4 tips for healthier smartphone use in Colorado
You may use your smartphone for work, to plan an evening out, or to keep up with friends and family. While they’ve become a major part of daily life, becoming too dependent on them can affect your mental and physical health.
Too much of a good thing
Do you feel anxious or “naked” without your smartphone? You’re not alone.
“That anxious feeling people get when they go without their phone for a day or even a few hours is legitimate,” says Doug Newton, MD, a Kaiser Permanente pediatric psychiatrist in Denver. “It’s alarmingly common for children to experience that feeling, too.”
Too much screentime can also impact your posture and lead to painful eye strain.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to enjoy your smartphone without compromising your health.
Tips for happy, healthy smartphone use
Of course, the simplest way to avoid the ill effects of overuse is knowing when to put the phone down. But this can be challenging for many people. To help get into the habit of healthier smartphone use, consider the following tips:
1. Take regular breaks.
If you need a reminder, set a timer. Even a 20-second break every 20 minutes can help ease eye strain and tension around the upper spine. You can teach your kids this habit by making it into a game (like trying a brief, fun activity whenever they put the phone down).
2. Focus on the people in front of you.
“Phubbing” is a slang term to describe snubbing the people you’re with by focusing on your smartphone. Not only is this considered rude, it robs you of an opportunity to bond with those around you. When you spend time with other people, giving them your full attention will make everyone happier — and help build stronger relationships.
3. Don’t forget to straighten up.
Anyone with a mobile device is probably familiar with the neck or back pain that comes with heavy use. A little focus on your posture can make a big difference. When using your device, hold it up in front of your face to help keep your spine straight.
4. Download some healthy apps.
Smartphones don’t have to be the enemy of good health. You can use apps on your device to track your sleep, nutrition, and daily activity. Many apps even let you track your progress toward your health goals.
Another way to make healthy use of your phone is to download the Kaiser Permanente app. You can use it to refill prescriptions, send messages to your doctor, view upcoming appointments, and more. Learn more about the Kaiser Permanente mobile app and how it can help you stay healthy.
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