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Live well: Scale Back on Screens

July 21, 2023


If you cringe when your weekly screen time report pops up on your phone, you’re not alone. Many of us spend more time than we should looking at screens—from smartphones to computers to TVs.

Unfortunately, time spent looking at a screen usually means time not spent enjoying nature, being active, and connecting with family and friends. Excess screen time also comes with health risks. It can get in the way of a good night’s sleep, cause vision problems, and contribute to mental health issues like depression.

If you’re looking for a way to step away from screens, try these tactics:

  • Track your screen time. Keeping track of how much time you spend looking at a screen will help you decide how much screen time to cut—and help you track your progress.
  • Turn off all but critical notifications. Do you really need to know immediately when someone likes a social media post? App notifications are intended to get us to use the app more, so turn off all but true must-see alerts.
  • Delete time-sucking apps. If you find yourself spending more time than you would like on an app, try deleting it entirely. You can always download it again later if you decide it’s really necessary.
  • End all screen time well before bedtime. Screens emit blue light. This can suppress your body’s melatonin production, which can disrupt your sleep cycle. To prevent this, avoid extended screen time in the two hours before you want to sleep.
  • Put your phone on the other side of the room. This will help you prevent those “I-didn’t-even-know-I-wasdoing-it” phone pickups.
  • Plan face-to-face activities. If you’re interacting with people, you’re probably not looking at your phone.

Life is short

Our time here on Earth is very limited. Spend as much of your time as possible doing what truly brings you joy—not staring at a screen.