Don’t look at your smartphone for the rest of the day. We dare you. Does the thought of that give you a brief fit of anxiety?
If so, you’re not alone. The beeps and buzzes coming from our purses and pockets have worked their way into the rhythm of our everyday lives. It’s hard to imagine our lives without them. But maybe we should.
Smartphone stress is a real thing. Research is showing that too much time on the iPhone or Android can lead to everything from sleep loss to increased anxiety. But then again, disconnecting is an issue, too. If you’re already hooked, going cold turkey is likely to become a stressor.
So think of it like a balanced diet. It’s all about moderation. Here are a few ideas to get you into the right frame of mind.
Employ the app police
Yes, cut down on your time using apps by downloading yet another app. There are dozens of apps that track how you use your phone and can let you set limits. Spending too much time on Twitter? With QualityTime, for example, you can set a time limit, and you’ll get a notification when you exceed it. Or, if you get desperate, QualityTime can even lock you out of your most time-consuming apps.
Create phone-free zones
Try a low-tech way to curb your smartphone use. Set phone-free zones in your house. For example, tell your family that the dining room is a no-go for iPhones. Maybe even make the bedroom phone free. Often what keeps us up at night is that enticing glow from a smartphone screen. And what do we reach for in the morning? The smartphone. Why don’t you let it sleep in a bit?
Counter the urge to look
Too often during a moment of downtime, that first instinct will be to reach for the phone. Whenever you feel that urge coming on, try to move in an opposite direction. Sometimes literally. Let’s say you arrive 15 minutes early to a meeting. Instead of just staring at your phone in the waiting room, leave it in your pocket and go for a quick walk around the block. It will clear your head and at the least, something other than your thumbs will be getting exercise.