[Image description: Bird's-eye view of man on his computer]
The combination of spending more time at home during COVID-19 and seasonal changes may understandably lead you to lean more heavily on your electronic devices for entertainment, school, and work. While screens can be an excellent (and necessary) tool for completing tasks, staying connected with loved ones, and getting lost in a movie or show, some research indicates negative side effects of overusing screens. This doesn’t necessarily mean screens are “bad,” but it is important to be aware of your own screen time and how it makes you feel.
As you mull over some of these tips and suggestions, remember that they aren’t hard-set rules — there’s no “right” or “wrong” approach. Instead, you might take note of the options that resonate with you and go from there. The goal is to feel as healthy and rejuvenated as possible, and how you accomplish that will likely vary significantly based on the day, your mood, and more.
Screen time considerations
- Set limits for yourself. It can be easy to lose track of time when you are delving deep into work, social media, or your favorite TV show. Before you start your day, think about how many hours of screen time feels necessary and healthy for you personally and try to stick to it. Some devices can also automatically track or limit screen time, which may be helpful if you’re unsure of how much time you’re spending on screens.
- Take breaks. You can set an alarm or timer to remind yourself to take a break. Not only will this help your body and mind, it is also a great opportunity to spend time off-screen with family and friends.
- Keep moving. Whether this means standing up and stretching in between online meetings or going for long walks outside, see if you can give yourself several breaks from sitting and staring at a screen. Staying physically active can help you land in the present moment and recharge for the rest of your day and the next chunk of screen time.
- Be mindful. Paying attention to how you feel while using your devices, particularly when you are on social media, can be a helpful way to guide future use. Notice which accounts, apps, and tasks make you feel nourished versus drained. Even though there are some things we can’t avoid, such as responding to work emails, try to mindfully incorporate more of the uplifting content and activities into your everyday screen time.
- Find support. If you are having trouble identifying which screen time habits make the most sense for you or need support finding a healthy balance, you can speak with a therapist on Amwell!