Friends. I’ve noticed something about humans these days, and I’m guessing you’ve noticed it too.
Whenever we have a spare moment that’s not filled with some kind of stimulation, we reach for our devices to fill the space. And I get it. I’m just as guilty as the next person, but I’m also growing increasingly concerned about this “habit,” especially for creative folks like us.
Why? Because when we turn our awareness to our phones, we inevitably turn off our sensitivities to the living, breathing world around us. So in a strange twist of irony, our very efforts to connect to something actually disconnect us from the very things that make us feel the most alive and inspired to create.
This is not to say all “screen time” is bad. Of course, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found in places like Instagram and Pinterest, but I also believe it’s a slippery slope.
If you’ve ever found yourself scrolling for hours only to end up feeling like everything’s been done or everything’s been done better, you know what I’m talking about. Not to mention all the tricky territory that comes from being so inspired by someone else’s creative work.
So, how do we reprogram this habit of constantly reaching for our phones, while rebooting our creative spirits and becoming more present to our “real lives” all at the same time?
First, we decide we want to make a change and then we create new habits, of course!
Like I said, this is something that I struggle with too. However, I’ve been working hard to set up new boundaries and create healthier patterns around my relationship to technology, and I’m happy to share some of my tricks with you. Feel free to download the free PDF below and pin these reminders to your wall.
20 Alternatives to Mindless Scrolling
(Your Creative Spirit Will Thank You!)
1. First things first, try charging your phone outside of your bedroom to avoid early morning and late night scrolling.
2. Strike up a conversation with someone nearby, even if they’re on their phone too.
3. Notice five interesting shapes and colors in the space around you.
4. Delete Facebook, Twitter, the News scroll, or any other apps you’re ready to experiment with letting go of. Remember, you can always add them back.
5. Call an old, dear friend you’ve lost touch with.
6. Sing or hum a song, or simply make some noises that resonates in your body.
7. Organize that closet or drawer. You know the one.
8. Enjoy a personal dance party with one of your favorite songs. (Dance like no one’s watching.) This new album will get you moving!
9. Sketch one thing you see in the space around you. Let it be a loose interpretation.
10. Write a snail mail letter to someone you love and include a little piece of your art.
11. Take five long deep breaths and set an intention for the next hour. The free Insight Timer app is full of short guided meditations.
12. Go on a photo collecting walk and take pictures of whatever catches your eye.
13. Reach out to a neighbor. My mom was famous for inviting the whole neighborhood over for lunch. Now everyone is friends!
14. Listen closely to the sounds around you. Try cupping your hands around your ears to hear even more. I call these deer ears 🙂
15. Sip and savor your favorite beverage.
16. Experiment with my Visual Riffing Exercise, or simply doodle without expectation.
17. Send a text (or five) to share an appreciation for the people you love.
18. Stretch your body in a way that feels delicious.
19. Write in your journal starting with the prompt: Right here right now…
20. Think of ten things you’re grateful for in this moment.
Remember, changing habits takes time and happens in baby steps. Try doing one thing on this list every day and you’ll be off to a great start. I also suggest letting the people in your life know that this is something you’re working on. Sometimes it takes a village to create new habits, and who knows, maybe they’ll be inspired to join you!
Wishing you all a nourishing and creative week — full of presence and play.