The online world can be addicting and can negatively impact our mental health which is why setting boundaries and digital “detoxing” is so important. In today’s post I’m sharing 7 digital self-care habits, all of which have been integral in my own business and life.
I have a love-hate relationship with technology. As a digital business owner, it’s obviously the cornerstone of my business. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without it. I’m also a low-key tech nerd — I’ve always loved all things computer and internet, probably because I grew up with a tech savvy dad and older brother.
But what comes along with the many advantages of technology are its disadvantages: comparison on social media, mindless scrolling, fixating on stats, and distraction. The online world can be addicting and can really impact our mental health and self-esteem, which is why setting boundaries is so important. So in today’s post I’m sharing 7 digital self-care habits, all of which have been integral in my own business and life. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m always actively working on them to make sure I keep my sanity!
1. Assess Your Screen Time
Determining how much time you’re spending on your phone or computer each day is a really helpful place to start. You can do this on your own, or if you have an iPhone, head to Setting > Screen Time and take a look at the data. It’s pretty insightful. You can see how much time you’re spending per day within individual apps, and even how frequently you’re picking up your phone.
Just becoming aware of this and how much you’re feeling that urge to check your phone can help you begin to set boundaries for yourself. What else could you be doing with that time spent scrolling?
You can also set app usage limits within your devices settings (iPhone has this option).
2. Turn Off Push Notifications
This might be the best tip I can share, especially when it comes to avoiding constant distraction. Turn off your push notifications! This includes banners that pop up on your screen and any associated beeps and rings.
There are times when we want to be able to hear a notification, text message, or phone call, but generally speaking, keeping these things turned off prevents you from checking your phone constantly and allows you to focus better on your tasks throughout the day. Plus, am I the only one who gets sucked into scrolling on social media or checking up on other things just from responding to a text message?
Instead, simply create your own parameters for when you check/use your devices.
3. Start Your Day Tech-Free
I know all too well the feeling that comes with checking my phone immediately when I wake up. There’s something so draining about it, and I haven’t even stood up.
If possible, start your day free of technology. I personally always turn my phone onto airplane mode and keep it away from my bedside table at night which in turn, prevents me from checking it immediately upon waking.
Get up, make breakfast, and get ready for the day before entering phone-land. Even if we delay it by 20-30 minutes, starting our morning tech-free really helps us avoid any negative feelings associated with social scrolling, comparison, or the stress of checking our email.
4. Take Intentional Breaks
Be intentional about the breaks that you take away from technology. Perhaps you feel the need to take a couple days, a weekend or a few weeks off of it. But even if it’s just a couple of hours, remember that it’s okay to leave your phone at home sometimes. Don’t feel the need to take it with you everywhere you go.
Last summer I took two weeks off of all my social media platforms. And while that might not seem like a long time or a big deal (because in reality, it’s not), it sort of felt like it was since my job and business relies on it. But guess what? It was much needed and absolutely fine, business-wise. The best part was that it felt like my world opened up: I had rushes of inspiration, I felt so much more creative, less stressed, and a lot more grounded. You bet I’ll be taking a similar break again, maybe soon (and maybe even longer?)
Use those breaks for getting outside, spending time on a hobby or activity you enjoy, or getting creative.
5. Document Mindfully
This point is important. Basically, don’t feel like you have to record, document, or take photos of everything you’re doing, especially when you’re around people. While I’ve been guilty of doing this, I cringe when I see friends around a table at a restaurant all on their phones. It happens, but I am particular mindful of this and I try to only check my phone if I have to.
I love snapping photos and sharing snippets of what I’m up to on social media, don’t get me wrong. But remember that some of our best experiences are had when we’re fully in the moment and not concerned with getting the perfect shot or creating the wittiest caption. Be present, folks. You won’t regret it.
6. Adjust What You’re Exposed To
There are a few ways we can adjust what we’re exposing ourselves to each day, including:
- deleting apps you don’t need or that you want to take a break from
- rearranging apps so it’s less automatic for you to click on them (this helps you be more mindful of your actions, and forces you to pause and think before mindlessly opening an app)
- unfollow people who make you feel sh*tty. Straight up. This isn’t meant to be disrespectful or malicious, but simply prioritizing your mental health. If there are accounts you follow that make you feel less than, it’s okay to take a break from them.
7. Protect Your Vision from Blue Light
Blue light is what’s emitted from our various screens (phones, tablets, TVs, computers) and can negatively affects our eyes, especially when we’re exposed to it continuously.
You can protect your eyes by using blue light protecting glasses, adjusting the colour settings on your iPhone to Night Shift (which creates a warmer light), using Dark Mode (makes app backgrounds black instead of bright white), and avoiding screen time so close to bedtime, especially if you’re lying down in the dark.
I hope these digital self-care tips will make a difference for you in your life. Let me know in the comments which of these you already practice, or if you have any other tips. Also, if you use Android or other non-Apple devices, leave your tips below for any handy settings they have.