellbeing, which is available for Android. Wean yourself off your favourite ones by shocking yourself with the amount of time wasted on them, and follow that up by setting time limits. You can also use screen time management apps such as OFFTIME to limit your app usage.

  4. Keep it old school

    If you need or want to talk to a loved one, give them a regular call instead of a video call or another stream of text messages. Talking on the phone will give your peepers a much-needed screen break, but you’ll still get to connect with your loved one by hearing their voice. Also, speaking over the phone can nurture your relationship far better when you’re apart than even a 100 text messages ever could.

  5. Read a chapter instead

    Whenever you have the urge to watch another episode on Netflix or scroll mindlessly through Instagram, pick up a book instead. If reading isn’t doing it for you, try listening to a podcast or audiobook. It can entertain as well as a movie can, and your mind gets to be in charge of the visuals! Best of all, it allows you to multitask, so you can cook or garden while you listen. Try platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Audible and Scribd for interesting podcast and audiobook options.