In Case You Haven’t Noticed Summer’s Here!
For some of us, that means cranking up the A/C, especially during the hottest, most humid days of summer. Unfortunately, that also often comes with an increase in electronics usage. And more screen time for us as well as our children can have some negative effects on our health. Some studies have shown that too much screen time leads to changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control. This applies both to adults and children. Other studies have looked specifically at social media usage and found that excessively using sites like Facebook can lead to feelings of social isolation, depression, and a lower sense of well-being.
With the greater amount of free time people tend to have in the summer, the lure of our devices can be extremely strong. But it’s actually a great time to assess your screen time (as well as your kids), find ways to disconnect from electronics and reconnect with our friends and family. Here are some tips for reducing screen time over the summer, but also in other everyday aspects of your life.
Get Outside Without Frying
Seems obvious, right? For some of us, going outside in the summer heat is as appealing as a trip to the dentist. The good news is that there are ways to get outside and enjoy the outdoors without having to feel like we’re being roasted in the oven. Consider joining a pool, for example, or finding a nice shady park to go hiking. Or, you may even consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or buying a small umbrella if you’re going to be under the sun. Another great gadget to carry around to help you stay cool is a personal fan with water spray. These can help you stay cool and refreshed, even on the hottest days.
Crack Open The Board Games
If spending quality time is important to you, but you don’t want to go outside, then playing board games can be an essential ingredient to a fun, screenless summer. The classics like Monopoly, Life or Sorry are always good, but there are actually dozens of newer games that have come out in recent years that have reinvented the genre. We highly recommend exploring the market, as there are many new choices available for people of all ages.
Schedule Screen Time & Stow Devices
It’s great that our devices make many aspects of our lives easier. But that same convenience is also what often makes them so addictive. To help you cope with this, consider scheduling specific times when you (and your children) can use devices and stow them when not in use. You may consider limiting time to 60 minutes in the morning, 60 minutes in the afternoon, and 60 minutes in the evening. But be sure to not use any electronics close to bedtime, as it can disturb your natural sleep patterns!
Have you ever been walking around your neighborhood or town and noticed how many people have their heads buried in their devices? There are plenty of times during the day when we feel like we have nothing to do, maybe in between tasks, appointments, or whatever, and that’s often when the lure of electronics is strongest. This might sound kind of silly, but simply looking up and taking in the world around you is an excellent strategy to cut back on screen time. It’s a big and beautiful world, and who knows what you’re missing when your nose is buried in a device.
Contact us for more information and ideas for disconnecting from electronics and re-engaging the world around you.