It’s 6:15 a.m. and I roll over to turn my alarm off. As I squint at the screen I’m reading yet another text notification from our mobile service provider saying that we are inching closer and closer to additional charges for overage data. Ugh. If I get another fee for using too much data I might scream. There’s no humanly possible way I spend that much time glued to my phone. Or do I?
If I were to guess how many hours I am using my phone, I’d say around 3 hours total a day….but my data usage is telling me something different.
In a recent Nielsen report, the average American spends over 10 hours a day consuming media. Whoa! Hold the phone. This stat is staggering. Am I right?
Ok, let’s replay a typical day. Wake up- check phone. Sitting in traffic on your way to work – check phone. Get to work – check phone. Lunch break – check phone. Sitting in traffic on your way home from work – check phone. Get home after a long day and commute – check phone. Downtime after dinner – check phone. Before you go to bed – check phone. Whew! That doesn’t even include our Netflix and chill time. That stresses me out just thinking about it.
There’s a sense of connection and inclusion when we are plugged-in. In today’s world, we never want to miss a thing. Being in the know with our families, friends and what’s happening in our communities and the world around us is how we thrive these days. Not to mention, we are always looking for the world’s approval on our latest IG or Facebook post. This causes our minds to feel stressed out, leading to other health related issues.
Studies show that many stress-related feelings and effects come from using technology 24/7. Whether that be our mobile phones, tablets or computers.
According to the APA, “We’re way too plugged in, way too often. The people who reported the highest stress levels were employed Americans who constantly checked their phones even on their days off. Their average stress rated a 6 out of 10.” Yikes!
Long story short, our screen time is out of control.
I’ll admit it. I’m totally on this boat. I spend WAY too much time in a day with my eyes and hands glued to my phone. But let’s face it, our lives are so connected via social technology that it’s hard to back away. It’s become a bad habit that we all need to consider kicking it in order to lower our stress levels a bit and live in the moment. But, how do we get rid of a habit when it’s so ingrained in our lifestyle?
Here are a few tips to help us create habits for a more stress-free life.
Turn off all social notifications
Talk about getting sucked into every little social detail happening in a day. Someone would like my photo on IG and my phone would notify me. A little obsessive if you ask me. So, one day I decided to turn off all my social notifications so that I can be mindful about checking those platforms during dedicated times only. Try it for yourself!
Opt for airplane mode
Think about turning your phone on airplane mode for just 1-2 hours a day to unplug. This will allow you to find your focus and do something more meaningful with your time. I like to use this time to workout, have coffee with a friend or do something crafty!
Download a mobile usage app
There are a few apps out there that help us manage our screen time while also educating us about how we are spending our time. The app that I’ve most recently started using and an IG friend recommended is called Moment – Screen Time Tracker. It helps you identify not only how much you are using your phone, but what apps are being used the most. You can also set daily limits for screen time and this app will notify you if you need to put the phone down for the day.
Do you have other ideas on how to break our screen time habits in order to live a more stress-free life? Put them in the comments below.