We’re connected 24/7. Whether it’s through TV, the Internet or our phones, we’re rarely unconnected from media. From the time we wake until the time we go to bed—and sometimes even at night—we are tethered to our devices.

This can lead to many problems, not least of which is losing touch with the people around us. That’s why we need a healthier approach to our screen time, which will help us develop more authentic relationships and give us more energy and passion for the things we value most.

Here are some ways we can disconnect and then reconnect with our media-rich world in ways that are healthy—or at least healthier than before.

1. Start by determining a time each night when you will stop looking at your phone or at other media. For example, you can turn your phone on silence after 8:00 p.m. You can still be contacted if it’s an emergency, but you have intentionally set it aside from those random interruptions and needless distractions.

Use this time to spend with friends or family. This “downtime” will not only benefit your relationships but will also re-energize you for the challenges the next day brings.

 2. Limit your computer screen time during the day. Take 10-minute breaks—or more—several times a day. Look out the window, talk to a co-worker or just work on something that doesn’t require a computer screen. If you have the time, you can even take these short breaks and pray. It’s great for the eyes and even better for the soul!

3. Devote yourself to media-free times with friends or family. If you enjoy walks, get the family together and take a 30-minute walk without your phones—or at least have them on silence. This is a great way to disconnect with the digital world and reconnect with others.

4. Instead of watching movies on your phone, tablet or PC, substitute that time periodically to take in a play or go to a concert. You will soon be reminded how exciting these live events are.

Take a few minutes and determine what works best for you. Decide what steps you are going to take and then commit to following your plan. Revisit your approach after 30 days and see if you have noticed a difference. Make any adjustments and then move forward.

Your relationships and your passion will receive a much-needed jolt!

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