Stop Scrolling! Why More People Are Adopting Screen-Free Morning Routines
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer editorial intern Alexandra Speck. Find her on Instagram at @alexandraspeckk. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snooze your alarm (one, two, three times). Respond to texts. Open emails. Scroll social media. Check the news. Reaching for phones in the morning is as habitual as brushing our teeth. When I heard about the benefits of ditching early screen time – including full days of improved mental health and productivity – I had to try a screen free morning routine for myself. But did I keep up the habit? Read ahead to see if de-digitizing your morning is worth the effort.
Why should you limit morning screen time?
TikTok user @.tarynshank cites improved self-esteem as her primary motivation for abstaining from social media use in the morning. Her outcome is consistent with what we already know about social media’s “highlight reel” nature; studies show that upward comparison on social media can be detrimental to self-esteem, particularly body image. By cutting back on morning screen time, we can begin our days with optimal senses of self-worth.
Waking up slowly also sets your attention span up for success. Forbes reports that immediate screen usage forces the body to speed through its natural waking processes, “priming your brain for distraction” and hindering creativity. Phones stimulate dopamine release, resulting in a “high.” When the high wears off, you will turn to your phone for another dopamine hit, thus resulting in an addictive cycle that quickly consumes your entire day. Avoiding this initial high means that your brain will later function with greater focus and calm.
Is skipping the morning screen time worth it?
Earlier this year, I spent a week avoiding screens for the first hour of my day. That meant not scrolling through Instagram while drinking my coffee, which was previously the most sacred part of my morning routine. I was shocked at the strength of my desire to open social media.
I found that keeping my hands busy was the key to avoiding the temptation. I’m a morning person, so I’m always fairly productive in the a.m…. but ditching my phone meant getting ready for the day in record time. The urge to scroll quickly dissipated when I began realizing the efficiency of a tech-free routine.
Sacrificing screen time meant focusing on activities that would improve the rest of my day. I loved having more time in the morning to tidy my space, eat something substantial, and tame my impossible hair. When combined, these small tasks were so much greater than the sum of their parts. Hours after completing them, I still felt calm and put together.
Strategies for reducing screen time
I learned that reducing morning screen time means setting yourself up for success! I learned that social media consumed a great deal of my morning, whereas answering text messages and snoozing alarms rarely took longer than a minute or two. Now, instead of entirely ditching my phone, I have simply deleted my social media apps and check Instagram on my laptop later on in the day. I still use my phone for alarms, music, and quick communication, which takes minutes at most.
If you’re prone to scrolling in bed after snoozing a smartphone alarm, consider switching to a standard digital alarm clock.
You can also replace your morning scroll with a morning stroll, since early sunlight exposure is the antithesis to screen time. It’s been shown to improve mental clarity and promote better sleep patterns. Take a walk, have a coffee outside, or even open a few windows.
You’ll be surprised how little you’ll miss your phone once you get used to the change!
Reducing screen time should add to your life – not subtract from it. Will you try a screen free morning routine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!