Guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen
Do you have a hard time concentrating on one thing? Do you check your Instagram or snapchat first thing in the morning? Do you seem to lose track of time? Do you panic if you lose or forget your phone? Do you take the phone into the bathroom with you? If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions you may have a cyber addiction. This can have a negative effect on your health and life without realizing it. These habits can contribute to ADHD, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Discover the Real
Being online can feel like an escape from your emotions, but it’s not, because it’s not real. Some people put more value on the experience they create online than what they encounter in real life. The danger is that you can become immersed and sucked into the online presence they created instead of what’s truly real. That turns into an attachment to a fantasy. If you can relate to this, take small steps to reduce your time online and replace that reduced time with true human engagement. You can start with calling someone you’ve known for a while but only engaged with them through social media. Commit to finding real connections with people in your life and find ways to deepen those connections without technology.
How to Unplug
Disengaging and limiting your screen-time is easier said than done. So, what steps can you take to help you unplug from your smartphone?
Give yourself a list of things you must do before you get online. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do:
- Read 3 chapters of a book
- Create something – draw, compose a song, write a poem, write a short story
- Practice playing an instrument
- Play a board game with a friend or sibling
- Take a dance class
- Create a new hair style without recording it
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle
- Meet a friend at Starbucks
You may be damaging your mental health while missing out on life by needing to see what’s happening online instead of connecting with the people right in front of you. It will still be there when you look an hour or two from later. I promise it will (unless you’re on snapchat ????) Until then……Find your balance.