We’ve all done it: we open social media for a “quick check” and look up to find that an hour has passed. How did that happen?! Adults spend an overwhelming majority of their waking hours in front of a screen. While some of that screen time is necessary for work, it’s hard to keep ourselves from continually being sucked into a digital wormhole.
If you’re ready to improve your relationship with screen time (and in turn, your mental health), read on for a few tips and guidelines on creating healthy boundaries around your digital devices at home.
What’s a Healthy Amount of Screen Time for Adults?
According to Scripps, most adults spend an average of 11 hours per day looking at a screen. That’s nearly half of their entire day! While it’s no secret that an overload of screen time can be tough on our mental health, what exactly constitutes a healthy amount of screen time for adults? The Mayo Clinic Health System says that two hours per day is the recommended maximum for teens and adults.
As more workers telecommute, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of our screen time. Try a few practical techniques to stop scrolling social media, and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of keeping your tech in check.
How to Stop Scrolling Social Media and Live in the Moment
1. Use a screen time tracking app.
Yes, endless digital distractions exist these days. But do you know what else exists? Tons of tools to help us minimize those distractions! If you have a smartphone, don’t let that Screen Time (iOS) or App Dashboard (Android) built-in app go unused! Apps like these (and others, like Moment) allow you to set time limits for daily use of certain apps, and they’ll send you a warning when you’re about to hit your limit. Plus, they’ll help you account for how and where you’re spending your screen time and may give you the push you need to take action on limiting your social media consumption and improving your mental health.
2. Try habit changes in short spurts to start.
New habits are already challenging to start. And since our devices affect so many aspects of our lives, new technology habits can be the toughest. Rather than trying to go “cold turkey” and quit using your phone for long periods, ease into things! Choose a time frame each day (like the first hour after waking up, or the last two hours before you go to bed) that you won’t use your phone. You can then gradually increase the time you step away from your devices until you’ve limited your screen time to a duration that supports your personal mental health goals.
Here’s a hint: those handy apps mentioned above? They’ll also let you set “blackout” times for those periods when you’d like to step away from the phone.
3. Practice device mindfulness.
No, we’re not talking about meditation (though, that’s a great way to boost your mental health too!). We’re talking about being aware of why, when, and how you overuse your phone or other devices. Screen time tracking apps can help with the when and how, but what about the why? When you find yourself scrolling mindlessly, pause, and ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I procrastinating right now?
- Am I avoiding a person, a task, or an emotion?
- Am I actually getting significant benefits from being on my device at this moment, or did I pick it up because I’m bored?
We know that will take some practice. And yes, it takes some deep digging into your mind! But if you’re going to learn how to stop scrolling social media and the web, it’s essential to know why you habitually start scrolling in the first place.
4. Schedule intentional time to connect with people (in person, if possible).
Real talk: our phones can serve as the adult version of a baby’s pacifier when we feel lonely, sad, or bored. Instead of using your device as a numbing agent, why not address the root of the problem? Taking time to connect with other humans face to face can help you stay present. Schedule a regular couch hangout for your family — make it official by putting it on the calendar! Get cozy on our Marley Sofa, a soft cloud of blue velvet, or sprawl out on the Corbett Sectional Sofa and spend time with the ones you love most.
Put everyone’s phone in another room, and enjoy one another’s company. You might realize that you feel far better — both mentally and physically — after half an hour spent with loved ones than you do after several hours of scrolling. You’ve now replaced an unhealthy habit with a healthy one, and you’re on track to retraining your mind to reach for enriching human connection rather than a temporary digital fix.
Even if you can’t connect in person, turn off all your device notifications (which is a great thing to do all the time to minimize screen time, by the way!) and set up a video chat. As soon as you hang up, close your computer or put your device on your desk, and walk away for a few minutes to keep yourself from getting sucked in again.
Boost Your Mental Health with a Comfortable Place to Unplug
When it’s time to step away from your screen after a long day, you need a comfy spot to land! Create a living space that invites you to unwind and enjoy some relaxing downtime. With student and relocation packages from CORT Furniture Rental, you can rent an entire home’s worth of furniture and create your ultimate haven in a snap. Isn’t it time you stopped scrolling and started living comfortably?