I shouldn’t be on my computer right now. I also shouldn’t be using the word “should.”

So, where does that leave me?…

It’s currently 3:45 am Eastern Standard Time (Daylight?—whatever). Screen time in the middle of the night is not an ideal tool for falling back to sleep—instead of resting the mind, it actually jolts it awake. I’m writing this blog post to address my difficulty with turning off my screen 30-60 minutes before bed (a recommendation for attaining better quality of sleep), so it is both ironic and appropriate, as well as appropriately ironic, that I am writing this now.

This past couple months have been a whirlwind for me. I transitioned back into working full-time as a dietitian. For the past two years I have been doing my nutrition private practice part time and working as an early childhood educator while growing in my role as a mom (my daughter is currently two and a half).

I am super excited to be back in a full-time dietitian position that I am passionate about. It feels surreal. Even a few months ago, I wouldn’t have envisioned it and the process of getting here was not without stress, and now that I’m here, I have that strong feeling of having arrived. I am home.

Times when I generally turn to my screen are when I feel NOT at home. Whether it be wanting something else out of life, feeling bored with my job, feeling lonely, etc., I turn to rom com movies and sitcoms to distract and add some pleasure to my life. This past few months have been hard, but now that I have landed and begun my new job I feel a renewed sense of ease and purpose. I don’t want to live vicariously through someone else’s life. I’m grateful for where my own has taken me.

That being said, I still find pleasure in watching said rom com movies and sitcoms, as well as music videos, stand up comedy clips, or clips of late-night talk show hosts interviewing actors/comedians/musicians that I like.

I miss the 90s/early 2000s. When I was a teenager, there was the challenge of getting myself off the TV to go to bed, but there wasn’t a hand-held, internet-connected device that I could cuddle with in bed and watch endlessly. There wasn’t a search bar where I could enter anything that my mind fancied, not to mention a function which took what I was currently watching and suggested similar/related videos I would like.

This is a rabbit hole if I ever did see one. And I know rabbit holes!

How do I break the habit of recent months’ increased screen time? Of night-time watching in my bed, which more often than not exceeds the allotted time I give it, as I give in to my need for instant gratification as well as a compulsion to complete things and/or know how they are going to end up.

Is there a Whole30 for screens?

Tonight I am creating one.

I deleted my apps which provide entertainment videos. They are invading my life—my already Covid-related, anxiety-ridden sleep. It’s an unhealthy relationship and since I can’t keep my boundaries with them, I am removing them altogether.

I’m living my dream right now. Feelings of doubt have abated and no longer have to be allayed.

Nevertheless evenings are always hard. In the Jewish morning prayer, we pray for truth; it is light outside, things are clear. In the evening prayer we pray for faith as we enter the darkness and mystery of the night.

Even when my day is bright and I feel so blessed, there is this sense of insecurity that comes with the night, the darkness.

I’ve been using TV to get me through that discomfort: the unknown, the inevitable slowing down and acceptance that the day is done and now all there is is to let go.

Let go of my phone.

I’m not saying I’m going to be taking warm baths every night or meditating 30 minutes before bed, but I’ll find a method of self-care that speaks to me and my circumstances.

Or maybe I’ll just lie in bed feeling that discomfort for a bit. And then inevitably fall asleep soon after, because I’m always exhausted.

The Quandary of Smartphone Use at Night

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