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Today, looking after our mental and emotional health is not only relevant to our interactions with the real world, our digital spaces can play a significant role in what we think about and how we feel. A problematic email can send us into a bit of a spin or we could find ourselves so distracted by links and videos that we don’t get any of our real-world work finished. It’s time to take back control of how we use digital technologies to improve our wellbeing.
Turn off your notifications
We are completely integrated with technology, around 50% of our daily interactions with friends, colleagues, and partners are likely to be online in one form or another. This can be as stressful as looking for insurance in the real world, one sure insurance makes that easy. But with our phones calling for our attention every few minutes we are forced to stop what we’re doing to check the latest message, which is a huge distraction. Managing your notifications is essential to distancing yourself from the random distractions of your digital life. You don’t have to turn them all off but be selective. I have set a ‘do not disturb’ mode on my phone which starts at 8pm each evening. It means as soon as the clock strikes 8pm I no longer get loud notifications which has proved great for my mental health each evening. It gives me a chance to reconnect with my surroundings and enjoy a relatively stress less evening!
Take regular digital breaks
Always being plugged-in to our digital lives can take its toll on our mental health without us noticing. The internet is extremely varied, one moment you could be reading a work email, and next, you could be watching a video about cats or replying to a tweet you feel passionate about. All of this information and distraction can make you feel a little crazy at times. So take regular digital breaks. That means switching off your devices – all of them – and doing something completely separate for a while. I find going for a walk, a quick trip to the shop or having a technology free bath time ritual is perfect!
Monitor your screen time
One useful feature of our digital technology is the ability to monitor how much we are using it and what our usage habits are. You can find out what your daily or weekly screen time was or discover how often you use a particular app. The information can help you to adjust your lifestyle so that you aren’t wasting too much time in one place – do you really need to spend all that time on Facebook? Instead, decide on what digital places are priorities for you and set times limits for those.
Declutter your digital space
Emails can be a challenge. The internet nowadays is set-up to grab our attention quickly and channel it into signing up for a product, service, or simple subscription. It can lead to hundreds of partially interesting newsletters and updates jamming our inbox. Don’t get overwhelmed. And don’t begin sifting through all those old emails attempting to organize them. Instead, monitor them as they come in, unsubscribe and delete as necessary. Finally, when it’s under control, you can begin eliminating the backlog.
Don’t get sucked in
Monitoring your digital behaviour is very important in maintaining a healthy relationship with technology. If you know how your mind works when you’re on the internet, that is in a distracted sort of way; it’s easier to manage that distracted state of mind. If you know that you’re entering that state of mind, then you also know when to exit it and come back to the real world. If you get caught up in the internet, exercise some personal responsibility and give yourself a digital break.
Thank you for reading! It’s so important to look after your mental and physical wellbeing especially when you spend most of your time online!
Let me know if you find any of these tips help or any you have.