I think we can all agree that 2020 was a dumpster fire mixed with a sharknado atop a mountain of garbage. In other words: IT. WAS. ROUGH. I don’t know about you, but my mental health suffered immensely. If I wasn’t checking my local news station, I was doom-scrolling my Facebook feed, Instagram stories, or Twitter updates. There were fears about COVID-19, political finger-pointing, and social unrest. It seemed like people were dropping friends and family members like flies because of a comment they posted, a link they shared, or a post they “liked”. It was getting to be too much for me.
I noticed I was constantly clenching my jaw. I never felt “in the moment”. I either wanted to stress-eat or my stomach was in knots. I constantly felt irritated, tired, and on edge. I wasn’t able to wake up early to work out (like I desperately wanted/needed to) because I was up until all hours of the night, scrolling through online debates.
I decided something had to change. I needed to step away from the screen.
I deleted news apps, changed my alert settings, and even *gasp* deleted some social media apps from my phone. I know. I couldn’t believe it either.
I realized I was much happier when I didn’t let that tiny computer in my pocket run my life.
I still have a few social media accounts, but now I have to get on my laptop if I want to check any statuses. I also found that I could set limits on my phone for how long I can use certain apps. Now, from the hours of 8:30 p.m.-5:00 a.m., my phone is just that: a phone. It’s not a gaming console, it’s not a streaming device, and it’s not a distraction from my sleep.
I’ve been doing this for almost three months now and I have seen SUCH a difference in my attitude, outlook on life, and relationships. My mental health has improved because I’m not constantly being reminded of the bad things going on in the world. I’m not being distracted by what people are saying online and I’m more in tune with my husband and my kids. And, because I haven’t been wasting time on screens, I’ve found I actually have free time! I’ve been able to get more things done around the house and spend quality time with my family.
Our phones and their utility, convenience, and entertainment aren’t going anywhere. It’s time we became in charge of them instead of letting them be in charge of us.