Discover more from Dear Twenty-Somethings
Break Up With Him!📲
Your phone, that is.
Happy Wednesday and happy Cesar Chavez Day, my dearest Twenty-Somethings! Must I remind you every day is worth celebrating?
Word to Britney this week and dump him! But for now, I’m talking about your phone. How can us Zennials better (or break) our relationship with our devices? Let’s dive right in.
For the last few months, I’ve dialed in on minimizing my screen time. Throughout the pandemic, so many of us Twenty-Somethings have relied heavily on technology to stay connected: for comfort, for chatting with long-distance friends and family, and for staying entertained. But with screen time up (five hours?!), something’s got to give.
Personally, spending too much time on my phone makes me incredibly anxious, like there are countless better ways to spend my time, and like I’m wasting away my youth! I know, dramatic, but scrolling (read: social media) is addicting. (Side note: I think part of this reaction stems from my parents telling me every time I watched TV as a kid that I was rotting my brain, but I digress…)
But really, studies have proven that overdoing it on your phone can shorten your attention span, affect your nervous system (trouble sleeping! 🙋), and might even be carcinogenic. Plus, we don’t even know the long-term effects of cell phone usage, as they didn’t become so widely used until recently. Big yikes! And don’t get me started on the negative effects of social media—but that’s a chat for another time.
Now, let me just note how grateful I am for the technology we have access to and which we grew up with. I got my first cell phone in middle school (a red LG Shine, mind you), and I had lots of friends my age who didn’t get one until high school. I’m thankful every day that I didn’t have Instagram or Snapchat as a tween (or younger!) and I can only imagine how hard it’ll be for the kids younger than us to break up with their devices. The screenagers of the TikTok generation are in for a doozy!
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely good to come out of our exceedingly advanced devices. As technology progresses and our access to every single resource available lives in our pockets, it makes sense that we scroll in our free time. But, listen: In our lifetime, it’s estimated we’ll spend nine years on our cellular telephones, and I might wager that that’s being conservative. Nine. Years. Let that sink in. I’m disgusted just thinking about it!
This brings me to my central research question: How can we realistically reduce our screen time?
I’ve read article after article after article about limiting phone usage (check them out!), and they all give similar tips: don’t keep your phone by your bed, read more, delete apps (ones you use and ones you don’t), download apps that limit screen time, etc., etc.
I’m all about establishing healthy habits, and here’s what’s worked for me:
Keeping my phone on Do Not Disturb.
I’d love to leave my phone at home when I go on my daily walks, as so many experts suggest, but my tunes are too important to me. Instead, I keep my phone on “Do Not Disturb” pretty much always, whether I’m working or taking a stroll. If my phone doesn’t light up, I’m really only looking at it when I choose to. Otherwise, if I’m at home, I try to keep my phone plugged in in my room or away from me.
Turning off my notifications (for everything but texts and calls).
I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner! I have to go into each app to check for updates, and I try to only do it a few times a day (which is honestly still alarmingly frequent).
Scheduling “phone time” into my day.
I have a nasty habit (as many of us do, I’m hoping?) of checking my phone as soon as I wake up, and it not only consumes the first 10 minutes of my day, but it reminds me of the (harrowing but obviously important) neverending news cycle. Choosing when to check my phone is a challenge, but I’m getting there.
Putting my phone on airplane mode at night.
To help with my point above, when my alarm wakes me up, I don’t have millions of notifications from my West Coast pals to check. Instead, I check it a few hours later once I’ve had my coffee, rather than wasting the start of my day doing so.
Keeping a checklist of things I can do instead of scrolling.
Yes, let me remind you I’m a Virgo. Every Monday, I make a weekly to-do list, and on the first of every month, I make a monthly to-do list. When I catch myself mindlessly swiping, I see what else I can do. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but maybe I’ll write a letter to my cross-country pal, or I’ll revisit a sewing project I put down last week. When all else fails, reading is great too.
I’m no expert, but I do know this: Reducing my screen time will help me sleep better, will help me form a better relationship with post-COVID life, and will give me more time and space for the things that matter most.
Of course, I’m always looking for more tips and tricks on improving my ways. How are you curbing your screen time these days? I’d love to know!
With that, here are a few picks to get you through the week:
Okay, so I just realized I can embed songs directly… Love that for me. This banger’s been one of my most listened to songs since 2019, and I stand by that! Another alt R&B summer tune with a beat you can’t help but vibe to. Enjoy!
What’s not to love about a feel-good British indie bop? Add this to your sunny day playlists and thank me later!
I know all I talk about is summer, but… we’re so close! This one’s all about my favorite season, and its breezy beat makes me feel like I’m in lovvvvvve.
VICE: “58 Things to Do With the Rest of Quarantine That Aren't ‘Get Hot’” - We still have some time between full-vaccination and full-blown-fun, so try some of these activities out instead of being on your phone.
The Cut: “I Think About John Mayer’s ‘Daughters’ a Lot” - It can suck to revisit songs you thought were great that just… weren’t. I live for The Cut’s hot takes, and this one’s as good as any.
Medium: “I Learned The Co Star App Trolls Their Users Two Days After I Downloaded The App” - I’ve always been a fan of the astrology app, Co – Star, and of course, I just learned the creator has admitted to, essentially, bullying users via notifications. Sigh. Any better astrology apps you’re loving?
Netflix’s The Last Blockbuster - Admittedly, I didn’t watch anything good this week. I learned a lot from this nostalgic doc, but I can’t fathom how this was the final cut; one of the worst edits I’ve ever seen. But don’t let me yuck your yum!
Netflix’s Bad Trip - Unfortunately, I can’t in good faith recommend this movie. If you think Eric Andre and super cringey pranks on innocent bystanders are funny, you might enjoy. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
OLLY Goodbye Stress Gummies - After researching the benefits of L-Theanine, I found these yummy bites at my local CVS. You can get them at almost any drugstore, and they’re a great mood-booster if you’re feeling down.
MyChelle Tinted Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 - This matte tinted sunscreen protects my pasty skin from those UV rays, and we love sun safety! I wouldn’t call it a ~moisturizer~ as it’s slightly drying for my super dry skin, but it provides great coverage without looking like you’re wearing any makeup.
Crap Eyewear - Have I mentioned I’m a summer gal?! I have the Emma Chamberlain Oliver shades (which I love!), but I’m thinking I need a new pair… The Heavy Tropix? The Supa Phreek? Let me know your thoughts.
Funfetti Rice Krispies Treats - I had an urge to make these last weekend, so I did! They took all of five minutes. So worth it.
Teriyaki Tofu Balls - Okay, YUM. Easy and such a fun way to enjoy tofu—I’m always looking for more flavorful ways to eat my favorite soy product! This one definitely makes the cut.
“You Reading This, Be Ready” by William Stafford
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life–
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
Question of the week: What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Thank you endlessly for supporting me—it means more to me than you’ll ever know! I’m always looking to improve my work, so leave a comment or send me a message about what you want to read about in the next Dear Twenty-Somethings! I’m all ears.
If you liked what you read, send this newsletter to a friend! Heck, send it to 10 friends! Sending love and light to you, wherever you are. 🌟
Cheers & happy Wednesday! And, of course, happy March, i.e., Women’s History Month! See y’all next week.
xoxoxo, Quinnie <3