Updated: Mar 13, 2020
How does your phone affect your wellbeing?
My phone is a love/hate device for me. I know I’m not alone when I say my relationship with my phone has a massive impact on my wellbeing. Sometimes it’s very positive – it helps me stay connected and facilitates so much of my work and play.
Sometimes my phone is my worst enemy. I can waste way too much time, fall into the trap of comparison and miss the precious here and now. As a general rule it’s not the phone that’s the issue– it’s what I’m doing and what’s driving me to do it.
If I’m on it later than usual and endlessly scrolling then that’s a warning sign. It can just be so compulsive though.
If you can relate to the compulsive pull of a device then here’s a few questions that may be helpful:
1. What are you looking for?
It's that simple - if you're reaching for your phone you're looking for "something". Find out what that something is and you're part way to taking back control. If I’ve spent a lot of time just me and the children there’s a good chance my reaching for the phone is actually a reach out for adult conversation or a little bit of space away from Cbeebies. Maybe work’s on my mind and I need a sense of taking action (regardless of whether it is actually a useful action).
2. When does your phone help you achieve what you’re looking for? When does it hinder this?
If I’m endlessly scrolling through social media then there’s a good chance I’m looking for connection, but not really engaging. There’s a high risk of slipping into feeling more isolated than connected and as if the rest of the world is clearly having so much more fun and connection than me. If I’m writing a message to a whatsapp group or texting an individual then I’m much more likely to be getting what I need. Sounds obvious? Obvious or not it’s a trap I fall into all too often.
3. What else gives you what you’re looking for?
If I’m looking for space sometimes 10 minutes reading a novel can give me way more of that than 10 mins on Facebook. If I want connection then sometimes it’s a sign it’s been too long since I saw my close friends. Sometimes there are much more helpful ways to get what I need and sometimes I just need to use my phone differently.
4. What boundaries do you need to have around your phone use to protect your wellbeing?
I have learned (the hard way) what kinds of breaks I need from my phone. How managing notifications, making use of airplane mode during family time keeping phones downstairs and having time boundaries around my phone use can make a huge difference. The boundaries that work for me are different to my husband’s, but he has his own set because for most of us these are pretty powerful devices.
My go to and reasons will be different to yours, but if you’ve spotted this post as you’re endlessly scrolling and you wonder about your phone use and wellbeing then ask yourself those questions and let me know how you get on.
How does your phone affect your wellbeing and what are your top tips for managing this?