We all know the importance of work-life balance to reduce stress and prevent burnout, but what about screen-life balance? With the new year and resolutions on everyone’s mind, it’s the perfect time to try a digital reset — and that doesn’t mean chucking your phone or laptop out the window. Living in the real world means acknowledging that tech has a place in your life — and ensuring you’re the one deciding what that place is and how much of your time it deserves.
“We have reached a point where most people are noticing that all the screen time simply doesn’t feel great,” says Nina Schroder, a mental health therapist at Virginia Commonwealth University, who researches the effects of high screen use on mental health. “Since the rise of the smartphone, indicators of mental wellness such as happiness, self-esteem, and life satisfaction have decreased while serious mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and loneliness have increased significantly, particularly among young people.”
If you feel like screen time increasingly takes more of your time, you’re not alone. In a study from the Pew Research Center, nearly one-third of US adults said they are “constantly online.” And over 60% of respondents in an HP survey said they feel their digital lives and real lives feel out of balance.
How well are you balancing the time you spend on screens and fiddling with devices versus interacting with the world around you, free from photo-filter perfection and unending pings? Too much time with your device may mean you’re spending less time with loved ones, or you may be missing out on things you enjoy, like spending time in nature, exercising with friends, or taking a class.
Schroder says the first step to finding the right balance is to consider your core values: “What do you most care about in your life? What makes you feel good? How would you like to spend your time?” Focus on what you can gain from less screen time instead of what you’re giving up, and try these simple steps to kick off your digital reset resolution and stick with it.