Mental Health

Seven Tips to Help Adults Reduce Screen Time

According to the market research company Nielsen, the average adult spends between nine and 12 hours per day in front of a screen. There are benefits to using screens – for example, connecting with loved ones or learning activities. But too much screen time can lead to physical and emotional health issues ranging from obesity and cardiovascular disease to depression, anxiety, eye strain and disrupted sleep.

Almost everyone can benefit from reducing their screen time. Follow these tips to get back on track.

  1. Track your screen time
    Start with establishing a baseline for how much time you spend with your screens. Some devices have a built-in screen time monitor but you can also use a tracking app that gives you a weekly and monthly report for how much you use your screens.
  2. Schedule breaks
    Taking time away from your screens is good for your mental and physical health. Plus, it gives your eyes a break. Try following the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, look away for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away. You might also aim to take a quick walk or stretch break every hour.
  3. Take time to reflect
    Use a journal or set aside time for daily reflection. You might realize the time you spend using screens is taking away from important parts of your life like daily responsibilities, time with loved ones or work productivity. If you find screen time is getting in the way of things that are important to you, it’s time to rethink your priorities.
  4. Take a break from social media
    This might mean taking a break from all types of social media or taking a break from a specific type of social media. Think about the content you consume and how it affects you. People often present a sanitized version of their lives on social media, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and anxiety about your own life. Taking a break from it gives you time to reset and rethink how you want to use social media.
  5. Keep screens out of the bedroom
    Anything that interferes with your sleep has a negative effect on your physical and emotional health. Sleep is a time to rest your body and mind. Keeping your screens out of the bedroom removes the possibility of picking up your phone when you should be sleeping. If you need to keep your screens in your bedroom, try setting a ‘do not disturb’ on them during certain hours and turn off notifications except for emergencies.
  6. Don’t eat in front of a screen
    Multitasking can lead to “mindless” eating. That’s why it’s a good idea to step away from your screens when you eat a meal. Focus on the food you’re eating and appreciate the flavors. This helps you feel more satisfied with your meal and helps you avoid overeating.
  7. Schedule time for non-screen activities
    Time can go by fast when you get caught in the social media scrolling rabbit hole. It makes it even more important to be deliberate about finding activities that aren’t online. Get outside and take a walk or ride a bike. You might also try scheduling an in-person coffee date with a friend or sharing a meal with a loved one. Be deliberate and schedule it so you make sure it happens.

Improve your health with Linden Oaks Behavioral Health

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health provides services that can help people who are struggling with mental health conditions, including addiction, depression, anxiety and much more. To learn more, visit us online or call 630-305-5027.