Five De-stressing Alternatives to Screen Time

Laura Pohl, Staff Writer

During third-quarter we can feel in over our heads–drowning in school work, extracurricular activities and lacking the motivation to keep up. As a generation, we tend to resort to our phones for a “break” or to “relax,” and while there is nothing wrong with that, we can forget there are other ways to have down time. Sometimes we need a break from everything, phones included, so here are five healthy habits you can use to refresh your brain.

1. Journaling

Journaling is a healthy way to organize your thoughts and it can be done in a variety of ways with only a journal and a pen. You could journal to reflect on your week, record thoughts crowding your brain, set goals or respond to a prompt that peaks your interest; there are endless possibilities. Journaling can be a safe place for you to release your emotions and is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression along with boost your mood.

2. Music

Nearly everyone listens to music, but have you ever thought about why it’s so popular? It makes us feel better. We feel happier, empowered and not alone. You can listen to music with others, alone, in the car, on a walk or in the shower. Next time you are listening to music, turn it up and throw a dance party while you’re at it.

3. Art

Art can include but is not limited to drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting or even bullet journaling. I think we forget that to pick up a hobby we don’t have to be “good” at it. Why can’t we just enjoy drawing to draw? It doesn’t have to be perfect. You could try something like abstract painting in which lines and shapes dominate the artwork. Creating art soothes the soul  while the mind is able to fall away from reality and drift into a state of relaxation. 

4. Podcasts

Podcasts are often underrated and not popular among highschoolers. The first time I listened to a podcast was a couple weeks ago but it provided me with greater insights and it can for you too. Podcasts can be entertaining, inspiring, informative, or provide advice and all things in between. Oftentimes influencers have podcasts so if you enjoy an influencer’s content and they have a podcast, start there. Try listening to a podcast the next time you’re on a long road trip, taking your dog on a walk or even when you’re getting ready for school in the morning.

5. Reading 

Reading is an escape to an entirely alternate world where excitement is heightened and anything is possible. Phones are an easy source of entertainment but cellphone use desensitizes our brain; reading not only provides subjectively better entertainment but also improves brain function, sleep, vocabulary and reduces stress. You can check out a book from Dulaney’s library or from a Baltimore County Public Library anytime. If you have not done so in a while, kick your feet up on the couch or in your favorite reading nook, dive into a book and let yourself get carried away. 

All of these de-stressing habits are for anyone at any time. They are mindful and will leave you feeling better than before you started. So, the next time you decide to open TikTok, give it a second thought and use one of these alternatives to wind down instead.