During these times while we’re in lockdown it can be really easy to fill a couple of hours with staring at screens. I know that I have done it a number of times in the last six weeks. Read on to know why I reduce my screen times and how you can?
According to Wikipedia, most adults spend up to 11 hours a day on some form of screen. Whether that be computer, phone, tablet or TV. That breaks done to 45.833333% of one 24 hour day. And lets say that you sleep for eight of those hours. That means that you spend over 68.75% of your day looking at screens. When I worked the maths out for this I honestly wondered what on earth people are doing to spend this much time on a screen!
Let’s break it down a little more
Starting with a day at work, in front of a computer. I work an eight and half hour day, for which I take 30 minutes for lunch. Obviously I don’t sit and stare at the screen all the time I am there. With making tea, talking to colleagues. As well as popping to the loo from the amount of tea I drink. However there is probably a good five maybe even more hours of screen time just from my day at work.
Then in the evening you go home and watch the TV. I usually don’t turn it on until I have had my dinner so probably around 7pm until 10pm. That’s another three hours. Shockingly I am already at eight hours before I have even looked at my phone or my tablet. Once I knew this I thought it was even more important that I reduce my screen time.
What effects does too much screen time have on me?
It’s funny as I was researching this I struggled to find information for the effects of too much screen time on adults. There is loads of information about how it can effect children. So here are how it effects me.
I recently visited the opticians, due to the fact I was finding I had dry and itchy eyes. That often felt fatigued, occasionally causing a headache and eyestrain. The optician explained that my eyesight was perfectly fine (no glasses required!). However that due to changing jobs and now spending more time looking at a screen, this was likely to be the cause of the problem.
I have also noticed that if I watch TV or videos on my phone while in bed I find it harder to go to sleep. As well as having a more restless nights sleep. I did some research on this and according to the Sleep Foundation this is due to the suppressing of the sleep induced hormone Melatonin.
I know that during the lockdown I have sat and stared at screens way more that I would like to admit to. All this did was make me more unproductive. There has been some studies on how screen time effects mental health. It would seem that they haven’t got any evidence as of yet (at least not that I could find) but I know that it certainly effects my mental health.
So how can you reduce your screen time?
Some things you can’t change. Like my work I need to use the computer for 85% of my job and therefore it would be near enough impossible to change my screen time while I am there. However do I need to watch the TV of an evening? The honest answer is no I don’t. I am not saying I won’t watch any TV at all but maybe I can limit this to an hour a day. This will also stop me from binge watching episode after episode.
Another really easy way to reduce screen time is by putting your phone down and not looking at it sometimes. Lot’s of people have a delusion that if they don’t check their social media every few hours they will miss something important. This is not true, I often decide that I am giving up social media for the next week or month. At the end of the month I haven’t missed anything as anything that is important my friends will have told me about anyway.
I listened to a podcast a little while ago, “Do we need a digital detox?” by deliciously Ella. In the podcasts she had some really good points including taking your phone to the toilet. I know that I used to do this all the time. This is just one way of cutting that screen time down. I also have an iphone, which has a setting which shows you how much screen time you are using and what it is on. This for me is really eye opening and I have now set limits on my phone about how long I can spend on things.
Screen time during lockdown
In some ways it is easier to reduce your screen time during lockdown. I have found two ways of reducing my screen time in lockdown. Firstly as I am furloughed I do not need to be looking at a computer screen for work for five or more hours a day. Evidently I have spent some of today using my laptop for writing this blog. As well as maybe an hour a day on my online course. Find out what course I am doing in my previous blog What does Covid-19 mean for me? This is still a reduction on my usual amount.
Another way I have found to reduce my screen time is looking at social media less. With everyone being in their own homes they shouldn’t have as much to show on their social media as they aren’t doing as much. This is especially true for all my travelling friends who currently aren’t travelling.
However I am finding I am using more screen time to be able to stay in touch with friends and family. This is really important at the moment with everyone in limbo land. So instead of worrying about this I have chosen to watch less TV to be able to speak to them.
Clearly I don’t want you to reduce your screen time and therefore not read my blog. But maybe after you have read this you will think twice. And maybe even prioritise reading this over watching TV or scrolling through social media for the umpteenth time. Don’t forget to subscribe below to never miss my latest blog. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to keep up with what I am doing.