by: Kaylee Olivas
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — March 4 marks National Day of Unplugging. It means putting the phone down and taking a break from technology.
According to Elite Social Marketer, social media users typically spend three and a half hours on their cell phones every day.
Although that might not seem like much, that equates to 24.5 hours a week and 49 days a year.
Dr. Audrey Gutierrez, a family physician with South Texas Health System recommends only being on a handheld device for no more than two hours a day outside of school and work.
If you exceed that recommended phone usage limit, Dr. Gutierrez said you could experience headaches, vision strain, a lack of Vitamin D, depression, anxiety, and Body Dysmorphia.
Body Dysmorphia comes from users comparing themselves to others and having an “unrealistic” vision of what they should look like.
Dr. Gutierrez also reports an excess usage of cell phones leading to weight issues. She added “snacking” tends to be associated with cell phone usage.
“We also see a lot of wrist, hand pain, upper back pain because of poor posture,” commented Dr. Gutierrez.
The side effects of overextended phone usage impacts everyone, but Dr. Gutierrez has seen it mainly impact younger generations.
To cease the side effects from happening, Dr. Gutierrez suggested taking a break from our phones at least every weekend.
Unplugging from technology has been reported to boost socialization, family bonding, and communication.
Instead of scrolling through social media or binging your favorite show, Dr. Gutierrez told ValleyCentral users should go outside, play board games, or read a book as it helps stimulate the brain.
“Just baby steps,” said Dr. Gutierrez. “If they’re used to being on their phone all day, every day, it’s cutting down maybe an hour here, an hour there.”
To wean yourself off of technology, it’s suggested you:
- Turn off as many push notifications as possible
- Keep yourself on a schedule
- Make plans throughout the day, so you don’t feel the need to get online
- Kick your phone out of bed
- Remove distracting apps from your home screen
- Turn on do not disturb
- Turn on your phone’s grayscale
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