When things get stressful, our phones and computers can seem to offer us an escape from the frustrating and draining things going on around us. But the truth is, constantly being plugged in to our phones and other devices can actually be more stressful.
Our phones can overwhelm us with stressful news updates, and everyone’s anger about them, without giving us any greater sense of calm or control. They also put us at greater risk of developing digital addiction, which can harm our relationships, and make it very difficult to focus on our priorities.
I know it’s easy to get stuck in the loop of scrolling and refreshing. I hope these tips for putting down your phone and living your life will encourage you to unplug and reconnect with the people and places around you.
How to Use Your Phone Less
#1 Spend Time Outdoors
Taking a walk around your neighborhood, sitting on your porch, or visiting your favorite park or nature reserve are a great way to feel more grounded and centered. And with natural beauty to contemplate, screen time becomes less tempting and appealing. To avoid reaching for your phone, bring along a book you enjoy, or try some journaling. If you happen to be spending alone time outside to recharge your emotional batteries, nature offers a lovely backdrop for meditation and prayer. I often find that reconnecting with nature reminds me of God’s love for His creation, and His constant presence, no matter what is going on in the world.
#2 Create Something
Having a creative outlet is a great, healthy way to get away from the screens. You can learn a lot about yourself and your manner of expression by painting, drawing, coloring, or crafting. If you love music, now is the perfect time to improve at your instrument, to learn a new instrument, or to write that song you’ve been thinking about.
#3 Learn a New Recipe
Cooking and baking are very therapeutic for many of us. When you have an evening at home, use it as a chance to bake something new or cook a new recipe instead of spending more time scrolling through your newsfeed. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor right away.
There are always people in our neighborhood and communities who need help and support. Volunteering is a great way to be active, engaged, and connected without being so dependent on screens and apps for that sense of community. Reach out to organizations you support to see what kind of help they need. There will likely be something you can do that is a good fit for your interests, issues you want to learn more about, or skills you want to develop.
#5 Encourage Others
Just like the people you may not know yet who you will meet through volunteering and acts of service, there are people in your life right now who need uplifting and support. There are plenty of ways to encourage others outside of texting or messaging them in an app. Send a card, letter, or care package, drop off a gift in person on their birthday, or simply ask them how they’re doing when you see them. Seemingly small acts of encouragement go a long way toward helping us feel more connected in challenging times.
If you need encouragement, too, we are here to help with online mentoring. Talk to a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine today for ideas on how to feel more connected to others without being drained by dependence on digital devices. We are ready to listen.
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Photo by ROBIN WORRALL