I recently went camping for 4 days in a place that has no cell service. I returned home around noon on a Sunday, and I chose to just keep my phone off until 8:30 the next morning. A bold move in this day and age.
I felt a significant decrease in my anxiety from being outside and away from my phone all weekend, and I wanted to keep that feeling as long as I could. So, instead of jumping back on resuming life onscreen again, I simply just laid in the sun and read my book, rode my bike without headphones, drove in silence, and noticed my thoughts. Having that dedicated awareness to my own experience while going about my life, undistracted or reliant on external stimulus was incredibly grounding.
It has reframed my boundaries with technology.
I recognize the irony in that the only space I have to share this with you is online. And I'm not criticizing being online, but I've found that time away from it is good too. Since this is where we get to connect, I want to share my recommendations for activities that bring balance to screen time. Best of all, they are free.
Here are 6 Free Ways to Support Your Well-being
Create bed-time settings on your phone
You can change the settings to automatically close apps at a certain time (you can choose which ones). Mine is set for most of my apps to close at 8pm, so when I mindlessly gravitate to something on there that isn't productive or calming for me (goodnight, words with friends), I'm reminded that I'm working on new habits.
Carry a book with you.
When you are taking a break from work, or waiting for your takeout food, instead of staring at your screen to kill time, why not bring out a novel instead?
Not into reading? This same principal of not-taking-your-phone-out-at-every-spare-moment can be applied to one of my other favourite past-times: people watching. Isn't it nice to have a little more situational awareness?
You might even notice someone walking past that you haven't seen in a while and have a nicely distanced, human interaction.
Recommended Reads/ Fiction
Recommended listens / Non- Fiction
Refine your morning routine: include a moment for yourself
Feel a sense of peace, accomplishment, and grounding by making space for 5-20 minutes of undistracted time.
- 5 -10 minutes of meditation - you can use an app such as Headspace or Insight Timer, or sit in stillness as you breathe.
- Walk around the block without your phone. Notice what you hear, see, smell and feel.
- Journal for 10 minutes about nothing and everything. Simple stream of consciousness writing without ever needing to read what you write.
- Schedule a FaceTime coffee date to connect with a friend or family member instead of scrolling through your phone.
Explore a park that you haven't visited before.
Seek out parks, trails, outdoor tennis courts, and beaches in your area. Explore with fresh eyes, and take it all in.
Enjoy a long, hot bath or shower
Slow down the nervous system and treat yourself to a bath or shower. We even have a homemade coconut coffee scrub recipe you can try and use as part of your wellness ritual.
Bake or cook something delicious
It's incredibly satisfying and soothing to create something with your hands. The chemistry of baking fascinates me and the reward when you get to sit down and eat the pizza from the dough you just made, or use that same dough for cinnamon buns, or make someone a birthday cake, is tangible and delicious!
Further reading for wellness: 12 activities to take care of yourself during a pandemic