How to reduce stress by cutting back on screen-time
Screens are part of everyday life now, whether we like it or not. And mostly, we like it.
My husband and son went to stay with his father for a couple of nights this week. I received a late-night message:
‘Dad’s stopped paying the bill, so there’s no wifi.’
He wasn’t happy but it wasn’t the end of the world; he still had his phone and a 4G connection.
My daughter’s phone battery life is limited so until she can afford a new phone she goes everywhere with an additional battery pack.
I take my phone to the park so I can take photos of my dog walk.
Does this sound familiar?
All of this is normal and life is so much better for being connected.
Screens are a mixed blessing
Screens bring us productivity, creativity, and convenience. Those things are good, right?
They also bring us distraction, disconnection, and stress.
Notifications can cause stress that makes your body feel you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode. That floods your system with cortisol which helps you think and move more quickly.
That’s ok in the short-term but when it’s happening all day every day, it’s really not great and tends to show up in our sleep, hormones, skin and even our immunity.
Is screen stress affecting your sleep?
When people come for their first homeopathy consultation with me we talk about all aspects of their health and lifestyle, which always includes sleep.
Many people tell me they have problems with their sleep, either going to sleep or staying asleep.
Homeopathy and herbs are effective natural treatments for insomnia and I have lots of people say they’re sleeping better and have more energy to be productive.
If you have trouble staying asleep, a practical suggestion is to get an alarm clock and to charge your phone in a different room. I have other suggestions about sleep routines, but this is the main one.
The first and last thing you touch every day should not be your phone.
Small changes make a big difference
I pick up my phone during the day more often than I would like, but I also realise that I have some reasonable phone and screen habits.
I work a lot online and I wouldn’t be without my iPhone or my laptop. I used to enjoy Facebook but I closed my account in 2018, and I regularly remove the Instagram app from my phone.
I aim to spend as much time as possible unplugged each day.
How to keep your tech under control
Notifications turned off
The only notifications on my phone are calendar notifications for consultations as I need them to keep me on track. All my other notifications, buttons or banners are off. That means I don’t have messages from email or Instagram. What notifications could you live without?
Sounds turned off
My phone is always on silent unless I am expecting a call. It doesn’t vibrate either. I sometimes miss calls, but I’m always happy to call back. What sounds can you turn off?
No notifications on your computer screen
Nothing floats across my screen except calendar notifications, and I have all the sounds turned off too. Would that be helpful for your focus when you’re working?
F.lux installed on your computer
F.lux is a free app that you can download from the internet. It filters blue light which is over-stimulating and confuses our natural bio-rhythms. This is so good. If you have to use your computer in the evening, install this now!
Charger outside the bedroom
I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. My new habit is to turn it onto flight mode from 9pm. I forget sometimes but I want my evenings to be more free for music, reading, sewing or conversation, so that’s what I’m aiming for. Could you charge your phone overnight outside your bedroom?
Life is never going to be screen-free but I’m doing as much as I can to keep them in check.
Are you having problems with getting to sleep or staying asleep?
If you’re curious to find out more about how homeopathy could help, feel free to book a free call.