Do you feel anxious when you haven’t checked your phone in a while?
Do you spend hours comparing your life to the lives of others on social media?
Is your internet use negatively impacting other areas of your life, such as school or work?
Technology can be helpful, but it can also have a negative effect on your well-being. It’s important to strike a balance when it comes to technology, as too much of anything can be a bad thing.
To prevent your internet use from becoming a problem, here are seven tips for staying mentally healthy with technology.
1. Set a Schedule
Give yourself time each day to check your news feeds and social media accounts. Ideally, you should spend 30 minutes a day or less on social media, as this leads to better mental health. You can break this up into three 10-minute sessions or two 15-minute sessions if this works better for you.
2. Limit How Often You Check Your Email
In one study, people who checked their email only a few times a day reported less stress and the same productivity as people who checked their email frequently. Set aside dedicated time to check and respond to emails. Outside of this time, focus on enjoying the present moment.
3. Turn Off Unnecessary Notifications
Unless you have an important obligation, turn off unnecessary notifications on your phone. These distractions only cut into your day and prevent you from being fully present. Most people turn on notifications so they don’t miss anything – not because it’s actually important.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Each day, make sure to take a break from your computer and phone. You need time without technology, so incorporate more tech-free activities into your day such as exercising, spending time with friends, walking the dog or playing board games. It doesn’t have to be a long break – just an hour or two is enough to reset your mood and prevent burnout.
5. Keep Screens Out of the Bedroom
Ideally, you shouldn’t be looking at any type of electronic device at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light disrupts your sleep-wake cycle by blocking melatonin production. The easiest way to do this is by turning off your TV and phone or keeping them out of the bedroom.
6. Avoid Comparisons
When you do use social media, avoid comparing yourself to others. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but remember that people tend to post their good news and best photos. This is not their reality, but rather what they want you to think is their reality.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a wonderful skill that helps you live in the present moment. It also reduces stress and anxiety and improves your overall well-being. As you get better at practicing mindfulness, you can use this technique to calm yourself rather than habitually reaching for your phone.
These are just a few of the ways that you can stay mentally healthy while using technology. Because technology is involved in most things we do, you can’t avoid it. Balance is key. If, at any time, you feel that your technology use is no longer healthy, reach out to CTRLCare for help. We assist clients in establishing healthy relationships with technology.