This scenario happens to me probably multiple times a week: I’ll be sitting, working, watching TV, working out or just going about my day and I feel this strange cloud looming over me. I can’t really pinpoint what it is. Unrest? Insecurity? Feeling left out, less than, not where I should be? Almost every single time, I can trace it back to something I saw on Instagram. I know this is true for so many of us and I know we are more and more aware of the toll technology takes on our brains and mental health. I began to try and track when I would feel like this, and what I realized was it’s not just Instagram—it’s my texts, reminders, emails (even my podcasts subscriptions piling up!) affecting my mood and my mental state. I really feel like with a little more awareness around our tendencies and behaviors that are either attached to or resulting from technology and social media, we can hack our way to having a more holistic approach on how this affects our lives.
1. Set A Timer On Social Media Apps
This really has been a game changer for me. I have a 30-minute timer set on Instagram and it’s a wake-up call to how much time I can waste mindlessly scrolling. Do I always follow it? No. But at least I’m aware of it and it helps me get off the app more quickly than if it wasn’t set at all.
2. Do A Social Media Clean-Up
I keep seeing this go around Instagram, but it’s a post that says “Stop Scrolling” followed by a list of these questions:
- Am I seeing posts that make me unhappy?
- Am I following accounts that make me feel like I need to be someone that I’m just not?
- Am I comparing my life/body/success with others?
These questions are really good to keep in mind and help me from time to time clean out what I’m filling my feed with.
3. Delete Reminders When They’re Complete
As obvious as that sounds, I don’t always do this. It causes unneeded anxiety by staring at a constant list of reminders popping up when in reality I set it months ago and already completed it.
4. Use the Night Shift Setting On Your Phone
I love this feature for multiple reasons. The lessened eyestrain is obviously helpful for physical health, but it also helps me mentally alert myself that it’s probably time to go to sleep and to stop looking at my screen. The blue light also is more stimulating on your brain and makes it harder to fall asleep at night.
5. Use a Real Alarm Clock
I’m guilty of not doing this. Using my phone only enables me to look at my emails or social media as the FIRST thing I do when I wake up—how unhealthy is that? A legit alarm clock will prevent that from happening before you get out of bed.
6. Get the TV Out of Your Bedroom
I know, we looove our TV before bed. I want to challenge you to leave that in a separate room altogether! It helps our minds wind down from the day when we don’t have the noise or lights from a TV be the last thing you see before you fall asleep.
7. Do Not Disturb Will Change Your Life
When you’re grabbing coffee with a friend, having dinner with your family or talking to your spouse or significant other, just try to turn on the do not disturb setting. Even if it’s only for 30 minutes to an hour, it will allow you to be more present and truly unplug from all of the things fighting for our attention.
8. Throw Your Phone Out the Window
KIDDING! (But let’s not act like I haven’t almost done that.)
Also check out 7 Apps I Use Daily (That Aren’t Social Media) and How To Make Your Bedroom The Healthiest Room In Your House for other lifestyle and technology tips.