Do you dread your iPhone giving you your screen time report every Sunday morning because you know you’ve been doom scrolling too much? Many mental health conditions are being triggered due to coronavirus and repeated incidents of racial violence being reported in the news. Now more than ever is a great time to practice good screen time habits.
You may not realize this while it’s happening, but when you’re filling up on negative headlines you’re making less room for things that energize and inspire you. While it’s important to stay informed, you should be aware of how too much screen time is affecting your health.
Try to start your day without reaching for your phone. This might mean using an analog alarm clock and a different morning routine. Constantly reaching for your phone will always disrupt your thoughts so the morning is a good time to dedicate time away from it. If you usually answer emails in the morning, put them off for an hour by doing another work task instead. How you start your morning sets a precedent for how the rest of the day will go.
Aside from limiting your time in front of a screen you should also examine your consumption habits. You may be following blogs, news outlets, and social media accounts that aren’t actually fulfilling or delivering information in a useful way. Feel free to mute or unfollow anything that doesn’t feel right to you even if you can’t logically justify it. If seeing meal prep and fitness posts are a potential ED trigger feel free to unfollow those accounts. If you want to see those recipes later you can always re-follow them. If reading editorials about injustice re-triggers your trauma around similar experiences it’s okay to avoid them and seek out news in smaller, more manageable portions. Curate your feeds in a way that promotes your sense of well being.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night it could be the overstimulating blue light from your screen. Put the phone and tablet away an hour before your designated bed time to give your eyes the chance to adjust and your brain a rest from news fatigue.
Try to rediscover the self-soothing activities you did before you had phone scrolling available as an activity. Maybe it was reading or lying down on the floor listening to your favorite music. Revisit those activities instead of relying on the phone to give you fresh novelty whenever you’re bored. Also remember that sometimes it’s okay to be bored.