Categories
Self Help

6 Ways To A Successful Digital Detox

A digital detox refers to a period of time when you refrain from using digital devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, and social media sites.

Some reasons you may need a digital detox:

  • Checking your social media accounts is the first thing you do when you have nothing to do
  • You are constantly missing sleep to stay on your devices
  • You are fixated with the like, comment, or share counts on your social media posts

A digital detox does not mean you have to give up social media and Netflix for the rest of your life. Rather, it is about taking steps to become more more mindful of gadget usage so that you reduce dependency and improve your physical, mental, and even social well-being. By going on a digital detox, you can focus on real-life social interactions without distractions, let go of the stress that comes from constant connectivity, and improve your physical health. 

Dinah Salonga, a mindfulness facilitato, wellness advocate, and co-founder of YogaPlus Inc, Manila’s premiere yoga studio, shares some ways you can successfully achieve a digital detox. 

  1.  Recognize when your digital use is becoming excessive.
    The first step to doing a digital detox is acknowledging that there is a problem,” Dinah suggests. Are your loved ones complaining that you are spending too much time online? Are the number of likes in your posts affecting your mood for the day? Is your work suffering because you are tired from staying up all night binge-watching? “These are signs that you are becoming addicted to digital devices,” she advises.
  1. Set limits. If you cannot completely disconnect (i.e. your work requires you to be on social media), set boundaries. “For example, allot only one hour a day to work on your posts or engage with your followers. Set the phone aside during mealtimes or when you are spending time with loved ones. Stop watching the tv series when it’s 30 minutes before bedtime,” Dinah suggests.   
  1. Hack the hormones. “The happiness chemical dopamine is released by our brain whenever we come across something new and pleasurable,” Dinah explains. “When we see people liking our posts on social media, discover a new, entertaining show on a streaming app, or beat our previous record in a video game, we get a dopamine rush and keep wanting more, leading to a digital dependency.”

The key to an effective digital detox, therefore, is to replace time spent on digital devices with another activity that will give the same dopamine high but is not as harmful.

Dinah Salonga, Co-founder of YogaPlus Inc

The key to an effective digital detox, therefore, is to replace time spent on digital devices with another activity that will give the same dopamine high but is not as harmful. “Anything that will give you a sense of accomplishment – such as crafting, working on a puzzle, learning a new language, or exercising – will also cause your brain to light up without any negative consequences to your health and well-being,” Dinah says.

  1. Change the pattern. Is your smartphone the first thing you pick up when you are bored? Do you decompress after a long day at work by binge-watching the latest series? If digital devices have become ingrained in your day to day behavior, try to introduce new habits to break the pattern. If you are bored, go for a walk; if you are stressed, meditate.
  2. Listen to your body’s signals. Don’t ignore warning signs that you are spending too much time on your devices, such as an aching back, blurry vision, or fatigue.  These are your body’s way of telling you that you need to take a break.
  3. Seek help. You do not have to go through a digital detox alone. Ask a friend or family member to act as an accountability partner. “Choose someone who will tell you to go to sleep when they see you chatting past your bedtime, or even be willing to take your phone away if you have been spending too much time on social media,” Dinah advises.

Help can also be in the form of a MindNation WellBeing Coach who can teach you techniques to form healthier habits; an initial 1-hour session costs only P500. Book a session now by emailing [email protected]

Doing a digital detox is challenging because smartphones and apps have become an integral part of our daily lives. Hopefully the tips above can help you reduce – if not eliminate – your dependency on these technologies and free yourself to spend more time and energy on the things that matter. 

Categories
Self Help

How To Cope With Never-ending Bad News

Bad news and negativity on social media is almost inescapable. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year and newer, faster-spreading variants emerge, stories about surges in infections and deaths, announcements about renewed lockdowns, and posts about vaccine anxiety are dominating our newsfeeds.

