Every now and then, taking a break can do wonders for your mental health. If you’re picking up your phone every time you are bored, have a break, or it even distracts you when you are trying to do other tasks, you may benefit from a break occasionally. Try it. Go a week with out social media to start. Some people even have weekends without their phones or without social media (I know, you might be hyperventilating, but hear me out). Studies show that too much time on social media can negatively impact your mental health. Replace that time with family time, hanging out with friends, something productive, or relaxing like reading a book or spending more time outdoors.
2. Take the long way home or switch up your after work routine.
Take a long stroll or drive home and listen to music, an audio book, or a podcast that boosts your mood instead of scrolling through social media. Give yourself a moment to decompress from work, relax, and reflect. Listen to something that will make you laugh, smile, or inspire you. It can help you feel less stressed and/or overwhelmed. Sure, you’re still depending on your phone somewhat but you’re using it in a different way that’s beneficial to your mental health.
3. Depend on your phone less.
Our phones have replaced so much like watches, calculators, and even our computers. I remember when I use to have to sign into my e-mail on my computer or laptop and couldn’t check e-mails on my cellphone. Although my phone has made a lot of things easier, it also keeps me connected at all times. Trying to depend on your phone less may sound insane, but having so many tools on our phones can kind of suck us in to the Twilight Zone. We’re always on it because we have everything on it! Try taking a camera with you while on vacation for example instead of just using your phone so that you are fully in the moment of trying to capture shots instead of taking pictures and then instantly ending up on social media. Another tip, perhaps don’t have your e-mail set up on your phone unless it’s absolutely necessary so that you are only checking your e-mail when you want/need to.
4. Use the “Do Not Disturb” function.
If you aren’t familiar with this, get it together. This function is a game-changer. Whenever you are busy, resting, or spending time with your family, use the Do Not Disturb Function. I have an iPhone and this option will silence text messages and phone calls while it’s in use. I can customize it to block everyone or to allow certain people to contact me. This has helped so much because while I was out with my wife and daughter, my phone would constantly interrupt us. I don’t need to be available at all times. I always tell people “I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or cop and there isn’t anything I can do for anyone at 3AM or when I’m out with my family. Sorry, not sorry.”
5. Set a time limit.
Most phones have options or settings that allow you to view how much time you are actually spending on social media or any app in general. Some social media accounts also reveal how much time you are spending on their app as well. At one point I was spending over two hours on social media, and this realization made me decide to pull back on social media. Aim to lower the amount of time you spend on apps by cutting your time in half.
6. Spend more time outdoors.
Ever since I started running, I have felt more energized and happier especially since I do most of my running outdoors. Getting fresh air, sunlight, and just being outdoors in general is amazing for your mental health and your physical health as well. Look around. Take it all in. Put your phone down and take a hike, run, or go for a walk.
7. Actually “take a break” on your lunch break.
A lot of us work through our lunch breaks or spend our lunch breaks catching up on social media. That doesn’t seem like a break to me. Getting some fresh air during your break or getting up and moving around can have positive effects on your mood and health. It’s also nice to get out of your office or work space so you can feel refreshed.
8. Get a new hobby or learn a new skill.
When I calculated how much time I was spending on social media, I decided to take that time to learn a new skill instead. Instead of spending two hours on social media, I try to spend an hour or two reading or working on a new skill. This has opened up my mind to new career possibilities and I feel more productive than I ever had when I was scrolling on social media.
9. Spend some time with yourself.
When my daughter was born, I rarely had any time alone. My wife and I struggled with not doing all the things we did before becoming parents. Having alone time is so important especially. Eventually my wife decided to take some time for herself and to get out of the house and to see a movie, something we did so much before parenthood. I decided to do the same. Watching a movie uninterrupted was heaven and I didn’t realize how much I needed it. Also, don’t tell her, having a big bag of popcorn and a blue slushy all to myself was amazing.
10. Set monthly goals.
Set aside time to write down your goals for the month. Writing things down works wonders for me. Set a budget, schedule, and the things you hope to accomplish. Sitting down and writing things out can help you stay on track with your goals and with tasks. Lists can help you stay organized and accountable. Getting off of your phone to do this also helps you to not get distracted. In you monthly goals, make sure you are setting up social media breaks, more time outdoors, exercise, and your new hobby. Write down books you want to read, places you want to to go, and other ways you can be less “connected” to your phone. Utilize the time you would normally spend on social media accomplishing things you have been holding off on for too long.
11. Follow less accounts.
My last tip, is to be more selective about the people or companies you follow on social media. Following less accounts can help you declutter your feed and in turn you are more likely to use social media less or more productively.
I hope these tips are helpful. What other small ways can people disconnect from their phones more? Let us know!