Managing digital burnout in an online world

It’s not news that our world has been digital for quite a few years now. But the COVID-19 global pandemic pushed everything further in that direction. Now, happy hours are through a screen. Friends and family group calls are happening on the daily. And Zoom is suddenly one of the most used platforms. But with almost every interaction happening in online spaces, many are experiencing digital burnout: a feeling of exhaustion and overwhelm that comes with being connected and online all the time. Here’s how to manage digital burnout without swearing off technology altogether. 

Make your online time meaningful

Aim for quality over quantity. While it might seem like a good idea to take part in every single video get-together, happy hour, trivia night, or quick chat, overdoing it might result in faster digital burnout. It’s natural for the brain to get bored and tired of repeating the same activities over and over again. Try to vary the types of activities you and your loved ones choose to do, to keep things fresh and fun. And don’t be afraid to say no to an invite! Taking a break will allow you to be fully present during the next virtual meet-up. If you’re looking to get to know your friends or family on a deeper level, try these fun group therapy activities. They’ll help you connect and feel closer while you can’t physically be together. 

Step away from screens

 Many people went from office life to working from home full-time without warning. As a result, many have had a hard time adjusting, setting boundaries, and knowing when to take a break. Think about it — the office gives you natural opportunities to break. In those moments when someone comes to visit you at your desk, or you chat with a colleague in the kitchen while you grab an afternoon coffee, you’re taking a pause from your work and your screens. These social pauses were organic, and something we didn’t have to plan for or think about. Now that we’re at home, try to replicate this by scheduling breaks to get the full benefits of less screen time. Not only will you avoid overwork and burnout, but your eyes will thank you for it. If you’re having a super busy day and can’t step away, try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet or more away from your screen, and let your eyes rest for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a chance to relax and avoid strain. 

Find moments to pause

Yes, everything has shifted to digital. But there are still little gems in our daily lives that bring opportunity to be fully present. For example, the time you spend making breakfast. As you’re preparing the food, use sensory mindfulness to bring yourself into the present moment. How does it feel to prepare your meal? Is the cutlery cold to the touch? What about the bowl or plate? What can you smell? Are the colors vibrant or dull? Moments like these are anchors that we can take advantage of to tune into our bodies and set the right intentions for the rest of the day. So if you find small moments of downtime, try to put your devices away and be fully here. Even if it’s just for a moment. 

Beating digital burnout

Digital burnout was a reality for many, even before the pandemic. So it’s no surprise that a lot of us are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of time we’re having to spend online for work, and to fulfill basic needs like connection and interaction. But with the right boundaries in place, it’s possible to create a balance between online and offline life. If you’re not sure where to begin, or you’d like guided support in identifying and setting your boundaries, Wellin5 can help. You’ll be matched with an experienced therapist to meet your specific needs. Get started today.