These days, it’s hard to find someone that is not tethered to their cell phones or some type of technology.
Whether it is social media, texting or checking our work email while we’re out of the office, we feel like if we put the phone down and step away we are going to miss something.
In actuality, we are missing things because we don’t put the phone down.
I don’t know whether there are any proven health benefits from unplugging. I imagine what you choose to do instead of staying glued to the phone would make all the difference. This is what I have found since reducing my own screen time a month ago.
I am not extremely active on social media, but step one was to delete the Facebook app from my phone. At first, I would pick up my phone as habit to check my news feed but, after realizing I now had to actually log on to see it, it wasn’t really worth the effort. After the first week, according to my phone, my screen time was reduced by 30 percent. That was eye-opening and as a busy working mom, I wondered how I could get even more of my time back.
I have since made a conscious effort to look at my phone less often. I decided I don’t really need to have it with me at all times. I keep it in another room while watching TV, leave it at home while I go shopping and don’t take it on outings with my kids like the beach or park. It is even OK not to check my work email every few minutes.
Surprisingly, I am not missing anything. In fact, I feel more connected to the people around me and experiences are more enjoyable because I am not distracted.
Some studies have shown screen time before bed can hinder your ability to have a good night’s rest. For me, that is true. Bedtime was the only free time I had to look at Facebook. Instead, I’m using that time to read. Since I’ve stopped scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed before bed, I have been sleeping better. I fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier, which gives me time to get things done before the rest of the household has even climbed out of bed. That’s a win for me.
I still like to feel connected to the friends and family I don’t see or speak to often, so I haven’t given up Facebook entirely. But simply deleting the app has made me less likely to abuse it. Consider the time you spend away from your phone as a mini-vacation and use that time to reconnect with those around you, or do something you enjoy.
Angela Fulgieri is the Wellness Experience Director at the Plant City YMCA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.