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Balancing Screen Time with Self Care

These tips are about cultivating manageable self care activities while living in a virtual world.

Creating a simple morning routine can start your day in a positive way. Making your bed, showering and putting on clean clothes are some helpful things you can do to get your day started on a better note, plus help you feel accomplished and more ready to tackle the day.

The news can feel like 24/7 information overload about COVID-19. Even having it on in the background can be stressful for our brains. Give yourself a few days away from it if you want! If you're still craving news, try sources like Tank's Good News for uplifting content.

Make "you" time a priority. Schedule time to do something for no other reason than that it makes you feel good! Watch a funny movie, dance to your favourite songs, go for a walk, have a bath, eat your favourite food, do a relaxation exercise, or something else entirely!

Ever find yourself on more than one screen at a time? Try using one screen only, and giving that your focus. Breathe through feeling like you need to be checking your phone, laptop, etc. It's okay to not be accessible right away!

Our online lives can make it hard to slow our minds when it comes to bedtime. Can't stop thinking about what's going on? Write it down and postpone your worry until the next day so that you can rest your mind.

Your brain can only handle so much information during a day spent mostly online, so make sure to take breaks! Give your eyes a chance to focus on other things, even close them to rest for a while. It's okay to unplug!

Try to get outside every day, even if it's just for a moment. Breathing in the fresh air, taking in the sights around you and slowing your mind are all great ways to diffuse a day full of screentime!

Are you needing to take a break? Make time to do something creative while you rest, like listening to music and drawing lines and shapes based on the rhythms you hear! Use your ears instead of your eyes and give them a break!

Increase bright light exposure during the day; it helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy! Not only will it increase daytime energy, it will improve sleep quality and ease the online stress from the day!

Plan a day to have no screen time! Have you been wanting to read a book? How about taking a hike, heading to a nearby beach, pond, or lake? Maybe exploring your neighbourhood more? Or just spending a day in bed. Figure out what you want to do, and go for it!

The pressure to be on camera for school or work may prevent you from wanting to virtually connect with loved ones. To give your eyes a break from the screens, try scheduling a phone call instead and put them on speaker while doing activities like doodling or walking.

Have a few minutes between Zoom meetings? Try some of these quick self care activities:

When work, school, & fun activities are all online, it can be difficult to separate them! To establish boundaries between work and play, try to implement rituals after each, like lighting a candle once you finish a lecture or getting a snack when you wrap up a workday.

If you're on your screens a lot before bed, your sleep may be affected. Try to limit this time as much as possible in the hour before you sleep. If you can't, having your devices on 'night' mode can make the blue light less harsh. You may find that you sleep better!

Need some self care during the day, but not sure where to start? One day, create a box with items that comfort you (teas, essential oils, nail care items, fidget toys, nice notes, etc). Decorate it with inspiring quotes and photos, and pull out the box when you need it!

Want to know how to get away from your screen AND get something good from it? Cook! Print out or write out a recipe, put your phone away, and have fun in the kitchen. Not only will you have a yummy meal, but you'll be giving your eyes a rest from all the devices!

When days get busy, it can be difficult to make time to get outside. If you can't go for a quick walk or even step outside, crack a window and work near it. A little bit of fresh air is better than no fresh air, and your body will thank you!

Nowadays, we need our screens for work, school, and even fun, so sometimes putting them away isn't an option. Instead, try 'do not disturb' functions or notification blockers to minimize distractions (like news sites & social media alerts) & keep you focused on one thing.

Want a colourful reminder of self care activities you can do throughout the day? Print out our Self Care Tips and keep it handy for when you have time for a screen break.

Are there books in your home that you never got around to reading? These can be a great break from all the screen time we're used to. Gather the books you haven't paid much attention to and put them in one spot. This spring, see how much of the pile you can get through!

Do you find yourself on screens when you're feeling bored or anxious? It might be time to firmly distinguish between screen time that is helpful and screen time that is harmful. Take a deep look at your screen time and be honest with yourself, is it helping or not?

Make it a habit to have at least one meal per day without screens. Use this screen-free time to be fully present while eating. How does your food taste? What does it make you feel?

To help draw distinctions between school/work and play, use different devices for different activities (e.g. your laptop for school work and your phone for talking with friends or playing games). Then make sure to put away the other device when you're on the other!

Get out a piece of paper and a pen and write things down instead of typing them. Try it out with a to-do list first and then see where your creativity can take you!

Establish a few screen-free zones in your home! For instance, make your bathroom and your bed tech-free areas. It might be tricky at first, but try to hold yourself accountable for making these spaces device-free.

Keep devices out of your reach and things like books, puzzles, and games within your reach. You'll be less likely to use a device if it's in a drawer or a separate room.

Feeling bored? Don't mask your boredom with screens. Instead, let yourself feel and experience it! Boredom can actually be a good thing as it encourages imagination and creativity.

Try to incorporate physical activity into your screen time. Can you do a sitting workout while you're watching Netflix? How about taking the time to stretch while listening to a webinar or training?

Perform posture checks throughout your day. Readjust your sitting position in front of your computer or stand while you work.

Our devices have become our main source of stimulation throughout the day. Switch things up by stimulating your senses in other ways. Light a candle, use a fidget toy, or dance to some music.

Be kind to yourself. It's a stressful time so if your screen time is up, try to cut yourself some slack. Finding balance takes time so be patient with yourself as you do your best. And remember, progress does not equal perfection.