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It goes without saying that the past 18 months have been very difficult, and while we have spent a lot of time indoors, perhaps we’ve had some time to reflect inwards and identify the things that make us happy, and the things that cause us stress.

One thing that can sometimes have a negative impact on how we feel is consuming too much junk – and by junk, we don’t mean food. How many hours a day do you spend scrolling through social media accounts, online newspapers and watching TV shows, all the while absorbing content that leaves you feeling a little less happy than before?

While it’s of course essential that we stay in touch with the world around us – and watch at home gym fails videos – at what point are you consuming too much of the negative stuff?

Fernwood Fitness resident wellness guru and Accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor Emma says that while social media, television shows and other screen-related activities can help people to unwind, too much screen time could lead to negative impacts on our health and wellbeing.

Emma says too much screen time, and negative screen time, can affect our sleep, our self-esteem, lead to unhealthy and unhelpful comparison behaviour, highlight reels and so on. “Balance is key” she says, and adds we need to practice discipline.

“Some people have addictive traits and find that habitually they are reaching for their phone, or start to crave screen time, which is why it’s so important to spend time away from your screen,” Emma says.

So, how can we scale back how much junk content we consume? 

  1. Set yourself digital detox goals and limit your daily/weekly screen time
  2. Leave the phone at home or on silent when exercising
  3. Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good, and follow accounts with positive and uplifting energy
  4. Ask the question – does this add value to my life?
  5. Replace screens with other activities you enjoy - books, puzzles, podcasts, crafts, DIY projects
  6. Focus on self-care and empowering behaviour

For people living in lockdown and restricted locations, read more about how to stay connected during this time.

The content in this blog is for general information only. It does not take into consideration your personal or health conditions. Always consult your GP, medical specialist, or mental health specialist, for health-related advice.

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