Stop Living Life Behind a Screen—Here's How
Do you have some really simple advice for getting less screen time? I feel like I'm on my computer and the Internet all the time, and I need some practical tips to shake the addiction.
First of all, same. Sometimes it can feel like we spend our entire lives in front of one, two, even three screens. And you’d think being in front of a glowing rectangle for a little less time would be as simple as turning off your phone, but we all know that’s just not true. In 2017, it’s hard—maybe even impossible—to fully shut off. As one of our readers, Zoe, said, “ I'm having this same problem right now! I really try to live in the real world as much as I can but it's so difficult to disconnect!” So yeah, you’re not alone.
But props to you for even recognizing the problem in the first place. Lots of people don’t notice, and essentially waste their whole existences scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. Our advice? Start small. It might feel SO hard to shut off your computer or leave your phone at home for a whole day, but an hour or two? Nbd.
Drop it off in the other room and do something that doesn’t require a screen. Take a bath, walk your dog, practice an instrument, or just write in your journal. If you’re like us, you’ll find that really being in the moment (sans distractions) is actually pretty awesome. Take a tip from Emily, who suggested that, “As cliche as it sounds, go outside! Just go for a walk around the block. It clears your head and you get some fresh air, and it's a nice way to pass the time.” Another great option? Channel your inner artist. There's one hiding in there somewhere, we promise. “I’ve also taken up drawing and painting, which is really nice and creative,” she added. Then when you go back and check your phone, you’ll see that you probably didn’t miss much.
The next time you’re with friends, keep your phone in your purse or your pocket. You don’t have to go full Kendall Jenner and stack your smartphones until you’re done—although maybe not the worst idea tbh—but at least having it out of sight will keep it out of mind, too.
It also helps to leave your phone in another room when you go to sleep, or at the very least, don’t use it an hour or so before turning off the lights. Everyone’s guilty of scrolling through Snapchat stories in bed, but that bright light definitely doesn’t help your REM cycle. It also prevents us from truly being able to ~wind down~.
These small changes will give you a serious break from all that screen time, without having to do a total digital detox. And if you need a little help getting started, there’s (ironically!) some tech tools to help out. “I have this app called Checky,” said Amie. “It keeps track of how many times I check my phone everyday and it makes me want to check my phone less.”
This question came courtesy of one of the users on our shiny new forum, where hundreds of girls talk every day. Join the conversation and give (or get!) some advice.