By Lonnie Ridgeway, VOA Alaska Prevention Coalition Director
If you’re anything like me, there is part of you that knows you need to put down your electronic device and be more present with your family, at work, or in your surroundings. Here are 5 things you do can right now to reduce your screen time and be more present in your life.
1. Don’t sleep in the same room as your cellphone.
Guess what? You don’t have to use your cellphone’s alarm to wake up in the morning. You can buy a digital clock or use a smart watch. If you must use your cellphone’s alarm or live alone and don’t mind disturbing others, set your cellphone alarm noise settings to “loud” and place the phone in a different room.
2. Designate an area of your home to be electronic free.
Try this! Make an area of your home electronic free. This could be a room, a coffee table, a couch, or whatever makes sense in your home. Electronic free means no cellphones, tablets, computers, smart watches, or any other electronic device. Hopefully, this will encourage conversations, connections, or other activities that do not involve electronics. If you live alone, designate this space as a reading space.
3. Go for walks without your phone.
In today’s world, it seems like we are always connected to an electronic device. If we aren’t talking on the phone, we are texting. If not texting, then scrolling social media. If not scrolling social media, then watching videos. If not watching videos, then listening to music or a podcast. Challenge yourself to be present in the moment.
4. Complete a one month social media fast.
How much of your electronic time is spent scrolling social media or browsing videos? Imagine how much extra time you’d have if you did a complete social media fast for thirty days? How much would your phone use drop?
5. Fill up the calendar.
Do you ever find yourself walking through your kitchen and peeking in your fridge even though you’re not hungry? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people do this out of boredom, just like how people find themselves thumbing through apps on their phone. Here’s a cure to boredom: schedule your day out! Throw your showers, reading, sleeping, driving, and exercising on the calendar and trick yourself into always thinking about the next task you must complete. You won’t feel bored for long.
Maintaining a healthy mind and lifestyle is a preventative effort. When you make mental health and wellness a priority you build confidence in yourself through establishing healthy habits. Healthy habits are foundational for success. Let’s make our health a priority and success a normality!
VOA Alaska’s Public Health and Prevention Programs are on the front line of prevention, working to strengthen and promote healthy communities. We conduct regular drug information classes for youth and adults; create public public education campaigns to encourage healthy behaviors and prevention; distribute tobacco quit-kits, drug disposal bags, and other prevention resources; and lead a coalition of stakeholders to produce efforts to address substance misuse.