Picture this scenario: It’s already past midnight and it’s time to go to bed since you need to wake up early in the morning. And yet, your eyes and your thumbs are still glued to your phone screen, scrolling and scrolling away. The following morning right after you wake up, you reach out for your phone beside the bed and check what’s new on social media. Such an act has a specific term and it’s called doomscrolling.
What Is Doomscrolling?
According to NPR, doomscrolling has existed since late 2018 but the term only gained popularity this year due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both the term and the pandemic are related since people spend more time quarantined at home. And with fewer activities going on than usual, (most) of us would rely on our smartphones to keep us company, which also include endlessly scrolling through social media feeds (e.g. Facebook) or news sites.
Even though there’s nothing wrong with constantly staying informed about what’s going on daily, doing so in an obsessive manner can take a toll on your mental health in the long run. If you do not want to make this a bad habit, here are the 5 Tips For Dealing With Doomscrolling.
1) Keep Your Phone Out Of Sight
Limit your activity of checking your phone is one of the many ways to curb doomscrolling. For instance, if you are going to bed at night, it’s best to charge or leave your phone, say on the other side of the room or far from your arm’s reach. Doing so would minimise the habit or temptation to doomscrolling your phone when you are supposed to be sleeping.
2) Set A Time Limit On Facebook Usage
It goes without saying that Facebook can trigger the effect of doomscrolling if you are not careful with it. And that is mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook wall, where you encounter negative news and such. Fortunately, you can try setting a time limit on your daily Facebook usage. Simply look for the icon that has 3 horizontal lines on the top right corner of the Facebook wall on your phone. Tap on that icon and scroll down to “Settings & Privacy”. From there, drop down the menu and you will find “Your time on Facebook” with a clock icon by the side. Click on it and you can customise your time on Facebook such as “Manage your time” and “Control your notifications”. For instance, the former allows you to set “Quiet Mode” for muting most push notifications. You can even set “Daily time reminder” where you can adjust the number of hours and minutes accordingly.
3) Download Apps That Block Distractions
Here’s another way you can do to prevent doomscrolling. Download an app where it blocks websites and apps as well as allows you to set time limits. Some of the recommended apps you can consider downloading it on your phone are Freedom (Google Play | iOS), AppBlock (Google Play) and Stay Focused (Google Play).
4) Do Not Rely On Phone Alarms
Remember the good old days where the alarm clock used to be a must-have tool to wake you up early in the morning? Well, if you still have an alarm clock stashed in a box somewhere, it’s time to reconsider using it. But if you do not have one, simply purchase one of them. Sure, your phone alone is more than enough since it has a built-in alarm clock function. But if you have the habit of doomscrolling, you will probably be spending some time checking social media in the morning. By using a traditional alarm clock regardless of analogue or digital, you are basically setting boundaries with your phone. Not to mention doing so means you effectively keep your phone away from the bed.
5) Keep Yourself Busy With Something Productive
Boredom is among the problems commonly associated with doomscrolling. And more so during the current COVID-19 pandemic where we spend most of our time at home. But don’t let boredom turn into an excuse of having your thumbs scrolling endlessly through social media feeds. Just because certain activities (e.g. going to the cinema or travelling overseas) are prohibited at the time of COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything productive even if you are mostly homebound.
Exercise is highly recommended too since not only it helps to reduce stress but also promote serotonin levels a.k.a. the feel-good hormone in your brain.