Do you often get angry at yourself because you’ve just spent an hour or even more on your phone, scrolling through Instagram or Tumblr? Well, you’re not the only one. Plenty of university students struggle with the constant alerts on their electronic devices.
But it’s just not about social media and texting friends; students at university spend so much of their days glued to screens. However it is not merely about frivolous social media updates and texts, undergraduates are online constantly for a myriad of reasons ranging from checking emails to reading lecture notes and researching for assignments.
The constant need to be connected can result in the possible deterioration of our physical and mental health in the long run, which in turn affects our daily lives. Breaking up is hard to do, but like any relationship, it is always healthier when there is time and space apart, same goes for our tenuous relationship with our devices. Follow these five simple tips to help you digital detox as a university student!
TURN OFF PUSH NOTIFICATIONS
This tip sounds very basic and easy, but it is a crucial beginning step to minimise the time you spend on your smartphone. Turn off notifications for irrelevant apps that tempt you to use your phone more than you need. The more attention grabbing and persistent notifications you can get rid of, the less distracting your phone will become.
DON’T BRING YOUR PHONE TO BED OR MEALS
A lot of us are guilty of taking our phones to the dining table or the bed with us. It seems like we can’t go to sleep without checking our feeds one last time! Try placing your phone on a faraway space like your desk and face it downwards. Invest in a traditional alarm clock if needed, so there is no excuse to keep your phone beside you. Or better yet, set a timer nightly to switch to Airplane mode.
When at meals, make a conscientious effort to keep your phone away from the table – yes, not to even Instagram your food. Take time to truly engage in conversations with the people around you. Dining alone? Swap your phone out for a book or simply people watch. It may seem difficult at first, but small changes can help for newer and better habits faster than you think.
SWITCH BACK TO PAPER
Speaking of books, when the last time you read an actual printed book? Same goes for reading the news on print newspapers and magazines. We’re so used to skimming through information on digital devices, while traditional paper encourages us to be patient and process what we read slowly and more deeply.
TAKE PART IN MORE OFFLINE ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The university campus is always bustling with fun activities and events! There are outdoor sports to play and watch, live shows by a performing arts club, stimulating talks, and many more opportunities for face-to-face social interactions. Get some friends together to unplug and unwind. It’s all about making time to hang out with people you care about in real life, and don’t forget to make a pact to put all your phones away.
ALLOCATE SOME TIME FOR AN ELECTRONICS FAST
Now this is probably the most difficult, yet most immediately effective way to take a break from electronic devices. Schedule in a period of time to go completely device-free! If your studies require you to use the Internet and your computer, a whole day away from them may not be possible. However, we can all designate a few hours such as mealtimes and after work hours to keep our devices out of sight and mind. During school holidays, you can even challenge yourself to go phone-free for a whole day or even a week!