How To Stay Off Your Phone During Lockdown

By Katy Thornton / November 9, 2020

It is no easy task trying to stay off your phone. It’s no secret that we’re all addicted to them. The average time people spend on their phones is 3-4 hours a day, according to The Guardian. Considering a lot of people also have to spend 7 hours on a laptop, tablet, or computer in order to make a living, this means there are some who are staring at a screen for potentially 10 hours a day. While before lockdown it may have been easier to find a distraction, now it seems like there’s little more to do than just spend an hour on Tiktok, or catch up with people through WhatsApp or Zoom. But it is perhaps more important than ever that we try to reduce our screen-time, and in this article, I’ll provide a few ideas on how to do this. 

Download the Space App

stay off your phoneThe Space App monitors how many times you unlock your phone and how long you spend on it daily. If you’ve exceeded 2.5 hours, a little notification comes up asking you gently if you maybe want to put the phone away for a while. Sometimes, we don’t even realise how much time we’re spending ogling other people on Instagram, or scrolling through Twitter – Space helps you grasp this much better. You can download the Space App here. Space’s main goal is to help you to stay off your phone. 

Read A Book Instead of Watching A Series

stay off your phoneInstead of resorting to binging Netflix every time you have a free  couple of hours (and let’s face it, there’s going to be a lot of this) maybe pick up a book instead. If you’re getting back into reading, choose a genre you typically like to watch, as this will feel the most natural and likely ease you back into it. Books can take hours to read, and there’s no shortage of them, so create a list of some you want to get your hands on, and get going. This is a great alternative if you’re trying to stay off your phone. 

Take Up Old Hobbies

knit 5164436 1280We all have hobbies we’ve slowly given up over the years – now is the time to take them up again. Whether this be drawing, painting, crocheting, knitting, running, baking – there’s no shortage of hobbies. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get immersed into one of these activities, and they’re a great way to stay off your phone without even noticing the time going by. Losing yourself in a hobby is a great way to stay off your phone. 

Clean 

woman chores bathroom cleaning water tapI know there’s spring cleaning, but why not use this extra time to get a headstart on it? Whether you need to clean your room, your apartment, or just rearrange your space a bit, this is a great way to keep you occupied that doesn’t involve being on your phone. You can listen to music, a podcast, or even an audiobook to make the time fly by faster, and you’ll feel so much better in a clean space than a messy one. 

Cook Instead of Ordering Takeaway 

kitchen cook pot cooking potThis may sound strange, but cooking, depending on what you’re making, can occupy you for up to an hour. There’s something therapeutic about cutting vegetables or mixing flavours, so instead of getting a takeaway, which can result in a lot of scrolling on your phone, try whip out a recipe book and cook from scratch. The best part is there’ll be a delicious meal at the end of it, which is often healthier and more cost efficient than takeaway options. This is a great way to stay off your phone. 

Go For Walks 

lonely woman walkingGoing for walks may not be as appealing as it was when we entered lockdown last spring, but the autumn leaves and crisp fresh air can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. If you find walking boring, try listening to something like a podcast or audiobook – you may be using your phone, but this won’t add to your screen-time. If you have a dog, bring them out for a long stroll, or use this time to try a local coffee shop, a reward for exercising in the cold. Fresh air and nature can help massively with anxiety and depression. 

Play Games 

video games play playstation tv screenI know this doesn’t reduce screen time, but sometimes just escaping the social media rat hole can be a breath of fresh air. Many of the negatives behind being on your phone too much is to do with social media, so there’s no harm in spending time away from your phone and spending it on a Nintendo Switch or on a PlayStation or a PC. If you don’t own a gaming console, you can always play regular board games. 

Write Letters Instead of Texts

writing 923404 1280Texting is incredibly handy, and for those you need to speak to on a daily basis, they’re by far the better option. However, if you have family or friends living abroad, who you haven’t been able to see due to COVID-19 restrictions, consider writing them a letter instead. It’s a great way to reflect on what’s been going on in your life whilst also staying clear of Instagram or WhatsApp. 

Why You Should Try to Stay Off Your Phone 

There are so many perks to staying off your phone when possible. Here are just a few:

  • You’ll sleep better
  • It can help reduce depression and anxiety levels 
  • It makes catching up with friends more meaningful 
  • You won’t compare yourself as much to others
  • You’ll begin to live in the moment more
  • It frees time to better yourself
  • Social media particularly can skew your perception of reality

If you have any more tips on how to stay off your phone during lockdown, please leave them in the comments below!

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About the author

Katy Thornton

Katy is a Creative Writing graduate from UCD who freelance writes and is currently working on her debut novel.

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