Kick Your Screen Addiction—for Good

Three simple steps for ditching your devices and taking back control

Do you remember the last time you curled up in bed with something other than a tablet? Or woke up using an alarm clock that wasn’t your phone?

Slowly but surely, screens have become the lens through which we view the world. From waking us up in the morning to the GPS in our cars to laptops and TVs, screens are quite literally everywhere you look. We’ve become a society of screen junkies and the compulsion to check these devices constantly is a very real addiction.

Studies show there are some pretty big concerns associated with all this screen usage. In addition to actually altering brain matter, it can cue feelings of cravings and induce restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia, just to name a few. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to reduce your screen intake. It may feel weird at first and you might even experience some Instagram withdrawals, but like any addiction, sticking it out will be well worth it.

Unplug and Give Yourself a Break

After a stressful morning or an afternoon stacked with meetings, it’s easy to go to Facebook or Instagram and just start mindlessly scrolling. Filling downtime with this kind of thing is almost second nature at this point. But the habit does very little good to recharge you mentally or emotionally. In fact, it could be doing the opposite. So instead of sliding down the slippery newsfeed slopes, try getting up and taking a walk. Whether it’s grabbing a cup of tea or just making a lap around the block, unplugging can be far more refreshing than Facebook or your Gmail inbox.

Rise and Shine, Unplugged and Unstressed

Waking up is a sacred part of the day and can set the stage for how well the next 24 hours will play out. But when you use your phone as an alarm clock, you risk waking up with a wave of anxiety. If you’re not hitting snooze, chances are you’re getting your email fix or checking text messages before your feet ever even hit the floor. Instead of waking up phone-in-hand, try going old school with your alarm clock and even leaving your phone in another room altogether. And instead of starting the day with email, start it with a few deep breaths, stretches, and maybe even a morning meditation. You’ve got the whole day to stare at screens. Let this moment be about you and your body. Soak up the sunshine.

Have Sweeter Dreams Without the Screens

Staring at screens right before bed is a one-way ticket to insomnia-town.

Screens cue your brain to ramp up activity, whether you realize it or not. This is the last thing you want before trying to fall asleep. And when you keep your phone on your nightstand, you run the risk of checking email at 3 a.m. when that bout of sleeplessness inevitably hits. Trust that nothing good can come of checking your email in the middle of the night. And reduce the impact of screens by shutting them off an hour and a half before your head even hits the pillow. Instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram before bed, try a new ritual, something like reading an actual book, doing a series of moon salutations, or a nighttime savasana to help soothe the mind and prepare the body for bed. Your dreams will be sweeter and your body will thank you for it.

sized-Laci-MosierLaci Mosier is a copywriter living and loving in Austin, Texas. She and her one-eyed pirate dog live for exploring and discovering life’s magic. She is most inspired by yoga, running, Kundalini meditation, good books, great jams and even better coffee. Getting lost is where she is most often found. Follow her on the Twittersphere or Instagram.