Mental wellbeing for young people

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Too much time online?

Laura Haddow photo Laura Haddow · 28 Jun, 2020

Ever wonder if you’re spending too much time online? Does the phrase ‘digital detox‘ send you into a full-on, heart racing panic?

Ever wonder if you’re spending too much time online?

Does the phrase ‘digital detox ‘send you into a full-on, heart racing panic?

So, it’s been calculated that the average person in the UK checks their phone 200 times a day. That’s A LOT. However, if that’s the number an average person spends checking, then what about the rest of us who have their phones with them all day (and next to them all night!).

For many of us, our connectivity to friends and apps that beep at us constantly is pretty much a 24/7 thing. Last year a really interesting bit of research was done where thousands of young people were asked about their phones , it seems that although we are daunted by the idea of switching off, many of us think it’s time for a break but just don’t know how to go about it.

This is a GREAT quote.......

“By disconnecting from our devices (phones, tablets, etc), we reconnect with ourselves, each other, our communities and the world around us...becoming more present, authentic, compassionate and understanding. Given the space to unplug from the noisy world, we are able to re-evaluate our path, take stock in life, strengthen our relationships, and move forward with a sense of purpose and belonging.”

Digitaldetox ·

There are a lot of really positive things about our online relationships and that’s especially apparent during the COVID19 pandemic: it’s kept us in contact with others, maintained friendships and in many ways the endless scrolling of our social media feeds has helped keep us sane! However, if we were being honest with ourselves, we probably know that not everything about our phones is doing us good, mentally or emotionally.

Many people have tried to switch off for a bit and found it’s been a really positive experience. For those of us who have tried once but given up as it was just too hard, then perhaps it’s not quite time to completely abandon the idea but try a new or less drastic course of action?!

Here’s 5 ways you can give yourself a full or partial pause from social media, why not pick a few and see how you get on?

Turn off notifications

Maybe a complete digital detox seems way too hard, so start small. Why not try turning off notification alerts from your apps for a day? Or part of a day? Maybe just an hour? Perhaps, you could just turn it on silent or remove the banner function in your settings, so your phone isn’t lit up constantly with messages?

Set yourself realistic goals

Try to find the balance between being realistic and challenging yourself. Committing to an entire digital free week will be too difficult to begin with, why not start with an hour, then three hours, then a day? Or perhaps set yourself an allowance of a certain number of minutes a day where you’re allowed on your phone. It’s your detox- you make the rules.

Spring clean your apps

Removing apps you don’t use or having an unfollow session from time to time can be a really positive experience. Do you have those on your social media feeds whose posts annoy, frustrate or make you feel bad about yourself? Maybe it’s time to unfollow? Certain sites now allow you to do this without the person knowing. Also declutter your apps, think of it like a spring clean for your phone.

Arrange some quality alternatives

Why not use the time offline to try and reconnect with yourself or people in your life? Perhaps read a book or arrange to go out for a meal or a coffee (without your phone or with it switched off)! Go out and enjoy the world! When was the last time you watched a film or flicked through a magazine without stopping to check your phone every few minutes? Embrace the break.

Try storing your phone in another room overnight

For many of us, picking up the phone is our first move of the day, wondering if we’ve missed something big overnight. However more often than not we find that absolutely NOTHING interesting has taken place in the few hours we’ve been asleep, so why not store your phone away from the room you sleep in? Your sleep quality will be better and you won’t get disturbed by notifications or junk mail coming in overnight. This may mean settling for another sort of alarm, but it will stop you hopping onto Twitter/Snapchat or Instagram straight before sleep and first thing in the morning.


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