This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

This Is Why You Shouldn't Check Your Phone While Watching A Movie

We really don't need every update on the impeachment.

Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.

Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.

Today’s habit: Don’t check your phone while you’re watching a Christmas movie.

For whenever you’re feeling: Like you just want to enjoy a whole movie without being distracted by your New York Times notifications about the impeachment proceedings.

What it is: My name is Chloe and I’m addicted to my phone (Hi, Chloe). I check my phone when I’m binge-watching “The Crown,” when I’m reading a book, when I’m feeding my toddler dinner, when I’m working, when I’m on the toilet, and when I’m having conversations with people. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing at night.

But for the sake of my own mental health, I’m trying to cut down on my screen time, and I think one of the first steps to that is to stop checking my phone when I’m watching a movie or TV show. And since there are a few holiday movies I want to get through, it’s the perfect time to start.

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How it can help: There’s been a lot of research done on the harm of too much screen time, from causing stress and anxiety, to blurred vision, eye strain, and nearsightedness.

For those of us (hi!) who fall asleep with our phones, the blue light from the screen can disrupt our circadian rhythms, which can lead to poor sleep.

When we’re looking at multiple screens at once — in my case, the TV screen and my phone — the effects on our eyes are even worse, which sucks when you need to find out what will happen when the prince finds out that his fiancée has a twin sister and they’ve switched places in “The Princess Switch.”

So, when we put down our phones, we gain a few things:

  • Less strain on our eyes
  • The ability to focus on one thing at a time
  • The ability to be present
  • The likelihood of having a conversation with the person who’s watching the movie with us, whether it’s a friend, partner, or our kids, and thus a more fulfilling experience
  • Less stress since we’re not checking work emails or the latest updates on Brexit
  • More confidence, as we aren’t comparing ourselves to people on Instagram

How to get started: If you’re sitting down to watch a movie and your phone is right beside you, of course you’re going to check it. So, nip it in the bud right off the bat and put your phone away before you sit down to watch “A Christmas Prince.”

And I don’t mean move it to the coffee table; I mean take it out of the room and put it in the cupboard. I’m counting on your laziness to not want to physically get up to get your phone. Laziness can work wonders.

If you insist on having your phone at arm’s reach, turn off your notifications and/or put your phone on flight mode, that way you won’t be distracted by the all the beeping and vibrating.

How it makes us feel: I’m not going to lie, watching a whole movie without looking at your phone is really hard, and you’re going to fail the first few times.

But if I put my phone in a different room, nine times out of 10, I won’t go get it. And watching a movie from start to beginning without being distracted by a Slack message feels pretty damn good.

And that’s your habit of the day.

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