How to have a healthy relationship with your smartphone

Woman looking at red phone in her hand

Our phones have become essentials.  We can do anything with a smartphone, whether it is paying our taxes or watching cute cats doing cute things. For many, phones are fully functional work stations and endless sources of entertainment, social media, and messages from friends and family. However, despite all the benefits of the smartphone, it also can disrupt our daily lives.

Many people are glued to their phones every day and can experience problems because of it. Some common issues are:

  • Feeling stressed, unable to unplug
  • Having to answer worktexts and emails outside of work hours
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Missing out on the experiences because you’re on the phone
  • A constant source of distraction

Some people might struggle more with these issues than others but everyone can identify at least one negative thing tied to smartphone use. It’s important to find strategies that will help you build a healthier relationship with your phone to keep it as a useful tool rather than an addiction. Let’s take a look at some ideas that might help you.

Woman taking picture in mirror

Set clear boundaries at work and with other people

Many feel that they can’t put their phones down because they can get an important message at any moment. Dysfunctional workplaces particularly like reaching out to their employees in the middle of the night or during the weekends, which creates the sense of being at work 24/7 and makes it difficult to unplug. If you are always waiting for messages, you may feel chained to the device. So, often an important first step is to set boundaries. Talk to your boss about the messages you’re getting and try to find a compromise that will help you feel disconnected. It’s not always possible to completely eliminate the messages but you can lay the groundwork and let others know when and where you will be available. The same applies to your friends or loved ones. Let them know that you are making changes and modifying the response time.

Avoid using it before bed

A good idea is to cut down on phone use in bed or right before sleeping. First, the screen can signal to your body it’s time to be awake, so it becomes more difficult to fall asleep. Additionally, it can lead to lower sleep quality. Secondly, you might fall asleep much later because you get stuck scrolling or watching videos. If you enjoy social media or other activities, set aside a time to do this during the day.

Check it at specific times

A big problem is using the phone constantly. You may automatically pick it up every few minutes or respond to every notification. Put the phone away and try to set aside specific moments to check it, for example, during lunch break, at the end of every two hours, or whatever works for you. The goal is to avoid mindlessly using the phone or checking it so much it becomes a constant source of distraction. You can also turn off the notifications for everything that isn’t urgent or important.

Woman sitting by window holding phone
Woman looking at phone

Try to make sure you are using your phone, and that it’s not the other way around.


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