10 Fun Things to Do Instead of Being on Your Phone

10 Fun Things to Do Instead of Being on Your Phone

Believe it or not, you are part of the first generation to grow up in a world dictated by internet connectivity, smart technology, and the smartphone. 

It’s no secret that too much time is spent on mobile devices. Your phone is usually always within arm’s reach away, and while many gen-z’s spend up to 5 hours a day scrolling, it’s still unclear how many hours are ‘medically safe’ to spend on your phone. 

What is known is that spending too long on one’s phone, browsing through images of idols, and stories of acquaintances can have lasting negative impacts on your physical and mental health. 

It might not be surprising that using your phone too much can affect your mental wellbeing and cause depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. However, using your phone for over 5 hours per day is also linked to a 43% increase in obesity among young adults, as well as increased high blood pressure and possibly cancer

Generally, you should try to keep your screentime down to under 2 hours per day.

There are countless ways to entertain yourself without your phone taking center stage. Let’s take a look at some fun things to do instead of being on your phone.

1. Tidy your space

If you’re an organised person, you’ll already know the value of a clean living and working space. Dirty and cluttered living is known to increase your anxiety and depression.

Tidying and cleaning your home is a great way to stay organised while spending some time away from your phone. The benefits are endless, and those who live in tidy spaces are known to be more active, healthy, and less at risk of experiencing high blood pressure, obesity, and mental disorders.

The advantages of a clean home don’t stop there, and those who spend time dusting their homes regularly experience improved breathing and fewer allergies. 

You should spend a few hours once a week doing a deep clean and dust of your home, especially if you own furry pets or have kids running around.

Simply making your bed in the morning can give your self-esteem a boost of self-accomplishment and start you off on a positive note for the day. A well-made bed and regularly cleaned sheets can improve your quality of sleep and overall energy levels.

2. Read a book or a magazine

Reading a book or paging through a magazine is a great way to spend some time without your mobile device, and the benefits of putting your phone away and picking up a book are countless.

Reading a print book activates a complicated network of signals and circuits in your brain, and is known for strengthening your mind. Depending on what you read, this activity can build tension, invoke empathy, and make you feel physical sensations such as pain or longing.

It’s no surprise that reading is a fun and entertaining way to build one’s vocabulary and increase your general knowledge, making you more attractive for future job opportunities. 

Because of this positive impact on your brain, reading can help prevent age-related cognitive decline as you grow older. 

To add to these benefits, reading is associated with an increased ability to empathise with other humans, reduced stress and depression, and a better night’s sleep. Reduce your pre-sleep screentime and read a print book before bed to guarantee yourself a better sleep. 

Looking through a magazine, whether it be a text or image-heavy read, can feel similar to scrolling through your cell phone and can give your mind the same thoughtless enjoyment without the negative effects of a blue-lit mobile screen.

3. Go for a walk outdoors

Why not challenge yourself to an outdoor adventure without listening to music, taking a photograph, or using a map to guide you? 

Too many people can be seen watching the sunset through the backlit screen of a mobile phone, missing out on real-life moments while trying to take the perfect Instagram photo.

Spending time outdoors in nature has a wide range of benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Increasing your exposure to nature and green spaces can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stress, and high blood pressure.

If you have a job, you likely spend 8 hours a day looking at a computer screen. Similar to a mobile device, this can have serious negative repercussions for your physical and mental health, and a health boost in nature might just be what your body is asking for.

4. Get your body moving

It’s no surprise that engaging in regular active exercise has visible effects on the body and internal effects on one’s mental wellbeing. 

Physical activity plays an important role in reducing your chances of developing heart diseases, by helping to maintain your blood sugar and insulin levels. 

It’s also directly linked to keeping your weight under control and your muscles lean. Strengthened bones and muscles make for a higher bone density and can protect you from injury at a later stage in your life. 

More subtly, doing exercise helps your body produce and release positive hormones and chemicals which can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed and better able to deal with stress and anxiety.

While it’s important to keep your body active, you also need to maintain a healthy mind. Through meditative yoga practice, you can exercise your mind by allowing yourself to focus on the present.

Concentrating on your own self-awareness through meditation can improve your imagination, creativity, and patience while reducing your stress levels.

