Everywhere I look it seems like all us kids do anymore is just sit around on our phones or computers. Like I’ll go hang out with friends and we’ll just end up sitting around in a circle all in our own little cyberspace worlds! How absurd is that?
What ever happened to talking in person, and playing outside, and writing notes in class? I miss those good old days. (A.k.a. elementary school.)
Ever since I was forced to take a month long break from social media back when I was writing for my high school newspaper, I’ve been a humongous advocate for tech breaks. I even gave a speech about it in my Intro to Communication class in the fall and took a month long break on my own accord back in March.
I was able to convince everyone in my Comm class that using screens less often is important, so let’s see if I can convince you too. Here are my top seven reasons why you should consider taking a break from your smartphone/social media:
It gives your eyes a break
You know how your eyes start to ache or burn after staring at a screen for like two hours or more? Why do we continue to put our bodies through such torture? When your eyes start to hurt is a great signal that you should put your phone down, close the laptop and do something that doesn’t involve a screen.
Nothing can replace talking in person
One of the biggest reasons I’m on my phone so much is because I’m talking to my friends. Whether it’s through text, Snapchat or video chat, none of it beats actually talking in person. I do have to say though, I’m a much bigger fan of Snapchat and video chat than texting because I like being able to see and/or actually hear the person I’m talking to.
Talking through text is so indirect and I am just not a fan.
Helps ease the pressure to be perfect
Let’s get real for a second. How many times have you been watching a YouTube video, or scrolling through Instagram or browsing through Tumblr and felt jealous of the person depicted? How many times have you seen an image of someone else that makes you feel lesser or not good enough?
It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.
In today’s world, it feels like we’re all expected to always take the hardest classes, work as many hours as possible, take the coolest photos, have the perfect outfit, hair or makeup and just be perfect in general. So give yourself a break from the pressure. Plus, not looking at your Instagram feed as often will help you realize how awesome you already are. Just remember, don’t compare yourself to others because people put their highlight reels online, not their breakdowns and lonely nights.
Related: Learning to Love Yourself
Makes it easier to fall asleep
You’ve probably already heard this, but I’m going to say it again just to reiterate how important it really is. The screens from our phones and computers use blue light, and staring at this blue light keeps our brain from secreting melatonin; the hormone that makes you sleepy. Because your brain won’t secrete melatonin, now you will no longer be tired so you’ll just end up staying on your phone ever longer.
Which means less sleep, and that is never fun. Especially not if you have to work or go to class in the morning. Basically laying in bed on your phone is not a smart idea because it’s just a never ending slippery slope that keeps you up at night and tired all day long.
Allows you to slow down
Everything these days moves so fast. Our cars, our thoughts, our text messages. We’re pressured into being busy 24/7 and doing nothing for more than 15 minutes is frowned upon. Let’s face it, we’re a work, move, work, move society, and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and enjoy some peace you know? If you ever feel overwhelmed or like your life is about to fall to pieces, put your phone down and take a few moments to just breathe and to hear your own thoughts. I mean how are we supposed to hear our own inner thoughts, needs, and desires if all day long we’re just taking in everyone else’s?
Can make you more productive
Phones and the internet are literally the most distracting thing ever. I can never bring my laptop with me to class because somehow I end up online shopping and browsing plane tickets. So obviously I leave class with no idea what happened. Not good. Learn from my mistakes and keep distractions at bay.
While you’re doing your homework, keep your phone on the other side of the room, or off, or at least in do not disturb mode. When in class, just turn your phone off. Trust me. I know it sounds dumb, and turning off your phone seems like the end of the world, but it’s the only way I can pay attention in class because my attention span is awful.
Plus, it’s been proven that people who multitask, or get on social media while doing school work, get 20% lower grades than people who don’t. That’s a two letter grade difference.
You get real you time
I’m a big proponent of you time. I mean how else am I supposed to relax, unwind and learn my inner self? But I’ve found that it can be difficult when I have any form of the internet lying around me. It’s like my brain doesn’t want me to relax or sort through my thoughts, and would rather take in what someone else thinks.
Powering down electronics really helps me feel more alone. I’m so used to talking to people on my phone that sometimes I feel like my phone is a person on its own. (That may also have something to do with Siri though.)
Related: I Don’t Feel like Myself Anymore
Now, this all sounds great in theory, and while these are some pretty convincing reasons if I do say so myself, I know it takes more than thought to start something. You have to take action. Separating yourself from your phone or laptop or tablet can seem scary (how sad is that?), but you don’t have to go cold-turkey or anything.
Here are a few small actions you can take to get yourself into less of a tech driven lifestyle:
- Have a tech-free Tuesday – I learned about this through my favorite radio station and think it’s a super cool tradition to start.
- Stay off your phone until you eat breakfast – I like to do this because it keeps my mind clear and focused and not running a thousand miles a minute.
- If you use Snapchat, don’t look at anyone’s story – Just send snaps, and don’t look at anyone else’s because that’s what’ll bring up the FOMO and jealousy.
- Post what you need to, but don’t scroll through your feed – Same as the last one, looking at other people’s pictures and statuses is only going to bring you down.
- Delete the social media apps off your phone – That way to get onto them you have to go through the trouble of re-downloading them and logging back in. This is how I stayed off them the first time I went social media free.
- Turn your phone over – This really helps me. If I leave the screen facing up then I imagine seeing a notification pop up and then somehow end up staring at my phone for too long.
- Give yourself a time limit to be on it or a time of the day to stay off of it – I recommend staying off of it until after eating breakfast and an hour before bed.
- Don’t bring your phone into restaurants – You’re there for more than just the food, you’re there to be social. Like in person. Not online. So just leave your phone in the car or play the no phone game where the first person to pick up their phone has to pay for everyone’s food. Now that’s an incentive.
To see the rest of the posts in my Best Summer Ever Series, click here!
So, did I convince you?