Living in the digital era can mean regularly consuming everything the online world throws at you. Over time, we’ve carefully curated an online space that has become our haven. However, now that most of us are in lockdowns, we’ve begun excessively using our phones to pass the time.
Our phones play a pivotal role in impacting our mental health. In fact, for some of us, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. The digital world is undoubtedly addictive. Especially now that we’re ‘social distancing,’ we’re keener on maintaining that psychological intimacy with others, through our phones.
However, our oblivious reliance may be causing a hindrance to our mental health. A recent study found that excessive use of phones can lead to higher chances of depression and anxiety in users. While phones at times can be our way to destress with various forms of entertainment, it can also cause you to overthink, compare, or even doubt yourself for unrelated reasons.
Nevertheless, you can control what’s on your phone or how it impacts you. You don’t need to engage in mindless scrolling, or continue replying to those that make you feel a little unhappy, or have items on your phone solely for ‘old times sake.’
Here are five ways to declutter your phone quickly:
Over the last couple of months, I’d formed pages full of apps that I barely even used. A long list of unused photography apps, games I’d never played, or random apps downloaded at events. Not only did they take up storage, but they just sat there, filling up my screen with clutter. This clutter just made my mind feel ‘busy’ as if I had to be doing something always. I also didn’t realize that I’d become an app hoarder. Trust me, the answer to your “wait what if I need this?” question is that you don’t. Chances are you won’t even remember you had the app in the first place – and if you do need it, then download it again.
Some of my friends might hate me for this one, but I ALWAYS have my notifications switched off for every single app. It honestly makes my day so much better. I no longer deal with the constant spring of notifications that would compete for my attention. I’d always have an urge to check a minor update, which led me to overconsuming information I didn’t need to be concerned about. If I’d accidentally read something even slightly upsetting, it just led me to develop an anxious state of mind of overthinking and self-pity. Most importantly, my ‘occupied’ mind caused my productivity to dwindle. So, I blocked the notifications and haven’t looked back since.
Delete old texts
Deleting texts can be difficult, especially if you’re the type to reminisce about old memories with friends. However, it’s time to remove old texts that are filled with conversations that made you feel awful or had strings of negativity attached. Delete texts with people that are no longer in your life, or to those you’ve stopped talking to. You don’t need to fill any part of your day reading a conversation that happened weeks, months, or even years ago, with someone who’s hurt you! It’s time to let go. Be honest, and ask yourself if there’s even a reason to keep those texts.
Do what you need to do to declutter your social media platforms. You’re not obligated to follow anyone you don’t want to – yes, that includes some of your friends too. If someone’s content doesn’t make you feel good when you see their posts, then it’s okay to eliminate that from your space. And it doesn’t have to be a big deal. They shouldn’t change who they are, or the type of content they create that makes them happy – and likewise, you don’t need to continue immersing yourself in the content you’re not interested in! If you’re afraid to unfollow or unfriend, restrict their content. Take the time to go through your following list, and ask yourself the type of content you want to see, or whether or not these pages bring you any form of positivity or happiness.
This can also mean choosing who you want to see your posts – if you find yourself overthinking about how certain people will react, then remove them. It’s your page, and you shouldn’t have to overthink about the content you want to create.
Over the past two years, I’ve accumulated 11,000+ photos and 2000+ videos. Anyone who knows me knows my little habit of over-capturing moments. I am definitely attached to my photo album. I’d always believed that photos were meant to be saved, and the idea of deleting these ‘memories’ (good or bad) shouldn’t have to be deleted. WRONG. It’s time to do a little deleting of events, places, people that no longer make you feel happy. You want to FEEL good when you look back on memories. Taking a look at random snapshots of unhappy times may cause you to feel anxious or put you in a bad mood. There’s no need to save these for the ‘old time sake.’ Save the good memories for that.
Decluttering your phone may also help you be a little more productive, but more importantly, it’ll allow you to be unfettered in your online space. You don’t need to be held back by old, unenjoyable memories or content you have no interest in. Decluttering your online space may help declutter your mental space too.