Globally, we are seeing a huge spike in digital usages during the current pandemic outbreak. With more time at home and being told we cannot visit friends or family, we are relying on digital ways to stay connected and entertained. In our normal day to day lives, we already find ourselves conscious by how much time we spend on screens. How do we still stay connected yet allow ourselves a break from the constant noise and distractions our screens can cause us?
Stay informed but with the facts
With the number of news alerts and articles on COVID-19, it can sometimes be hard to differentiate facts from opinion. It’s important to stay informed on the statistics and restrictions in place but remember to switch off too. These are stressful and uncertain times that can bring out anxiety when it’s all we hear or talk about. It’s okay to switch off the news and alert notifications so you can enjoy the positive aspects of life.
Be productive with your screen time
Use your phone or your laptop to take part in a fitness class, to Facetime your family & friends and stay connected or to download an audio book to listen to before you got to bed. These are important parts of our day that the physical and mental benefits of the exercise or connection outweighs the fact our phone helped us get there. Schedule these moments in your day and switch off afterwards.
Be mindful of screen usage
Information is key. Find the screen time setting on your phone and have a look at your daily average screen time. Where do you spend more of your time on your phone? How many times you pick it up? Are you surprised by this? Sometimes this information can be confronting and makes us realise the number of times we are on our phone due to boredom or just habit. Make a conscious effort to reduce the number of times you look on your phone unnecessarily to allow yourself to be more productive when on and off your screen. Check your results a week later and notice the change.
Phone Free Time
Once work is finished and you have caught up with friends and family put your phone in a different room, even if it’s just while you have dinner. When our phone is next to us, we naturally jump for every buzz or notification that pops up even when it’s not urgent which causes us to disengage from a conversation we are having or an opportunity to engage and play with our kids. Set a rule for the household that all digital devices are switched off or out of the room so that everyone is engaged and present.
Most phones now have a ‘do not disturb’ setting that you can put in place to be active from say, 8pm- 7am that will not alert you to notifications.
Change your settings at night
The blue light that our phones project is designed to keep our brains active and alert which can make it hard for us to wind down and have a productive nights sleep. There are some simple settings you can adjust on most phones that change the background light to a softer ‘night time’ mode. Similar to the ‘do not disturb’ you can automatically set your phone to change to the softer light from when you want to start going to bed. Try and switch off completely at least an hour before you want to go to sleep and switch out your phone time for reading a book or doing a meditation.