You Need a Break from Your Phone
By Caitlyn VanWagner, LCSW, CCFP, Assistant Director of Program Operations at CASTLE Camden
We're just going to say it: you're on your phone too much. On average, most people spend about 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day. And if that statistic wasn't outrageous enough, one study showed that millennials check their phone up to 150 times a day.
We get that you need your phone for work, emergencies, and staying connected to friends and family. But there's no denying that our obsession with cell phones could be impacting our mental health.
In a study by Northwestern University, researchers found that the more time people spend on their phones, the likelier they are to be depressed.
So, in an effort to get in a better headspace, here are some simple ways you can snap out of your smartphone dependence.
Allow phone notifications? Nope.
If you’ll run through traffic the moment your phone springs to life with a notification, it might be time for a change. Try turning off your notifications, outside of phone calls and texts – it’s a simple fix to reduce phone usage.
If you're on your phone first thing in the morning and right before bed, you should consider charging it outside of the bedroom. This will help you sleep more soundly and wake up more peacefully.
Leave home without it
The next time you’re on a family outing or get-together with your partner or significant other, one of you should leave your phone at home. For starters, it's incredibly liberating, and you'll be more present and in the moment. Plus, you'll have a phone on hand in case you need it for emergencies.
Start keeping track of how many times a day you look at your phone. Or better yet, try setting a goal of staying off your phone for an extra 10 minutes every day this week and track that. The more “checks” you can give yourself for accomplishing your goal will only motivate you to go further.
Timing is everything
Each day, set out a time where you put your phone away. That means no texting, no calls, no emails, no social media, nothing. Take that time to read a book, go for a walk, explore a hobby, hang with the fam, watch a show — anything that allows you to live in the moment and get away from your screen.
At the end of the day, we spend a lot of time buried in our phones. And sure, they were essential to keeping us connected with our friends and family when we needed it most over the past two years, but as we as we move deeper into a new year and try to keep up with those New Year’s Resolutions— there's never been a better time to cut down on screen time and become your happiest self.
Updated February 17, 2022