By | Natasha Ramirez
Netflix binges, scrolling through social media all day, and working from home with no separation between work and home life can all negatively affect your mental health over time. But since technology is so intertwined with our daily lives, we can’t just shut it out. Instead of making technology the enemy, it might be time to better use it to your advantage.
If you’re trying to have a healthier relationship with technology and take control of your tech habits, here are four tips you can incorporate into your routine as part of your new year’s resolution.
Backup Your Digital Memories
Does just the thought of having your phone stolen and losing all your photos, contacts and notes make you shiver? As much as we don’t like to think about it, this sort of thing happens quite frequently, and losing so much expensive personal property is sure to put a damper on your 2021 if it happens.
These days, your entire life is basically on your phone and laptop. Start 2021 with less worry and anxiety by backing up those memories so they will never be lost.
Most of your apps already use the cloud to store your information, but a lot of your personal information and files are automatically saved directly to your memory card. The cloud is a cheap and simple way to store all of your personal files, making sure that everything is safe and secure should anything happen to your physical phone or laptop.
If you’re someone who has a lot of data—think entrepreneurs, small business owners, freelancers, or creative professionals—tech experts suggest using two different types of storage to save your files. Most people use both a physical NAS drive and the cloud to store all of their files. This is a good practice for anyone, but is essential for people who rely on their devices for work.
Have A Weekly Social Media Fast
Social media is a great tool to keep in touch with friends and family who you may not see or hear from all the time. But too much time on it can be mentally exhausting and over time can even become an addiction. For those who have felt their mental health struggling may find that having a day off of social media every week can help. Many people already use Saturdays or Sundays as a day of rest and to reset for the upcoming work week. Taking one day off every week from checking your social media accounts shouldn’t be too hard—and you’ll start to see benefits surprisingly quick.
Outdoor advocate Katie Boué has been using this method for a while. “The rules for No Social Sundays are simple: on Sundays, stay off social media. No posting, no scrolling. No Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. If I break the rules, which I often do, I immediately restart—no shame. No matter how imperfect any No Social Sunday’s practice is, I don’t feel bad about it. These weekly abstinences aren’t graded, scored, or available for anyone else’s judgment,” she said in an article for Outside Magazine.
If you have an office job where you have to sit in front of a screen all day, doing this weekly screen fast can also help your physical health. Not only will staying away from screens decrease eye strain, it gives you more time to go outside, work out, and be active. Try it out—your mental, physical, and emotional health is worth it.
Try Out A Therapy App
Let’s be honest, we could all use someone to vent to sometimes—and especially after this year. If your crazy schedule makes traditional in-person therapy sessions impossible, or if those appointments are too expensive, or even if COVI-19 still makes you a little jumpy about meeting new people, therapy apps are a great way to still get some additional mental and emotional help.
“Communication has obviously evolved over time as technology changes. There’s a lot of very good data that digitally enabled communication between providers and patients can absolutely be as effective as other means,” says Dr. Seth Feuerstein, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University for a recent Women’s Day article. Even though you’re not talking to a real person, these therapy apps can help guide you through your emotions, provide mental health resources, and be a safe space for you to express your feelings.
Improve Your Physical Health With a Fitness Tracking Watch
People interested in improving both their mental and physical health have found that having a fitness tracker can improve both over time. Apple watches and other fitness activity tracking watches are a popular and simple way to track your daily activities, as well as give you a better look at your overall health. By tracking your heart rate, sleep schedule, calorie expenditure, and other important health metrics, you can see how well you’re meeting your physical health goals.
Since your mental health and physical health are so closely related, tracking your physical health can give you a better understanding about how working out and eating healthy can improve your mood. Even 30 minutes of activity every day can positively impact your mood and sleep pattern, and can even lower anxiety and depression. So whether you want to improve your physical or mental health, using tech like fitness trackers can help you keep track of your goals and look at your health holistically.