31 Dec 7 Ways to Boost Your Digital Wellbeing for a Healthier 2019
It’s a brand new year. Are you thinking about all the healthy habits you’d like to get a handle on over the next twelve months? Weight loss, fitness, eating more healthily, drinking a little less maybe? Where does digital wellbeing fit on your list? With all of us now spending more time on screens than we are asleep, 2019 has to be the year that we all start to figure out how to live healthily and happily with screens.
Let’s make a resolution to make 2019 the year of digital wellbeing, and of building positive and mindful digital habits.
7 Ways To Boost Your Digital Wellbeing for a Healthier 2019
#1 Monitor your screen time (but don’t become obsessive)
2018 saw a proliferation of apps to monitor our time on screens in response to growing concerns about how much time we’re spending on them. It would be easy to get a tiny bit obsessive about these new stats in our lives, so remember that constantly checking an app to see how much time you spend on apps will somewhat defeat the point. We suggest using something like Apple’s Screentime to give you an initial benchmark on your current screen consumption then checking in again at the end of, say, a month. Rather like weighing yourself every day, checking your screen time every day could become counterproductive, and even lure you back in to some of your more unhelpful screen use (see #6 below). The idea is to see a gradual downward trend, not beat yourself up about it daily.
#2 Take lunch without a screen
If we could give you just one really helpful digital wellbeing resolution for 2019 it would be to use your lunch hour to get a break from screens and (ideally) get outside. But if the weather really doesn’t lend itself to al fresco lunching, don’t give up completely on making your break screen-free. A brief hiatus from all types of screens (yes, even your phone) will clear your head for the second part of your day and provide the blank headspace that creativity and problem-solving flourish in. Who knows, with ideas flooding in when you give them space, you may find that your screen-free lunch hours actually end up being the most productive part of the day?
#3 No screens when 1-2-1
Has 2018 seen you reach boiling point with family, friends and partners always being on their phones and tablets? Have you tried and failed to start a family digital detox? Make a start in 2019 by reflecting on your own screen use before you turn your attention to those you live (and maybe work), with. Nagging doesn’t work. But you can prompt changes in those around you just by changing your own habits; it’s called the ripple effect. Put your phone away when you’re talking one-to-one with anyone and, without even mentioning what you’re doing, you’ll see others take notice and follow suit. Our relationships are one of the biggest casualties of our screen overuse and this one move will help redress the balance.
#4 Spring clean your screen(s)
This is a digital wellbeing resolution you can do right away! Take a critical look at your phone and all the apps screaming out for your attention. How many do you really, really, use? Go through every folder and screen and delete all those that you downloaded once and never looked at again. Then organise apps into neat folders by name and set-up a hierarchy of usefulness. We suggest keeping tools on the home screen and time-wasting apps on second, third or last screens. If there are some you can’t bear to delete but you know cause you to waste hours online, move them to the second page of any folder. That way you can’t see the little icons winking up at you when you check your phone – out of sight, out of mind!
Do this screen tidying regularly. Think of it like cleaning your desk (because let’s face it, our phones are our desks now). A simple tidy once a week, a ruthless pruning once a month. We guarantee it’ll make your screen use more mindful – and more efficient.
#5 Charge your device in another room
We’ve told you before about not sleeping with your phone but this digital wellbeing resolution takes that one step further and into the daytime. You probably have your phone always charging right next to you, so even if you’re trying to work or relax at home it’s never more than a few centimetres away, are we right? Make a healthy habit in 2019 of always charging it in another room from you. Overnight this would mean it’s outside the bedroom door. During the day it could be in the kitchen while you’re in the sitting room, or vice versa. It’s all part of building in small boundaries between you and your device that give you valuable screen-free time to unwind.
#6 Ditch the digital junk
We love the digital world. We love all the tools that make us useful and productive. But if you’re honest you know that using online banking or checking your destination on Google Maps isn’t where you’re wasting hours of your day… In 2019 make a resolution to treat your digital diet like your food diet. The first step in consuming healthily is to make sure you know what your personal ‘digital junk food’ looks like. Is it social media? Is it email? Maybe dating apps? Identify your personal digital junk and make a resolution to cut down, saving your screentime for those apps and functions which genuinely add value.
#7 Text less – talk more
From baby births to exam results, from breakups to proposals, it seems no communication now is too important not to be reduced to a text. This final resolution is very simple; resolve to text less and talk more in 2019. Consciously pick up the phone for important conversations and do the same when text exchanges are taking the place of face-to-face conversations just a little too much. It’s easier of course, and quicker, to text. But the best things in life take time and effort – and rewarding relationships, on which our health and happiness depend, definitely fall into that camp.
With these seven digital wellbeing resolutions you’ll soon be on your way to a more healthy balance with technology in 2019. And if you need any further inspiration and ideas pick up either of our two books, Stop Staring at Screens and OFF. Both crammed full of ideas on how to live healthily with screens