Go on a digital diet – Health News Today

By Prakriti Poddar

We must use devices wisely as they’re increasingly becoming a source of anxiety

COVID-19 has made social distancing the norm, and the majority of us are becoming increasingly dependent on digital technology to navigate our way through our daily lives. Being pushed into an uncertain future, we are spending more time to connect, work, shop, keep ourselves informed and even entertained using our gadgets.

While a digitally mediated life can keep you safe from the risk of infection, too much exposure to it can affect your mental health. There has been a lot of awareness raised about the impact of exposing oneself to negatively-hyped social media and news. The more information you receive, the more insufferable the pandemic becomes. We have seen people feel hopeless and helpless as a result of all the information they absorb, and this may lead to deeper mental health issues.

Fake news and conspiracy theories can induce fear and fear leads us to either fight, freeze, fold or flight, each causing different reactions. If you are a fighter, the information on digital feeds will help you take action in serving others, thereby limiting your online time. If flight is your reaction, it may minimise your understanding of the situation, and make you label all those people who are being cautious about the inputs they receive, as reckless. It may escalate your reaction to a point where you might put yourself and others in danger. If you freeze, you will lock yourself down; and if you fold, you will need support to uplift your mental health. But all these are reactions. What we need are responses — wellthought – out and sensible responses to the current situation.

To keep your digital activity healthy during this lockdown, here’s a ‘digital diet’ to follow:

Take control

It is natural to feel powerless and scared in the face of a pandemic, but you can use digital technology to regain control and give yourself a degree of autonomy over your life. This is critical, as a sense of control promotes emotional wellbeing. So think about ways in which you can use digital technology to help you do it. It can be something as simple as using the technology at hand to make plans, manage your schedule, organise activities with others, and even do online shopping at websites where you get to exert greater choice. The key is to use digital technology actively instead of letting yourself get passively guided by algorithms. Think of digital technology as a tool that allows you to extend your autonomy and makes it possible for you to develop strategies to cope better. For instance, you can consider limiting passive screen time and balance passive viewing with more interactive screen time — playing educational games, making YouTube videos, coding a website — where you are in control.

Reconnect with others

While social distancing is good for your physical health, the isolation is not good for your mental wellbeing. Use this opportunity to digitally…