Take a screen break: Signs that might mean that you are addicted to your phone

We keep telling ourselves that we're going to spend less time on our phones but that's easier said than done. Our little (or not so little anymore) devices have become our dedicated machines, to the point where it feels like it never leaves our side. Sometimes, it baffles us as to how we ever lived without a smartphone.

However, as much as we love our phones, we’re also acutely aware of the physical and mental effects that they can cause. 

If you’re constantly in denial that you have an addiction to your phone, then it might be time to look the truth in the eye! If any of these signs below apply to you, then perhaps the time has come for you to put your smartphone down occasionally, and take a break from the virtual world:

You cringe every time you see the ‘screen time’ notification 

Let’s face it, none of us enjoy being told how many hours each day we have wasted away on our devices. It’s time for you to be realistic - if your screen time calls you out for spending more than 4 hours a day on your phone, even at weekends, then maybe have a re-think about how you want to spend your time.

You miss conversations

Have you ever been in a situation where you become completely zoned out of a discussion because you’re too busy flicking through Instagram or replying to a text message? This can lead to a true disconnect between you and your loved ones, leaving you feeling left out of the conversation. It’s important that we learn to value our in-person conversations just as much as our virtual ones.

Your eyes hurt throughout the day

Understandably, most jobs nowadays revolve around technology, and so it is hard to escape the blue light strain from screens. However, if you find that your eyes are hurting throughout the week, even when you’re not in the office, then your phone might be causing you even more harm. Some time away from it will do you - and your eyes - good!

You have a tendency to overshare on social media

If you’re the kind of person that can’t go one hour without sharing a post on Facebook, creating an Instagram story, tweeting whatever’s on your mind, or recreating a TikTok dance, then you might need to re-value your connections with others. Instead of constantly interacting on social media, why not go out for a coffee date or a shopping trip instead?

It keeps you up at night 

We’ve all been there - it’s way past your bedtime, and yet you can’t bring yourself to go to sleep because you’ve fallen into a dark hole online, watching the strangest YouTube videos or stumbling across the Facebook account of an old acquaintance that you haven’t heard from in years. At some point, though, the scrolling has to end! We would recommend setting yourself a screen limit in the evenings (at least half an hour before bedtime), to allow yourself to wind down successfully.

You can’t watch a TV show or film without scrolling

This is something that we catch ourselves doing all the time! Even if we’re watching a truly gripping TV programme or movie, we often find ourselves reaching for our phones halfway through, just to see if we have received any new messages or notifications. Instead, put your phone away for the duration of the show or film, and allow yourself to truly escape into its world.

You catch yourself checking your phone all the time

If you can’t go five minutes without picking up your phone, then you definitely have a screen habit that you need to break. Even if you are in a scenario where you are waiting around for something (such as in a doctor’s office or at a bus stop), try to resist the urge to bury yourself in your phone. Instead, why not take a book with you to read or just simply take in your surroundings? Embrace the change!