Author- Abhirami Rao
The world around us: Screens have become our central link to the outside world. What we tapped into, for either work or binging the newest series on Netflix, has now turned into the multitasker for everyday interaction and entertainment. There’s only so much of the screen any of us are able to palate, especially with the social component of our lives masked away.
What is happening? All rolled into one or two devices, most of us are seated for long hours in front of our screens. This only adds to the irritability and frustration, especially since we can’t step out. Even more so for those who are quarantining! When the physical space we’re exposed to shrinks without change and disconnects socializing in person, we’re bound to look elsewhere for dopamine boosts.
Social media and actually socialising: Dopamine inspires us to take actions to meet our needs and desires, by anticipating how we will feel after they’re met. Most social media sites create irregularly timed rewards. We compulsively check apps because we never know when the delicious ting of social validation may sound. Begin with social and digital spaces first, set ground rules.
What do we do? All screen time isn’t distributed equally. Chart out what you’re going to be using your screens for and when. Make the difference between play, work, and planning. If you can, try spacing these activities over different devices or places in your home. Work the Pomodoro technique and walk around every break (25 mins of a task followed by a break for 5 mins).
Limit your screen time! As much as most would claim social media helps connect with the world, how often are you using these platforms to have conversations and how long do you mindlessly scroll? Social media detoxes are more in vogue than ever. Limit your screen time as much as possible! There are apps and inbuilt software that track and control screen time. Try setting a digital curfew over short periods during the day depending on your schedule.
Keep your eye on the target: People of all ages blink far less when concentrating on a screen. Over time this causes the eyes to dry out. Longer hours in front of a screen also disrupt the body’s internal clock, suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Over time, sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms of depression.
Slow down: This is not a new conversation detailing the effect of increased electronic usage on our minds or sleep patterns. Try laying down a curfew an hour before bed or even 30 minutes before bed, whatever feels realistic. The only certainty we control is how we can consciously use our time and where we place these activities.
Be kinder to yourself, step away from the screen a little.