This year, more than ever before we’ve spent more time on our smartphones, in fact social media use was up 32% on previous years. Whilst social media can be a great distraction and a way to pass time it can also be damaging to your mental health. Excessive use of social media can fuel feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and FOMO (fear of missing out).
To counter the negative impact social media can have on your wellbeing, taking a break and doing other wellness boosting activities can help to keep you feeling balanced. We know that putting down your phone can be a difficult task, we are all just *slightly* addicted! So what are some things you can do to help you put down your device and get in the right head space?
Firstly, turn notifications OFF. Just putting your phone on silent isn’t always enough to help you resist the temptation to check on your phone regularly. However, if you get rid of meaningless notifications you will reduce the urge to check your device. Just get rid of any that aren’t a high priority for you such as game notifications and social media.
Next, change up your home screen and take on a more minimalist approach. This works because when you unlock your device you subconsciously go to apps that you might not even care to check. But if you change it up you remove that reflex and therefore also reduce the temptation.
Similarly, breaking your phone use habits can be as simple as changing your routine. If you find yourself glued to your phone first thing in the morning, whilst on the toilet or in the evening when you’re trying to relax then simply don’t take your phone with you. Find a spot where you can leave your phone and go about your routine without having it there to distract you.
Take on new, connection free, hobbies. This is a great way to put down your device because you’ll have a distraction that doesn’t rely on your mobile. This could be as simple as going for a walk or doing puzzles such as a jigsaw or wordsearch. As you spend more time doing these new device free hobbies your reliance on tech will also reduce meaning you might find yourself reaching for your phone less even at home.
Finally, we recommend setting goals and targets to help make yourself accountable for your mobile usage. IOS devices already have built in features that enable you to see your screen time, set time limits and monitor which apps you check most frequently. Having targets in place and working hard to stick to them can help you to reduce the time you are spending on your phone.
If your mobile phone use is causing your mental health to suffer we hope these tips will help you to put down your device and boost your wellbeing.