Ten ways to cope with digital stress

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Cyber crime.

While technology has brought many benefits, such as facilitating online learning, allowing for remote work opportunities, social engagement and entertainment, among others, it has also contributed to increased stress levels. The fact that Internet never sleeps make things even worse. If you are feeling tired, lethargic and lack motivation, take a break with these tips.

1. Switch off from work

According to a recent survey, being constantly accessible for work was the number one source of technology-related stress for participants, and nearly a quarter spent more time working because of it.

It’s important to set boundaries in terms of when our working day begins and ends.

Try turning off your email notifications and only check your emails at certain times of the day.

Decide on the last time you will allow yourself to check your email, and send out any last minute replies… and then let everything else wait until morning.

If you are worried what people might think, you could try setting up an auto-reply explaining when you will be checking your emails.

This is becoming an increasingly common practice that people are using to manage their well-being.

2. Plan your time

You can’t do everything. Make a to-do list of things you need to do and use a planner to keep track of them. Prioritise 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. 

3. Have important conversations face-to-face

The challenge of communicating primarily by email, social media sites or text messaging is that it can be difficult to detect tone or meaning in the same way as in a face-to-face conversation.

Therefore, misunderstandings can easily arise. It is also more common to have to wait for a reply, which can cause prolonged stress and anxiety.

To avoid unnecessary drama and stress, try to have important conversations face-to-face.

Make sure to follow Covid-19 social distance guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health. 

4. Don’t feel pressured to have it all

Although it may be tempting to purchase the latest mobile phone or iPod, or to set up an account for every social media site going, remember that technology is meant to be there to enhance your life not detract you from it, and if it is causing you stress, then it is not doing its job.

So, try to stick to what you find useful and don’t feel under pressure to keep up with trends.

If you do need to know about certain digital devices for your job or because you think it will enhance your life, take a course or ask someone to show you how to use it rather than letting it overwhelm you.

5. Be selective with your contacts

Being inundated with messages or reading constant social media updates from people who cause you stress in any way can easily ruin your mood.

Therefore, it can be helpful to be selective about who you are available to and when.

Many of us feel obliged to accept all social media friend requests and hand over our personal contact details when asked, but only do this if you want to.

Also, if you don’t want to be constantly available to co-workers, set up accounts just for communicating with colleagues, which you can check as and when you want to.

6. Have a digital detox

Many of us spend a vast percentage of our day connected to the Internet or texting on our mobile phones.

However, this can cause us to miss out on many everyday sources of pleasure, such as conversations with the people around us.

To help cut stress and make time for more worthwhile activities, try to have a digital detox.

Spend a weekend, a day or afternoon (whatever you can handle) without any technology and live in the real world instead.

Listen to the birds singing rather than your iPod, take in the view rather than tapping away at your phone, and call someone for a conversation rather than chatting on WhatsApp.

When you get back to your computer or phone, you will notice that the world didn’t stop because you turned it off for a while and there was probably nothing to stress about after all.

7. Develop meaningful connections

Isolation in the digital world contributes to stress, so make an effort to develop meaningful connections with others outside of social media. This will take some effort at first, but it’s worth it.

8. Stay away from any technology before bed

Not only can your mood be affected by technology, but it can also affect your sleep patterns. This will affect your mood in the long run, as the lack of sleep will lead to tiredness, irritability, and wear down your immune system. 

9. Have self-confidence

Developing your self-confidence can also help to combat stress and the feelings of low self-worth that the digital world, especially social media can create.

Low self-esteem can manifest as depression, anxiety, addiction, and other issues, but building your self-confidence can have a much more positive effect on your mental health.

Focus on goals that you want to achieve and visualise yourself achieving them.

This technique can be empowering and leave you feeling more confident in your potential and in your abilities.

10. Get professional help

Talking with a professional counsellor or therapist can help you learn additional ways to cope with digital stress.

A counsellor can give you stress coping tools tailored to your individual situation and challenges.

Your counsellor can also advise you on unique challenges, such as dealing with mental health issues like social anxiety, since these issues can further complicate how you cope with stress.

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