When you’re quarantining with your family, screen time inevitably becomes part of your life. But unlike before, you don’t have to restrict yourself from spending a few hours watching your favorite series. Some would even argue that it’s best to throw those screen time limits out the window. But if you feel guilty of spending all your ‘me time’ watching some random thing on YouTube or your favorite streaming service, know that this habit of yours can be broken. After all, when you spend 6-9 hours a day on your laptop, attending Zoom calls, and then switch to a different screen for the rest of the day, it can’t be good for your mind or body.
That being said, if you happen to spend a few extra minutes streaming, remember, you’re allowed that screen time. Quarantining is hard, especially if you have kids. However, according to the National Headache Foundation, there has been an increase in neurological symptoms with a rise in screen time (1).
That is why self-care that doesn’t rely on screen time is essential. Below we list down ways you can have quality ‘me time’ without screen time.
Self-care becomes essential yet impossible when you’re grinding for 10 hours in front of your screen without blinking. It may feel like nothing can help you recover from the office grind. Hence it is important to set clear boundaries right from the start.
Instead of working through lunch, make sure you take your 30-minute lunch break. Remember to take small breaks in between and check in with yourself. You could do some stretching exercises, play with your pet, or talk to people in your home.
Check In With Yourself
Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to check in with yourself. We’ve all had days where we were too busy to confront our feelings, and the 24 hours go by in a blur. Other times, we make a deliberate effort not to confront our feelings as it can be uncomfortable and challenging for us.
Checking in with yourself can have a positive impact on your life and mental health. Some people do it by maintaining a journal, but if that’s not for you, there are other ways to do it. You could sit in a quiet room, take a few deep breaths, and then ask yourself, “How am I doing today?”, “What should I do to make me feel good?”, or “Are my physical and emotional needs being met?”. Having these conversations with yourself will only not help you connect with your emotions and needs but will also help you realize the kind of self-care you need.
Try Nurturing Over Soothing
When trying to find ways to care for oneself, it is always best to do things that nurture your mind and body. These are things that help you feel connected to yourself. But we often end up choosing soothing activities as part of self-care. They include eating ice cream knowing you are lactose intolerant or spending the whole night watching a series and waking up sleep-deprived. So, why do we choose such activities? They provide us immediate satisfaction, but more often than not, we end up feeling guilty later.
You don’t have to completely eliminate soothing activities, but it’s crucial to find a balance. Ensure your nurturing practices always exceed your soothing practices.
Forget About Goal-Oriented Self-Care
Goal-oriented self-care can be stressful. Instead, try to do things with an intention but without a set goal. For example, you could start to eat healthy and workout to maintain a healthy weight instead of focusing on losing 10 kg in a month. Similarly, if you enjoy painting as a hobby, try to enjoy the process and don’t expect a masterpiece at the end of it.
Plan A Virtual Dance Party
Quarantine at home can feel lonesome. You miss out on hanging out and partying with your friends, especially at a time when you don’t want to be alone. However, there are ways to work around it. You could arrange a virtual dance party with your friends by picking a playlist that everyone will enjoy. Ask your friends to trade dance moves with you for one song to make it fun. This will help you feel connected even though you are just sharing a virtual screen. Sure, this would seem at odds with your idea of reduced screen time, but such use of technology can be worthwhile.
Be Open To Change
Being open to change will help you explore different options instead of holding on to something that no longer works for you. As you grow, your needs will also change, and so it’s important to find new interests, set boundaries, and embrace the growth.
If something you once enjoyed no longer serves its purpose, it’s okay to let go and move on.
Finding quality’ me time’ away from your screens can seem like a daunting task initially. You will also slip and fall into your old habits every once in a while. Try to make a conscious effort every day to set boundaries, check in with yourself, and follow nurturing practices for self-care and personal wellness.