This is a little ironic, because you’re looking at a screen right now, reading this blog telling you to get off the screen.
Set a timer, read this post and then put your phone in a drawer.
Besides being our main form of communication, our phones have morphed into a one-stop shop for everything you could possibly need. We can text our friends in multiple group chats, listen to music, watch movie trailers, talk to our favorite celebrities on social media, check rising COVID-19 numbers in our area, read our cousin’s concerning opinions, and see every single thing happening in the entire world all at once, from one device. Some of us work on our phones and most of us use it as our main source of information.
It’s no surprise phone usage shot up during the pandemic, when we were isolated at home looking for both social connection and updates on whatever was going on.
With the information overload we received from these devices from texts and news updates to a new comment on your Instagram photo — we need frequent and productive breaks. Whether you fear you have a phone addiction or just need to remove your phone from your hand, it’s not impossible.
Turn off notifications
When your phone makes a noise, we usually drop everything we’re doing to see what it is; I’ve even been victim to “phantom vibrations.” Put away the temptation by turning your phone to airplane mode while you’re working or moments when your phone will easily pull your concentration away.
Delete apps you don’t use
I recently did this and I still don’t regularly use almost half the apps I have. In a Marie Kondo-like manor, get rid of anything on your phone that doesn’t serve a purpose.
It is especially easy lately to get lost in your Twitter or Facebook timeline: scrolling through arguments between two strangers or the addiction of reading through heartbreaking news stories from all around the world.
Unfortunately, our brains are built to seek these things out. “We are all hardwired to see the negative and be drawn to the negative because it can harm us physically,” Ken Yeager, PhD, a psychiatrist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells health.com in a breakdown of the doom scroll.
When you feel yourself slipping, recognize what’s happening. From there, “take a beat and think about how you feel after you do this. Does it make you feel better and more empowered to have this knowledge, or do you end up feeling even more anxious and hopeless?,” Dr. Yeager suggested. Put your phone down and walk away.
Rethink and reset
When you reach for your phone, identify the reason why. Do you need to answer a text message or are you bored? Understanding the reason you’re turning to your phone may to stop you from an hours-long scroll.
All of this is easier said than done — the world we live in can sometimes make it feel impossible to log off. Frequent and productive social media and screen breaks can make it easier to release our grip on our phones and the constant information overload we subject ourselves to.