Screens have become a huge part of our everyday lives, from scrolling through social media content to watching our favourite TV shows and films to typing away on laptops and computers to using our phones to video call friends and family.
If you want to know just how much of your life is spent on a screen, your phone’s screen time setting is a scary indicator. It’s safe to say most of us could do with spending less time in front of a screen, and right now is the perfect time to do so.
From the 1st to the 7th May is screen free week, an annual event which encourages people to turn off their screens and “turn on life”.
To learn more about what this week is all about, and to gain some inspiration on what to do with your time, carry on reading!
What Is Screen Free Week?
Every year during the first week of May, millions of people worldwide take part in screen-free week which gives people the chance to switch off from their devices and take a break from the digital world.
It’s a great opportunity to practise mindfulness, connect with others in your life, engage in new hobbies and activities and explore the world around you.
Whilst a whole week screen free isn’t possible for everyone with work commitments stopping you from taking a break from screens completely, this is a great time to cut down on your screen time for even a few hours a day.
Such as, if you would usually spend an hour on YouTube watching videos, you can swap out that screen time and spend an hour outside instead. We’re sure you’ll feel much more fulfilled doing so!
What Are The Benefits?
By taking time to unplug from technology and engage in some screen-free activity, you will notice many significant benefits on your mental and physical health.
Below, we have listed a few of the benefits…
- Improve Sleep – Screen-free time can improve our sleep because the blue light which is emitted from our devices can impact how well we hit the haystack.
- Boost Mental Wellbeing – Spending a lot of time on our devices can negatively impact our mental wellbeing, from scrolling through social media and comparing our lives to others, to constantly checking our notifications.
- Increased Productivity – Unplugging from our devices can increase our productivity as it opens up more time in the day to spend doing other tasks.
- Improve Physical Exercise – Spending extended periods in front of a screen can negatively impact our physical health. Instead, swap out time spent using technology for exercise, get out and about, do a workout or head to the gym.
- Reduce Eye Strain – The blue light from our screens can cause eye strain, headaches, dry and itchy eyes, and blurry vision. Reducing how much time is spent on screens is good for our eyes!
- Less Addictive – Many people are over reliant on technology, so cutting back how much time is spent using technology is key to breaking addictive behaviour.
- Connect With Others – Turning off our devices helps us to be more present and connect with others in our lives like our family, friends or colleagues.
How To Make The Most Of Your Time
There are plenty of interesting things you can do to make the most out of your time during screen free week.
If you’re after some inspiration, we’ve got just the list for you.
1. Read Something New
Swapping out scrolling through your devices for turning the pages of a book is not only refreshing but it’s also a great habit for stress and anxiety reduction.
Reading also helps boost your knowledge, increase your ability to emphasise, mentally stimulates the brain and improves your focus and concentration.
Another benefit is that you won’t have to deal with the bright screen causing you eye strain, and you won’t be distracted by any of your notifications.
This screen-free week, if you’ve had a book sitting on your shelf for a while pick it up and have a read or spend time reading something new!
2. Spread Some Love
Rather than communicating with the people in your life solely through your devices, whether it’s calling them, sending them a text or even having a video call, use your time during screen-free week to spread some love and connect in person, if you can.
Spreading some love and planning in a catch up away from your devices will strengthen your relationship.
You could go for some lunch, a coffee or go on a nice walk with your friends or family, talk about time well spent!
Even more so, you could spend your time speaking to people you wouldn’t normally as making new friends is super fun.
3. Start A Journal
Wondering how to make the most of your time during screen free week? Start writing in a journal!
Each person is different so what you choose to write about is up to you, you could write about your day, the things you’re grateful for, your goals for the future, your thoughts and emotions or even reflect on what you thought of a book you’ve been reading.
The beauty of writing in a journal is that there are no rules, all you need is a pen and paper to get started, so do what you want with it and try to enjoy the process.
We’d also suggest having a read through a journal entry after finishing it to really think about what you’ve written!
4. Visit A Local Museum Or Gallery
If you’re wanting to get away from the distractions of your screen during this weeklong event, you could visit a local museum or gallery.
Museums and galleries are great places to get up close and personal with artwork, learn something new about history, get a cultural fix, become an active part of your community as well as increase your own level of creativity.
Everyone should enjoy a screen-free day once in a while, so even if you just go a day without using technology during this week, head out and about to a local museum or gallery.
A lot of them tend to be free to visit, so if you’re on a budget this is a great activity!
5. Head Outdoors
Heading outdoors and indulging in physical activity that you enjoy doing is a good way to make the most of your time and connect with nature.
Whether it’s going on a walk round the green spaces in your local area, going for a run, taking a hike or opting for a bike ride, regardless of how you like to exercise, get moving and you’re sure to see the benefits.
You could even invite a friend along with you for your trip and pack a picnic for after you’re done – talk about cute vibes!
By spending time outside, you’ll be less inclined to have a cheeky check of your devices or have a quick watch of the telly, so it’s a win-win.
6. Practice Yoga
If you’re looking for some serious screen-free fun to get you through a week without technology, then you could practice yoga.
Yoga is an ancient process which involves connecting the mind, the body, and the spirit, and has many benefits on our physical and mental health.
Such as, helping to manage pain, reducing stress and anxiety, improving flexibility and balance, improving sleep as well as boosting alertness to name a few.
To help get you started, try to create a space in your home which is relaxing and inviting with as much space as possible, roll out your yoga mat and start practising poses.
7. Take Up Knitting Or Crocheting
If you want to use your extra time during screen free week to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby, you could try knitting or crocheting.
When it comes to non-screen activities to do at home both of these are pretty easy to do, and they will leave you feeling happier and more accomplished, help create a sense of well-being, reduce stress, and so on.
Not all projects can be done in a week, so you can extend the learning process for after the week period is over.
It’s up to you what you choose to create, whether it’s crocheting a new wardrobe or knitting a cosy blanket (a little optimistic for the first try).
The only thing is, you will need to buy some knitting or crocheting materials to get you started!
8. Try Some New Recipes
This screen-free week, why not cook up a new recipe which you’ve wanted to try for a while? You could stick to the old fashioned method of using a cookbook, and go on a shopping trip to get the ingredients.
Cooking will keep you busy for a few hours so you won’t feel tempted to check your devices and by the end of it, you’ll have made something delicious which you feel proud of.
If you’re living in our co-living accommodation, you can get together with your friends and have a dinner party, this way you’ll connect with others away from your devices, and save on cooking costs by splitting it together!
Within this post, we’ve highlighted the benefits of reducing your screen time and discussed how you can make the most of your time.
We urge you to give screen free week a try and see what you learn from the experience!
What are some things you do without technology? Let us know!
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