Do you ever feel like your phone is taking over your life? You do so much on them these days, like calling people, messaging people, taking photos, checking the time, checking your emails and going on social media. The phone has become our mini personal assistant, on hand whenever we need it. But although this is great in lots of ways, the problem is, this can often mean we become a slave to our phone.
As adults, we catch ourselves talking about how technology is bad for children and how we need to help them be less addicted to their phones, but the truth is, we are addicted too!
Phones are designed to keep you engaged and have a way of making you want to check them every 5mins. This is not good for your mental health or your wellbeing. It can leave you feeling agitated, stressed and anxious. Constantly checking and then scrolling can leave you feeling drained, even if you have only been sat on the sofa for 40mins.
It is so important to recognise how much our phones can impact our stress levels and begin to take some control back.
Here are our three top tips:
1. Turn off your notifications
Every app you have comes with notifications, these are designed to keep pulling your attention back to the app and to visit the platform. You might have notifications from things like your emails, Facebook, Instagram, twitter, your messages, WhatsApp and your news updates.
These notifications are designed to help you not to miss anything, but it also makes it very hard to escape from that constant pull. We can find ourselves feeling like we must instantly reply or respond to things and our personal ‘space’ is invaded. You may have only been checking the time on your phone, with the intention to cook dinner but then suddenly find yourself replying to a work email or checking a facebook post.
This causes you to stop the natural flow of life and takes away your power to make decisions about what you will do with your time. It is like someone is constantly interrupting you over and over again. The impact of this can be extremely draining and stressful- even if you don’t realise it.
Action: Go into your apps right now and stop all notifications (Maybe just keep your email ones running- we don’t want to be responsible for you missing work emails!) You don’t need to know who just posted in the facebook marketplace, what the last news report was or whether someone liked your post. Allow yourself the headspace and the freedom to look at those things when you decide you want too instead. (top tip; if you are part of many WhatsApp groups, just mute the chat and allow yourself time to check in every now and again, instead of getting constant messages which will increase your feeling of missing out and needing to reply)
2. Download a blue light app
Do you know about the blue light that emits from your phone display? If not, you need to! The blue light in basic terms is the bright light that comes from the display when you look at the screen, the tint on it is blue and it is harsh lighting that can cause real damage over time. Blue light makes you get migraines, sore eyes, blurry vision and that feeling of being really tired. When you are looking at your phone a lot, this can impact how you feel during the day and has a big effect on your overall feeling of wellbeing. This is a really easy problem to solve and is something you can do on your phones, laptops and tablets (and you should!).
Download a ‘blue light’ app to change the light from blue to yellow/ orange instead. The orange light is softer on the eyes and dramatically reduces fatigue, headaches and sore eyes. You feel the benefit from it in minutes and although it makes the screen look yellow – we think it is so worth it!
A good app to download is Night Shift which is available on app stores. You can set it to bright, medium or dark and it will give you instant protection by making your phone display a brown-orange colour. You can also find a similar thing for computers. Many have a ‘night light’ feature already built into them- just search for it in the computers toolbar.
Action: Do it right now! Download the app and get rid of that blue light. You will instantly feel better we promise!
3. Have a social media break
The last tip of the day is to take a social media break! It can be very draining to constantly be accountable to a social media account and you can feel an invisible pull that makes you check your account far more than you need to!
Have a break, take some control back and remove the apps from your phone or hide them in a folder for a while on your home screen. Make a conscious effort not to go on it for one whole week. Create a post that says you are taking a wellbeing break and that you will see them in a week, this will help you to detach yourself from it because everyone knows you are not reachable through those accounts.
Remember, they know where you are and can text you or reach out in other ways. Then spend the whole week focusing on filling your time with things to do for yourself. You will be surprised how much more you enjoy time with your children, watching a film, going for a walk and even cooking when you are not constantly dipping into your phone. You will begin to feel less anxious, calmer and much more peaceful! Being able to consciously focus on your day will feel like a breath of fresh air! Go on, a week is not long!
Action: make a post right now to say you are having a social media break and post it to your accounts. Hide the app in a folder or delete It from your phone- you won’t be deleting your account, you just need to download the app again when you want it.
Further Information and Resources
- You can follow Shahana on Twitter @Shahana_tpc