With the current global situation of COVID-19 (coronavirus), a 24-hour news cycle has emerged. During these times, your wellness and mental health should be your number one priority, so we’ve written some digital detox tips to help scale back the scrolling.
The always-online world is easy to be absorbed in, especially with the extra time available as a result of staying home.
Social media, while being a valuable tool for acquiring news in real-time, can fuel even more fear, anxiety and stress about COVID-19.
In order to maintain a positive outlook on the situation, while keeping your mental health and wellness in-check, it’s important to regulate your digital time including social media.
Limit your media consumption and time online
If we’re juggling so much extra communication to compensate for the lack of physical contact, how do we avoid digital fatigue?
It’s about selecting how much time you spend online and at what intervals.
Dedicate a couple of hours in the day to reading up on news and catching up on social media from trusted sources.
If you find yourself going back to the habitual act of mindlessly scrolling, be aware of it and put your phone (or device) down.
Be sure to dedicate portions of your day away from screens, or, if possible, make the decision to find other sources of entertainment away from technology in your downtime.
Time away from our devices has positive effects on overall mental health and wellbeing. Find extra time to go for a walk, read a book or play a board game.
With the digital age being such a large part of our lives now, it can be hard to remember what you did before digital devices.
Maybe it was listening or watching music concerts, doing art, working with clay, colouring in and so forth.
How you did these activities as a child can take on a whole new style as an adult and possibly even lead to a new hobby.
Screen time and your brain
There’s a very real connection between using technology and how it effects our brain.
It’s not only the amount of time spent using screens, but how we’re using them, according to Harvard Medical School.
Creativity and imagination are bread from boredom. Rather than filling that boredom with scrolling and texting, let your mind wander and take in the world around you instead of the screen in your pocket.
Using your phone before bed can also seriously disrupt sleep patterns due to your smartphone’s blue light emission.
It’s about being flexible with your screen time and choosing how and when to use it. Your brain will appreciate it in the long run.
Source your news from reliable sources
What you choose to pay attention can impact your mental health.
It’s important to ask yourself: which news sources help you understand the world more fully, and which ones only leave you fearful and despairing?
Many news sources are designed to trigger fear, create an addiction to its source or reinforce pre-existing beliefs.
Our goal is to understand what is happening in our world fully enough to be able to engage with it.
Seek information from reliable sources such World Health Organisation (WHO) or Australian Government Department of Health. Additionally, the Australian Government has just introduced a free app available for all smartphones called “Coronavirus Australia,” as well as a WhatsApp instant messaging service.
Find which source you trust the most and stick to it for the essential news and updates.
Remember to read, watch or listen to the news at set times during the day, rather than constantly scrolling and refreshing your feed.
Talk, don't just type
The disruption to everyday life has been sudden. Social/physical distancing, isolation and a deluge of news updates has been an immense strain on daily routines.
So much so, that finding new and unique ways to connect with friends, family and co-workers has never been easier.
Use social media sparingly when looking to connect with loved ones. Instead, opt for video or audio calling when possible.
The process of talking to another person is much more socially beneficial than constantly typing messages, especially for those who live on their own where they previously relied on person-to-person relationships at work or going out with friends.
There are plenty of free video calling platforms available. Some of the most popular include Zoom, House Party, FaceTime or Messenger.
To stay up-to-date on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Open Minds, visit our health alert page. This page will be continually updated as new information becomes available.