With people spending an average of 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phones, many of us could benefit from a digital detox. If used properly (such as listening to relaxing podcasts, staying in touch with our friends and using health apps) our phones can boost our mental health, but the constant connectivity can instead often be an additional source of stress.
If you need some ways to manage your digital use, here are some tips:
Using Social Media Less:
When we scroll through social media, it’s common to compare ourselves to friends, family, and celebrities. To focus more on what matters in your own life and avoid comparing yourself to others, consider limiting the time you spend on social media. An app like Moment can help you set boundaries on your usage.
The constant connectivity of digital platforms can also make us feel like we’re missing out, leading us to over commit to events because we fear being left behind. This fear of missing out (FOMO) can result in frequent checks on our devices to ensure we don’t miss important texts, direct messages (DMs), or posts.
Reducing the time spent on our phones is a helpful way to set limits and ease the fear of missing out. It’s a good idea to do this in a way that doesn’t make you feel completely disconnected from your digital world—consider setting a specific time block to use your phone or placing it in a different room for part of the day.
Choosing What You See on Social Media:
If using your phone makes you feel upset or stressed, you might want to stop following accounts that make you feel that way. You can also change your social media settings to hide posts with certain words. On X, for example, you can do this by going to your settings and choosing “Mute and block.2
Using Phones Less for News:
Reading or watching the news can keep us updated, but it might also make us feel more anxious.
Consider checking the news and social media only at specific times each day for a limited period. It’s also a good idea to avoid screens for an hour or two before bedtime because the blue light from screens, combined with any stress-inducing content, can negatively impact our sleep.
Taking part in activism can be a powerful response to feelings of helplessness about what’s happening in the news. When something specific is distressing, taking proactive steps can make a difference. You might choose to donate to a cause, join a peaceful protest, or reach out to your MPs to encourage action.
Feeling Less Stressed:
When we feel stressed, our bodies release chemicals that can make us feel sick and tired. Doing things to help manage stress can make us feel better. Check out our website for easy tips on how to do this.
Talking to Someone:
If using your phone feels hard, it can help to talk to someone you trust. You can also call Samaritans anytime at 116 123. If you’re over 18, you can self refer to our North East Essex Crisis Cafe, which is open every day from pm – 10 pm (excluding bank holidays). Click here for more information.
Remember, speaking up and seeking support if you need it, is the best thing you can do.