How to Achieve Healthy Screen Time

How to Achieve Healthy Screen Time

Although screen time is unavoidable in today’s society, it is ok to take a step back and evaluate how you are feeling both physically and mentally.
— InDependent

As military spouses, social media is a way to connect with friends and family near and far. It might also be how you find out information about your new duty station and the events taking place nearby. As with anything in life, learning how to use social media in moderation can be important to both your physical and mental well-being. 

Throughout the pandemic, the average American adult’s daily screen time significantly increased, whether due to virtual work/school or increased TV and social media usage to substitute for in-person interactions. In fact, Reid Health shares that the average screen time for adults in the United States increased from eleven hours per day a few years ago to an unbelievable nineteen hours per day during the pandemic. Unfortunately, excessive screen time can have significant negative effects including loneliness, anxiety, and depression.



The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends that screen time at home be limited to two hours or less per day. They state that the excess time spent in front of a screen, when not work or homework-related, would be better spent being more physically active. Further, a 2018 study’s findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately thirty minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.


A 2017 study shared that the World Health Organization projects depression will be the leading cause of disease burden by the year 2030, and found people spending six or more hours per day watching screens had a higher risk for depression. According to Reid Health, the following are potential negative effects from too much screen time:

  1. Insomnia and poor sleep.

  2. Eye strain and headaches.

  3. Addictive behaviors.

  4. Neck, shoulder, and back pain.

  5. Changes in cognition.

  6. Reduced physical activity levels.

Scripps Health also included tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and other repetitive-use injuries as potential negative side effects of too much device usage. 


Steve Jobs.png

Since screens are now such a normal facet of daily life, what can you do to help limit your exposure? Here are some suggestions: 

  1. Turn off notifications.

  2. Set a timer: when the timer goes off, turn off the device and make an effort to move your body.

  3. Leave your phone out of your bedroom.

  4. Look away from your screen to focus on a distant object for approximately twenty seconds every twenty minutes.

  5. Take a quick standing stretch break every hour.

  6. Learn a few chair yoga stretches to keep muscles loose.

  7. Pay attention to your posture.

  8. Don’t eat in front of a screen.

  9. Avoid backlit screens for an hour before bed.

  10. Note how long you spend on electronic devices and replace some of that with physical activity and social interaction.


Regarding social media specifically, MindWise and Cone Health share the following recommendations:

Schedule time to use social media, and time to step away.


  1. Be clear about what your purpose is when logging onto a social media site and stick to it.

  2. Use other people’s posts as inspiration rather than comparison.

  3. Think before posting. Foster a community of support and positivity among your friends or followers.

  4. Put your mental health first. Check-in with yourself and if you’re feeling down, maybe go outside for a walk or grab coffee with a friend rather than spending time online.

  5. Focus on real-time conversations, and use social media as a secondary tool to nurture your real-life relationships.

  6. Follow people and pages that bring you joy.

  7. When you’re out and about, live in the moment. When you’re doing something fun, take full advantage by putting away your phone and being fully present.

  8. Take a break! If you notice using social media has made you feel anxious or depressed, take a break for a few days. Unplugging helps you recharge your batteries and refocus on what’s most important in your life.

Although screen time is unavoidable in today’s society, it is ok to take a step back and evaluate how you are feeling both physically and mentally. You might find that stepping away from your devices opens up more time for other things in your life that bring you joy.

Pinterest Sreen Time.png