As we continue to emerge from a global pandemic, technology use is arguably continuing to be at an all-time high. When isolated, we were likely drawn to some form of mobile phone technology as this provided the only outlet to stay connected with others. While it has its benefits, too much screen time can be unhealthy.
What are your initial thoughts when receiving your weekly phone screen time report? Embarrassed or disappointed? Confused how the figure got so high? What about your laptop? TV? How much time do we spend on our screens each week? And why is our affection for screen time continuing to be so high? Screen time itself isn’t harmful as many work from their computers each day, however, exposing yourself to excessive screen time can start to have a costly impact on your thoughts and emotions.
Many look to justify their screen time usage by suggesting it’s helping them stay connected. It’s easy to get stuck in the endless loop of thoughtlessly scrolling through social media. But is this truly helping us stay connected with one another?
Studies have shown that those who nurture a personal connection with others have greater confidence levels, are more understanding of others, and have reduced levels of depression and anxiety. It’s clear that social connectedness fosters improved personal well-being emotionally, socially, and physically.
With real human connection being beneficial in numerous ways and screens seemingly neutralizing this relationship, how should we approach this?
One solution is acquiring a new hobby. Consider trying these 6 activities that don’t involve screen time.
Hiking is accessible for everyone as trails are abundant and range in difficulty for beginners through experienced hikers. Consider hitting a local trail or somewhere more well-known such as a State or National Park. Regardless of what you choose, hiking gives you a reason to be outside and get some fresh air. Invite a friend, coworker, or family member and experience the benefits of hiking including better physical, mental, and social health.
In recent years, rock climbing has taken many US cities by storm. While outdoor rock climbing is growing in popularity, many gyms have now adopted indoor climbing areas as an alternative option. It’s easy to get started, but if you want to do this long-term, consider investing in some durable climbing equipment. Rock climbing is a great way to improve or build your physical strength and endurance. This activity is done best with others, so grab a friend and get climbing.
Looking to get more active but don’t know where to start? Try running. This doesn’t mean going into an aggressive marathon or half marathon training plan. Run at a comfortable pace and experience numerous health benefits including better sleep, improved cardiovascular health, the potential for weight loss, increased lifespan, etc. Looking to get connected with other runners? Consider joining a local running group or invite a friend and hit the road.
When considering activities that don’t involve screen time, cooking offers a great opportunity to have social connection with others. Try a group cooking class with your friends where you receive detailed instructions for undertaking new delicious recipes. Use these new cooking talents to throw a dinner party for friends or simply invite a few close friends over for a bite to eat. Through this, you not only foster great social connections, but you also get to eat yummy food together.
With the summer months beginning, it’s a great time to light up the grill and have some friends over for a BBQ. However, no BBQ is complete without an assortment of backyard games. Consider some older classic games such as cornhole and croquet or try your luck at newer games such as Kan Jam and spikeball. These are only a few of the many outdoor games you have to choose from. Invite some friends or neighbors over and set up a friendly backyard game.
Rather than numbing your brain from hours fixated on a screen, activate your brain by finding a good book to read. Visit your local library or bookstore to pick out a physical copy. Ask your friends for good book suggestions, or join a local book club to get plugged into a group. Through reading you can broaden your vocabulary, relax, and relieve stress. Reading can be done anywhere at any time, it’s just about finding the right book.
These are a few of the many activities that don’t involve screen time. The next time you’re tempted to throw on a movie or catch yourself aimlessly scrolling through your social media feeds, consider these alternatives.