If you’re like me, you’re probably glued to some sort of screen all day, every day, whether it’s from work or just “relaxing” during the day by scrolling through social media, it came make it hard to take a step back and allow yourself some screen-free time. I recently made it a goal to “unplug” for a few hours a week and I wanted to share with you the benefits of screen-free time that I found.
Before I get into the benefits though, I wanted to explain why I had to even go looking for these benefits myself.
You’ve probably noticed that there are stretches of time where I don’t post a lot. And I’ve talked about previously my struggles with Anxiety and Depression, but through working with a coach, I came to realize that a lot of these flare-ups came from when I was spending a lot of time on social media or watching TV. Things that I used to love like reading and writing weren’t getting done, even though I really still loved them.
I made a goal for myself to set aside an hour a day for two days a week to dedicate to getting off of social media and watching TV so I could focus on getting other things done. The difference it made was incredible and while it’s still a work in progress, I have already felt the benefits of screen-free time.
Get more done
The first benefit that I found from having screen-free time was that I got more done. I was able to focus on things that normally wouldn’t get done when I got lost scrolling through social media for hours.
The things I allowed myself to do were numerous too, so I didn’t feel like I had to stick with one thing, especially if I didn’t have anything to do for an option. I could work on writing (this did require my computer but I used apps to block sites which I’ll talk about later), reading one of the countless books I have yet to read, cleaning, or working on crafts.
The activity I found that I liked to do most during these screen-free times was reading. I love reading and have ever since I can remember! So to find that groove again was refreshing and a great way to connect with myself again. And while reading doesn’t really feel like you’re accomplishing much more than watching TV or scrolling social media, it is accomplishing something for someone like me who has a pile of books that need to be read.
Ability to focus more on yourself rather than others
A bit issue that I have while scrolling social media as well as I know others have this issue too is having FOMO or “fear of missing out.” People always put their best face forward on Facebook so whenever I see someone doing things and having things that I don’t, I compare myself to them and it only puts me into a depressive spiral even more.
I love the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy” because it’s true, if we are constantly comparing what we don’t have to others and thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, we will never be happy with what we do have.
When I have screen-free time, I’m able to focus more on what I do have. I’m able to take a step away from seeing the facade that others put up on social media and realize that they aren’t perfect, just like I’m not, and that’s okay!
It also helps me to do something to better myself in that time I take. I can sit and wallow in self-pity while I compare myself to others, or I can take the time away from the screen and work to become who I want to be.
More family time
Usually, I’m taking my screen-free time after my daughter goes to sleep so that I can focus more. But there are benefits to having screen-free sessions when my family is together.
When we visit my in-laws, we try to keep our cell phones in our purses or pockets so we can focus on our time together. This lets us talk to each other about what’s going on in our lives instead of us all sitting around not talking and just staring at our screens.
We also will play games as a family, which I feel is a great way to become closer and get to know each other better.
Helps with focusing
Honestly, I struggle with focusing on one task at a time. I usually have multiple tabs open with Facebook, my email, music going on another window, and other assortments of things. This doesn’t really help with productivity, especially when I am constantly going back to check for new messages or notifications on social media.
I’ve found that one of the biggest benefits of screen-free time for me is breaking that habit and helping me to focus more. I don’t check those tabs as often when I’m working on something outside of screen-free time even. I’ll still visit them throughout the day, but I know it’s not something I need to do immediately and so I get others things done more quickly.
I admit, I needed help to get started with screen-free time. I knew that if I even had the option of being able to go onto those social media sites or turn on that TV, I would have a hard time controlling myself.
I did a bit of research to find the app that I felt would best serve me in my endeavors. The site that I found the most helpful was freedom.to (this post is not sponsored by freedom.to and all opinions are my own but if you do click on the affiliate link and purchase it, I will earn a bit of money).
I loved that I could customize how long the sites were blocked as well as which sites I wanted to be blocked. It’s also REALLY hard to end a session early, as I found out when I accidentally blocked ALL sites when I was trying to work on writing on my computer. That was essentially what sold me the most that this would help me the most in my endeavors.
Taking away those distractions so that I couldn’t slip during my screen-free time, I was able to focus better and help break those habits that I’d made.
The benefits of screen-free time will help to overall improve your life by helping you focus more on yourself and your family, as well as get more done. Your TV shows will still be there and those status updates aren’t going anywhere either. You can allow yourself some screen-free time and you’ll feel better for it.