Screen time. It is this big thing right now. This is likely because all most of us do is stare at a screen everyday, all day. With the increased number of people working from home, the lack of social interaction and ability to see people in person, combined with having nowhere to go, most of our days have turned into staring at a screen in some capacity.
Zoom, Microsoft teams or Google meets have all become a natural and normal part of everyday life. It is the crutch that keeps businesses running and teams together and it has become a common way to see family and friends we are unable to visit right now. We work on our computers, talk and connect with our colleagues all on a screen through out the day, just to turn around to another screen to relax or socialize. I haven’t even mentioned the incessant scrolling of social media we all do when the day is over and we can finally “relax”! I’m sure that is something most of us can relate to.
The sheer volume of screen time in life struck me a few months ago as I was doing my nightly scroll through Instagram and it hit me, I am sick of just staring at a screen! It feels like I have watched all the movies on every platform imaginable, social media is just a repetitive reminder of everything going on in the world or the idea that everyone has their lives together when in actuality they do not. I felt tired and really done with constant screen time. So, I started to think of ways to limit the screen in my face and find other things to do.
I wanted the balance of relaxing and decompressing but I did not want to just turn to another device after working on zoom all day. I started to read, I committed to a book a month and I started to walk for 15-20 minutes outside to disconnect from my computer. I know myself, and I wasn’t going to turn this down time into something overly productive and that is not what I was looking for.
Reading has really helped me this year. I am on my 6th book since January, which if you know me, is more books than I have read combined in the last 15 years! I am exercising daily and allowing myself time to break from the screen. These are not earth-shattering ideas and some that I am sure most people already do. I have found the shift from screen to books or being outside has given me a new sense of balance and calmness that I very much need right now.
I think it is healthy to re-examine our daily habits and check in and ask, “how does this serve me?”. We need to be honest with ourselves that removing or changing things in our daily lives (even if it seems small) can make a huge difference. Now, more than ever when we are stuck at home and the days seem the same and time just keeps passing…I believe it is important to find a routine that works for you, a balance of different activities (board games, try new recipes, hobbies, knitting, movies/tv, books) and ways in which we can find a healthy mind frame. Screen time serves its purpose, but too much of it can’t be good for anyone. I hope just reading this, has caused reflection on how much we are looking at a screen our day and how much of this is positive and add to our lives. I encourage you to find different outlets, different ways to relax and decompress and when it is possible, remove yourself from your screen!