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Reclaiming Our Natural Connection: The Essential Benefits of Disconnecting from Screens

The expansion of digital devices has largely been a good thing. Today, you can Facetime your family within minutes, order fresh food directly to your door, and work from the comfort of your own home. These digital upgrades meaningfully improve your quality of life and free up time for leisure activities.

However, most of us also know that our constant connectivity comes with a cost. Screen addiction is all too easy to develop, and you may find yourself spending more time doom-scrolling than you do exploring the world around you.

Rather than becoming reliant on tech for entertainment and leisure, consider disconnecting from your screen with a digital detox. This can help you reestablish your connection with nature and bring balance back to your life. Planning a digital detox can improve your well-being, too, as hiking, camping, and backpacking are sure to improve your physical and mental health.

Screen Time Side Effects

The benefits of the digital revolution are too numerous to list. However, increased screen time comes with some serious side effects, too. This is a serious issue, as the average adult spends a whopping 6.5 hours per day staring at screens while surfing the web. This highlights the reality that our modern lives are largely out of balance, and that few of us can responsibly manage the amount of time we spend online.

Unfortunately, spending so much time staring at screens can have a net negative impact on our well-being and self-esteem. For example, folks who overuse social media report experiencing body image issues. This is largely due to the rampant pressure to lose weight that exists online and the promotion of unattainable standards. Being constantly online can also expose you to threats like cyberbullying which will further worsen your body image.

Overusing social media and screens can warp your perspective and worsen your health. Sitting in front of screens for lengthy periods increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and suppresses your insulin resistance. Mindlessly scrolling through your social pages may give you a dopamine dump, but is almost certain to undermine your productivity and long-term happiness. This means that, rather than being ruled by your phone, you need to set clear boundaries when it comes to screens. 

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is the first step towards a more balanced relationship with screens. Setting clear boundaries can be transformative if you’re used to spending all of your leisure time scrolling through Instagram or watching TikToks.

Rather than setting timers to cap your social use, schedule time away from social media and your phone. For example, if you enjoy catching up with your friend’s activities online, you might set a boundary like “I will only use social media between 5 – 6 pm”. After that hour passes, consider deleting social sites from your devices and schedule something fun like a walk with your family. This can help you reconnect with nature even if you live in the city.

Setting clear boundaries is particularly important if you work from home. It’s all too tempting to log onto your emails after work hours when you know that projects are being updated during your downtime. However, this will only increase your stress levels and may lead to burnout. Rather than being ruled by your screens, use work-from-home tricks to improve your productivity and reclaim your free time. These tips and tricks include:

  • Sticking to a routine and clocking in and out at the same time every day;
  • Focusing on one project at a time and not opening work materials after hours;
  • Making time for breaks and take a longer, screen-free lunch whenever possible;
  • Staying active by planning some exercise either before or after your shift begins.

These steps improve your work-life balance and will ensure that screens don’t invade your private life. This can free up time to spend in nature and will help you benefit from a digital detox.

Connecting with Nature

Setting boundaries is a great way to use screens with more intention. However, if you want your discipline to last, you’ll need to replace the time you spend scrolling with something that grabs your attention. Rather than twiddling your thumbs at home, consider getting outside and spending a few hours outside in nature. The APA explains that the benefits of spending increased time in nature include:

  • Improved cognitive development;
  • Increased attention and mental alertness;
  • Reduced stress;
  • Feelings of happiness and contentment ;
  • Better interpersonal skills.

These benefits are hard to overlook and far outweigh the short-term rewards that screens provide. You can even enjoy the benefits of nature while indoors during the cold, wet winter months by using indoor plants to create a fresh and inviting home. A few well-positioned indoor plants will bring the outdoors in and help you feel at one with nature while you do the rounds watering your peace lilies, ferns, and ivies.


Disconnecting from your screens provides plenty of mental and physical health benefits. You’ll experience a much-needed energy boost when disconnecting from your screen and will feel happier and more content if you spend your newfound free time in nature. Just be sure to set a routine that you’ll stick to, as it’s always tempting to log on to social media or check your emails when you should be resting and relaxing with your family.

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