Lessen screen time, explore Florida

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Taylor Wilson

Technology is in every aspect of the world today and is used by nearly everybody. In fact, you could be reading this from your cell phone or computer right now on the Southern website. It’s hard to get away from screens, but it might be in your best interest to do so.

According to the Huffington Post, there are numerous reasons to lessen your screen time. The negative effects can include headaches from staring at the screen for an extended period of time, eye strain for the same reason and something called “text neck,” which is basically strain on the neck and spine.

Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to staring at a screen all day, whether it be in the Lakeland area or not.

We are just close enough to Orlando and Tampa that students are able to take a 45-minute drive to either. In Orlando, you can visit Walt Disney World, Disney Springs or Universal Studios. 

Tampa is also a happening place to hang out. You can explore the city life as well as check out a concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater. Lawn tickets to concerts generally start around $20 per person.

Lakeland is a beautiful town with many opportunities to participate in activities.

One night you could catch a movie at Silver Moon Drive-In or take an evening walk by Lake Morton to feed the swans. Make sure to bring $0.25 to purchase your feed!

Downtown Lakeland is also a fun place to explore. From shops, to eateries, to walking around the lake, it is a good way to put down the electronics. A few spots I would highly recommend are the Hollis Botanical Gardens, The Polk Museum of Art, and Black & Brew.

If you are looking for something to do on a Saturday morning or afternoon, there is the downtown market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event features many locals selling their jewelry, fruits, veggies and plants. It allows for you to not only connect with other Lakelanders but also find items you didn’t know you needed.

Lakeland definitely has many more sights to see, such as trails, shopping centers and aesthetically pleasing coffee shops. You can find ways to limit your screen time regardless of where you are.

Do arts and crafts. Sometimes the silliest of activities can be such incredible stress relievers. Simply making ornaments or painting a picture to hang at your place can be a fun way to spend your time. These are also great group activities to do with friends.

Go thrift shopping. It is becoming so much more popular to go to thrift stores and Goodwills to find clothes to upcycle. As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Hunt for those one-of-a-kind items to add to your wardrobe, or even use what you already have. It’s so easy to take clothes you haven’t worn in a while and make them into something trendy. 

 There are so many different things you can do all while being disconnected.

Another awesome way to put down your cellphone is as simple as getting involved in the community. Community service is a crucial part of the grand scheme of things. Lakeland also offers so many opportunities to participate in community service. You can help build houses with Habitat for Humanity, adopt a dog for a day (on Wednesdays) with the local SPCA, or contact the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce to become a Big Brother or Big Sister.

There are so many opportunities to leave your phone at home. 

So, my advice to you: go for a walk, get involved, take some time to put the devices away and live in the moment.

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