Mobile phones are the most commonly used method of communication. In 2019, communications regulator Ofcom reported that the use of landlines in the UK had decreased by almost half in the previous six years. Mobiles? Well, their demand had grown grown tenfold. Mobile phones have become crucial to staying connected, regardless of exactly how we use them to connect to people. And it’s important to try and have a healthy relationship with them
The need to stay in contact is something that’s never felt more important than in the past year. So it’s no surprise, really, that our reliance on our phones is on the increase. They offer a great many benefits, but it’s important to ensure that we maintain a healthy relationship with using them. As it’s World Health Day this week (7th April), we put together this guide to having a healthy relationship with your phone.
Organise your apps
It might sound simplistic but keeping our mobile phone home screen tidy and clear can have a big impact on how we use it. Group apps into folders to minimise screen clutter. Only keep what’s most important on your default home screen and store the rest on secondary pages. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ might sound like either avoidance or an age-old cliché, but it’s a quick and easy way to cut down on visible distractions.
Spring clean your social media
To have a healthy relationship with your phone, you need to have a healthy relationship with how you use it. Social media can bring us down as much as it boosts us up, so it’s important to make sure you’re using it in a healthy way. Unfollow accounts that make you feel inferior. If you don’t want to unfollow, then most social media networks have a mute feature. This will prevent accounts from showing in your newsfeed without removing the connection.
Manage your notifications
Simple, but effective. Managing which apps have permission to send notifications can dramatically change how we use our mobile phones. Switching off notifications for shopping apps, mobile games, or social media can go a huge way towards preventing our phones from being a distraction. Settings can even be customised to per app to prevent alerts and sounds but allow badges (notification dots that appear on app icons). That way you can avoid distracting notifications while still being able to see when notifications are there.
Take some time to switch off
It could be setting your phone aside for a time before you sleep at night and/or first thing when you wake in the morning. It could be not using your phone while you’re commuting, having lunch, or watching TV/films. You can also put restrictions on your phone or on certain apps to limit the amount you use them. It could even be taking phone free days.
Whatever method you choose to take, making sure you spend time away from your mobile phone is key to a good screen/life balance. Avoid the seemingly inevitable endless social media scroll. Get a good night’s rest without the distraction of the blue light of your phone screen. Take some time for yourself that won’t be interrupted by notifications.
Prioritise your positivity
At the end of the day, our mobile phones exist for our best use. Find what makes you positive. That could mean following puppy accounts on Instagram (Apple / Android), keeping active with workout regimens from Courtney Black (Apple / Android), or making the most of mental health apps like Calm (Apple / Android) or Headspace (Apple / Android). Putting our time on our phones to positive use is one of the best things we can do to create a healthy life/screen balance.
When it comes to our relationships with our phones, there is no real right or wrong way to utilise the technology. It’s simply a matter of finding the best way that suits you. While it’s important to remain connected, it’s important to take time for ourselves too.