As a business owner, I constantly obsess over missing something. My phone or computer is always close at hand to check messages, emails, social media and to take phone calls.
If I could pin-point one thing that causes the most stress in my life, it would be my constant need to check my screens.
In the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce ALL screen time. It has made a world of difference in my productivity, approach to life, and has reduced my stress ten-fold.
Science is proving that there is not only a psychological impact from overuse of technology, but a physical impact as well. Stress from screens dysregulates (disrupts the normal function of a regulatory mechanism) our mind and body. The lights and stimuli from screens stress our anatomy, and screen time causes repeated stress on the Central Nervous System. As a result, we can become angry, impulsive, isolated, aggressive and less empathetic. More and more Americans are becoming addicted to their screens, leading to serious mental health problems (Managing Stress Caused by Technology).
Here’s how you can easily reduce your screen time, live a fuller life and spend more time doing the things that bring you joy.
STEP 1 – SET PARAMETERS ON WHEN YOU CHECK YOUR PHONE
Screens seem to have an addictive quality. We can become distracted by notifications, beeps, messages, etc. After we check the notification, we’ll wander off into other avenues on the screen reducing productivity and causing more stress because we’re not completing what we’re supposed to be doing.
First, turn off notifications for texts, social media, your news app or another app that distracts you throughout the day.
Then, set time parameters when you will check your notifications. For example, I check and respond to notifications for all platforms from 6:15 to 6:45 am, 10 to 10:30 am, 1:30 to 2 pm, 5:30 to 6pm and once before my screens go to bed at 8:30 pm.
I’ve found this simple structure allows me to focus on my priorities and create a more productive outcome for my day.
STEP 2 – SET YOUR PHONE TO LIMIT YOUR TIME ON APPS
Time is your most valuable resource, you’ll never get back. Those hours can be spent with my family, connecting with friends, or being more efficient at work. Apps are the biggest time suckers of all!
To cut down on screen time and while still enjoying the luxuries of Uber, maps, quality photos and checking the internet, follow these steps on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings
- Screen Time
- App Limits
- Turn on App limits
- Select the Apps you want time limits on (I spend the most time on social media apps, the News app, G-mail and Google)
- Add Block App after time limit is met
When you set a time limit on your phone, it will ask you to enter a 4 digit code. Have someone you trust enter the code. This will ensure you will not spend more time than you intended on these apps throughout the day!
STEP 3 – CHOOSE STILLNESS
If my thoughts are not being captured by something (AKA, I’m bored), my default mode tends to lead to grabbing my phone to check the latest updates on social media, email, texts, etc.
If you’re in the same boat, actively choose quiet, deep breathing and prayer or meditation rather than mindlessly scrolling or watching videos. You’ll find this simple exercise will help melt stress away, capture the moment of stillness and center you for the rest of the day.
STEP 4 – CHOOSE JOURNALING OVER SCREEN TIME
When busy schedules, to-do lists, and kids activities become overwhelming we often turn to social media or Netflix to dull our minds and unwind. However, these habits can subconsciously add more stress and anxiety to our lives!
The GREAT way to clear your mind and rid yourself of the busyness that is littering your brain is to journal. Get those thoughts on paper. Journaling is the mental equivalent of taking out the garbage at the end of the day. You can identify emotions, write down worries, fears, anxieties and rid your mind of the toxicity that leads to stress.
First, find a spot that is isolated and quiet. Then, read for 10 minutes, pick a quote, passage or section of an inspirational or spiritual book that stuck out to you. Finally, ask yourself and write down your answers to these questions:
- Why does this stand out to me today?
- How can I apply this to my life?
The goal for this exercise is to quiet your mind, capture the stillness of the moment, navigate your emotions, identify the stressors in your life and release them from your mind.
Often the challenge with stress is figuring out what steps to take on your own. This is a huge obstacle to taking action for managing stress.
A coach can help you set goals, develop a plan specific to your needs, your busy schedule, help you wade through all the nonsense information and hold you accountable to your plan.
Finally, commit to your action steps. Write it down somewhere and tell others about it and remember: Change requires action.
At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, we offer you both nutrition and fitness coaching, from personal training to group CrossFit classes we have the keys to help you reach your goals!
Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess about what to do and they can even help you set some goals for getting the rest you need to keep your body thriving.
Schedule a free consultation with a coach to see how we can help you with your goals! → I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!
COACH PHIL KNIEP
Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier