Social distancing has kept us physically separated, but technology has led to more connection than ever. Texts, emails, Zoom/video chats, tweets, and live news conferences are at an all-time high. Internet hits have surged by up to 70%, and streaming has jumped by at least 30% worldwide. The ability to connect online may seem like a good thing, yet there is a potential cost: Our relationship with technology may be negatively affecting our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
If you find yourself numbing or distracting yourself with technology, you may have become stuck in a vicious cycle of unhealthy behavior and emotional distress. This includes binge-watching movies and TV, incessantly watching and reading news focused on the pandemic. These activities perpetuate anxiety and depression. Another form of compulsive behavior that has surged during this time is online shopping, especially for items you may not even need. Plus, staying up late to engage in these online behaviors doesn’t allow the body to fully rest and recover — both are crucial to well-being, especially in the COVID-19 crisis.
Consider ways to be a more discerning consumer of technology in terms of purpose, content, and frequency, with the goal of mental and emotional health. Examples may be reaching out to others online for support. Or engaging in activities that promote a sense of purpose and meaning, as well as relaxation. And using news sources that provide up-to-date, scientifically sound information based on the best available research.
Read about reducing technology dependence: Tech Detox