Dealing with digital stress - Tip Sheet
- You can’t do everything. Think about the things that are most important to you (School? Work? Family? Hobbies?) and make sure to put those first.
- Make a to-do list of things you need to do and use a planner to keep track of them. Prioritize the list by putting the most important things first.
- Put your digital devices to work for you by using calendar apps to remind you before things are supposed to be done.
- Decide ahead of time when you’re going to check social media. Do it at specific times (on the bus, during your commute, for example, or when you’ve finished a specific task) rather than whenever you feel like it. If going a long time without checking is hard for you, start by going a shorter time and then make it a bit longer every day.
Changing Habits and Attitudes
- Don’t compare yourself to people you see online – including your friends. Remember that people usually just post their good news and their best pics online – and a lot of people edit their photos and use filters to make them look as good as possible.
- Be where you are, when you are. When you’re doing something fun, enjoy it. Don’t worry about getting pictures of it or worrying about what other people will think of it.
- Accept that you can’t be there for everything – even virtually. Trying to keep tabs on everything will just stress you out and remember that it’s okay to not always respond to messages and notifications immediately.
- Don’t take it personally. Odds are, your friends aren’t posting things to make you jealous. They’re most likely trying to make themselves and their lives look good..
- Be honest. You may feel like people expect you to only share positive things, but research has shown that people are actually happier – and get more emotional support from others – when they are honest about how they present themselves online.
Making Time for Rest and Reflection
- When you’re not using your devices, turn off your notifications. You can’t relax when your phone is always pinging or buzzing, or when you’re anticipating possible notifications.
- Play a game of “phone stack” with your friends: when you’re hanging out together, everyone puts their phones (or any other digital device) in a pile. Whoever can last longest without picking theirs up wins!
- Log out of all your social networks and turn off your phone at bedtime – totally off. Keep your phone outside of your bedroom, and use an old-school alarm clock. Not only will you be better rested, but there’s no chance of “sleep-texting” something silly or embarrassing!
- Schedule time that doesn’t include school, work and screens. Research has shown that even ten minutes of “unitasking” – doing things like going for a walk, exercising, or spending time with a friend without distraction – can do a lot to relieve stress.
- Take an occasional vacation from social media and digital devices. If that sounds hard for you, start with one day a month, or even a shorter period of time like the hour leading up to bed time, and try to work up to one day a week or more.