5. Take a short nap

Cell phones are designed with a blue light screen, which is beneficial for boosting your attention and reaction times during the day. However, the blue light colours and wavelengths emitted from your mobile screen can be seriously harmful after dark and are known to cause long-term eye problems. 

Blue light exposure is related to damaged retinal cells and age-related macular degeneration, as well as eye growths and lesions.

Blue light also affects your skin’s secretion of melatonin, meaning it alters the natural processes of the body. Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces when in darkness. It regulates your internal clock and ensures your body gets proper sleep.

Napping is a heavily disputed topic, and while it can boost energy for some, it can make others feel even more fatigued. While there are pros and cons for midday sleep, napping can help you relax when you feel stressed. It can also reduce your fatigue while elevating your mood. 

You should keep your nap under half an hour to avoid grogginess and nighttime insomnia. You might even find that a quick 20-minute nap will improve your overall brain performance, increasing your reaction time and your memory.

6. Bring out the arts and crafts

Practicing an art you enjoy is a great way to improve your fine motor skills while keeping off your phone.

Engaging in arts and crafts, whether alone or in a group, can have profound socialisation benefits. Art is a pure form of self-expression and can encourage innovation and creativity while enhancing your decision-making skills. 

Here are some great examples of arts and crafts:

  • Painting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Pottery
  • Colouring in
  • Woodworking

Emerging from your craft session with a physically attractive or interesting piece of art has the power to boost your self-esteem and reduce feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness.

Physiologically, crafting with your hands helps your body produce dopamine, which enhances your brain productivity and focus. This is proven to be a great activity to do to prepare your mind for learning, whether it be academic or not.

Creating original art strengthens the connection between your brain’s left and right sides and can increase your psychological productivity. 

7. Indulge in a home spa

Spending time alone is often dominated by scrolling through your phone. A great way to disconnect from the outside world is to arrange a home spa day for yourself.

Run yourself a hot bath and indulge in an hour to yourself. Bathing in warm water can improve the functioning of your heart by giving it a mild work out. In addition to this, hot steam can improve your lung capacity and breathing, by increasing the amount of oxygen you inhale.

Warm water is also beneficial for relieving your muscles, joints, and bones from stress and can improve your ability to exercise and maintain a healthy life.

8. Visit some friends and family

What better way to disconnect from your phone than reconnecting with friends and family? Socialisation directly correlates with overall health and mental wellbeing. It is known to strengthen your immune system and help your body better fight off viruses and diseases.

More so, it can boost your self-esteem and lower feelings of depression and anxiety. Social interaction is highly beneficial for elevating your mood in your darkest times.

Young adults need to stop following and comparing what others are doing on social media and start interacting with each other without relying on mobile devices to share proof of adventures.

9. Cook something you’ve never cooked before

While everybody needs to know how to cook to sustain one’s body, cooking has the power to improve your physical wellbeing and make you feel happier and more satisfied. 

Cooking from scratch at home is the best way to keep tabs on your diet and manage what goes into your meals. Learning how to cook something new, in particular, will teach you new skills and techniques and can have a great effect on your confidence and ability to socialise. 

Turning your phone belly-down and cooking a meal you have never made before can improve your self-esteem while engaging the creative side of your brain.

10. Take a break from the screen and visit a gallery or historical monument

Playing tourist in your own city can be a wonderful way to keep your mind and body active without spending time looking at your phone. 

Museums provide you with an effective and engaging way of learning. Often allowing you to interact with exhibitions, museums can provoke your senses and help you to retain a good memory of what you learn. 

Simply put, museums make you more clever, and visiting a curated space can improve your cultural competence and inspire you to create art, learn more about a certain subject or connect with specific social networks.

Final words

These days, screentime trackers make it easy to monitor how much time you spend on your phone and more specifically, on which applications. 

In your attempt to spend less time on your mobile device, your first step should be being brutally honest with yourself, noticing and acknowledging when you are overstepping your technological boundaries.

Natasha Bernstein

Born in South Africa, Natasha is a Masters educated writer with a passion for sustainability, travel, health and food. With experience in the hospitality, energy, production, and broadcast industries, Natasha has a rounded and unique worldview. When she isn’t writing in her favourite coffee shop, Natasha likes to spend her time travelling the world, surfing, gardening, sewing, and experimenting with fun new recipes.

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