Add into this mix the stressors carried over from last year (i.e. financial stress, isolation, and fear) and it’s no wonder that people are experiencing more mental health challenges than ever.

“Self-care is self-preservation.”

Kevin Quibranza, life coach

What should we do when we feel as if we can’t take it anymore? This is where self-care comes in. And while it may initially feel ludicrous to think of taking a break when there are so many problems that need to be fixed, we are actually duty-bound to take care of ourselves. “Self-care is self-preservation,” says Kevin Quibranza, life coach and MindNation People and Operations Head. “Everything in our lives — our goals, financial security, relationships with others — are dependent on our level of health, and self-care acts ensure that we stay healthy enough to achieve positive outcomes in all of them.” If we fail to take care of ourselves and get sick — whether physically or mentally — then we risk financial uncertainties, damaged relationships, and even our lives.

With this in mind, here are some things you can do to take care of your well-being when it all seems too much to bear:

Don’t forget the self-care basics. Prioritize sleep, eat mindfully, exercise, and stay in touch with loved ones. These promote not just mental health but also our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, enabling us to feel less stressed and more resilient in anxiety-ridden times like these.

Reduce social media use. While social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends as well as stay informed about the latest news, studies have shown that excessive use can fuel feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation. And if your newsfeed is becoming an obituary these days, it’s time to modify your habits so that you improve your mood. “You may not have control over the things you see on social media, but you are in control of the amount of time you expose yourself to it,” Kevin points out.

Some things you can do:

1. Use anti-distraction software. “I will only check social media for one hour each day” is easier said than done because social networks were deliberately designed to be as addictive as possible by some of the smartest people in the world. The solution — use tools that enforce discipline. Focus apps like Forest, Focus To-Do, and Pomodoro Timer can block the websites or apps that you want for an amount of time that you set, and can be a bit cumbersome to disable so you think twice about “cheating.”

2. Adjust who you are following. You don’t need to follow every news outlet or every famous journalist — limit it to just two or three so you are not bombarded with the same bad news in a short period of time. And if you have friends or relatives who regularly post fake news or propaganda that raises your hackles — that’s what the “Unfollow” function is for.

3. Institute a social media free day each week. Pick one day a week to go without your phone or social media, and it will go a long way to giving your mind the space it needs to slow down and rest.

Give yourself permission to express and feel your emotions. Apart from fear and anxiety, guilt and shame are two other emotions experienced by many during this pandemic. It is frequently felt by those who look at the infection and death tolls and wonder how they were spared, as well as by those who recovered after being infected. And while these feelings are normal, they can lead to longer-term mental health issues if left unresolved. If you are feeling survivor’s guilt, try to manage them by doing the following:

4. Practice being kind to yourself. Instead of asking “Why me?” try “Why not me?”

Meditate, breathe, journal. These mindfulness activities can provide a much-needed break from the barrage of bad news that tends to worsen your guilt.

Use compassionate self-talk. Accept that what you are feeling is part of being human.

Drop some responsibilities. Stress is caused by an imbalance in the different aspects of your life (i.e. work, relationships, “me” time) so analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. “If your body and your mind are both telling you that you need a break – listen to it. Stop what you are doing and indulge in activities that can boost your happiness or gratitude,” Kevin says.

5. Find ways to help others. Studies have shown that happiness and life satisfaction increases when we volunteer or help others,” shares Kevin. “It might seem hard to do while maintaining social distancing, but simple acts like talking to and empathizing with friends who are in need or helping your family with chores at home can really change your perspective.”

6. Talk to a mental health professional. You don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you feel pain or discomfort in your physical body, so neither should you delay talking to a psychologist or WellBeing Coach if you are feeling stressed, empty, alone, afraid, or overwhelmed. And even if you are not struggling, there’s no harm in checking-in with an expert. At the end of the day, we all benefit from knowing that someone will always be there to listen.

MindNation offers 24/7 online sessions with licensed psychologists and WellBeing Coaches. Book your session now through bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected]