How Digital Health Can Impact Your Mental Health, And What Apple Is Doing About It

Life is all about balance. I try not to eat strict all the time, but don’t want to eat junk food day in and day out; I don’t workout non-stop, but I don’t only have rest days…you get the point. Balance. But when it comes to our phones, are we able to maintain a balance?

It’s interesting though, because like most of you, I didn’t grow up with a phone. I got my first Nokia when I was 17 and no one else really had one. It was a black & white screen, you could play Snake on it, the ringtone was a bunch of beeps. It was a slow transition to becoming completely dependent on my phone, but that’s where I am now. And I took a poll asking “Are you addicted to your phone?” 80% of you said yes.

SAME. I use my phone all day, every day for work and personal use. Posting and interacting on social media, checking & responding to emails, and getting the latest news & content so I can stay up to date. Top that off with texting, keeping track of my calendar, listening to podcasts, getting directions…my alarm! I live on my phone, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. So when something has become so ingrained in your life, how you even recognize if you’re abusing it?

At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled their new Digital Health initiative that will be part of the iOS12 update (available in the Fall). Users can expect better Do Not Disturb controls and better notification control, as well as a weekly activity summary. As part of Digital Health, you’ll be able to set limits on whatever apps you’re using too much, which may be may favorite feature. I don’t wanna know how much time I spend (read: waste) over the course of a week on Instagram’s search section (or whatever that part of the Gram is that steals my day). I know it’s too much, but seeing is believing and I want that number in front of me. Especially because I can easily go to set my alarms before bed and end up scrolling through all my social media for the next hour. It is a self control issue, but mostly  it’s an awareness issue. And I’m happy to have a new tool to help me be more aware of where and how I’m spending my time.

Currently, I force myself to go on social media breaks for an extended time, generally for a weekend sporadically or during an actual vacation. I notice a positive impact on my mental health after the extended breaks. I feel lighter and more in control. Have you forced a social media break? Or even a break from your phone entirely? How has it impacted you?

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