The Iglu Guide | Blog

Why a digital break could be just what you need

Whether it’s connecting with friends, gaming, or catching up on the latest news, our screen time habits have been on the up and up since the pandemic began. From the minute we wake up, the temptation to scroll, view, double tap and swipe begins.

How do we know when it’s time to hit the digital reset button? It’s a personal choice with many variables, but we’ve done some research to get you started.

If you think you might need a screen time pause, keep reading.

Know your digital habits

Would you know what your average scrolling time is each day? Compared to the 5-hour national average, Gen Z spend up to 7 hours a day on a screen. Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected our time on-screen exponentially, and even as life slowly returns to normal those habits are proving hard to reel back in. And thanks to generous data allowances and growing tech capabilities, our devices now facilitate much of our lives from social, gaming and banking through to fitness, audio and news – which means we are more preoccupied than ever with our digital lives.

Find out your usage with Apple’s screen time function, or Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature, if it’s up there at the 7+ mark it might be time to recalibrate and take a digital break.

Why are screens so addictive?

The dopamine released in our brains as we scroll makes us feel great, but prolonged usage is just like binging on junk food. It feels so good in the moment, but the after slump is horrible. Social network platforms capitalise on these feelings and are specifically designed to find ways to keep you online. Our human instinct is to connect, explore and be part of a wider community, so they use techniques like notifications and alerts to make you feel loved and socially validated.

Socialising online allows us to present ourselves to the outside world in a curated form, that is a controlled version of reality. Whilst that can be hugely appealing, for millions of people it can also lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression – notwithstanding a huge waste of time.

What are the benefits of taking a break?

Taking steps to reduce your time spent online is a great way to restore good patterns of behaviour. You’ll also benefit from:

  • Better quality sleep – essential for storing knowledge and processing new information
  • Lower likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression
  • Living more in the moment rather than craving what you don’t have
  • More free time and fresh air
  • Increased physical activity levels
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Creative stimulation

Strategies to screen less

When it comes to switching off, we have to rely on our own sense of what feels right and what feels wrong. Avoiding screens altogether is probably an impossible task, and not necessarily the answer. But learning to manage our digital habits and regaining moderation and control is something that is entirely within reach for us all.

  • Switch off notifications: These are designed to draw you back in and keep you online for as long as possible. Take control of your app usage by deciding yourself when you want to engage.
  • Remove temptation: Make your home screen really boring, with favourite apps hard to get to. Anything that’s a single click away is way too close for comfort.
  • Focus on being productive: Use apps to block other apps. It might sound upside down, but if you want an uninterrupted study session and don’t quite trust yourself to stay offline, it’s the perfect solution.
  • Out of sight: Charge your device outside your bedroom at night. This completely removes the temptation and will help you resist jumping back online when you wake up.
  • Rework your schedule: Don’t let your phone be the first thing you pick up in the morning. Challenge yourself to leave it until the last moment.
  • Divert your attention: Seek alternative activities like reading, board games or physical activity.
  • Set up some tech boundaries: It’s time to parent yourself. Decide the parameters you want to set and stick to them. If it seems like too great a leap upfront, start slowly and build up. You’ll definitely notice the difference.

Photo by @courtneyrclayton on Unsplash

site by