The average American spends somewhere between 5 and 6 hours each and every day staring directly at their smartphone. During that time, they spend about 2.5 hours poking around on social media.
With these statistics in mind, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that digital fatigue has started to set in for many people in this country. They’ve begun to cram so much screen time into their days that they’re suffering from mental exhaustion by the time they’re over.
If your device use has gotten out of control, you should learn more about what digital fatigue is. You should also discover ways in which you can aim to overcome it so that you don’t have to deal with its consequences.
We’ve created a guide on digital fatigue to help you understand it and prevent it from taking too big of a toll on you. Check it out below.
What Is Digital Fatigue?
To steer clear of suffering from digital fatigue, you’ll need to know what it is. So let’s kick things off there in our discussion on it.
Digital fatigue is a form of mental exhaustion that sets in when you spend too much time looking at a digital screen. Whether it be your smartphone, your tablet, your computer, or some combination of all these things, your mental health will take a hit when you’re constantly fixated on a screen.
Most people know digital fatigue can be harmful. But in this day and age, it can be very difficult to avoid it. People tend to spend their days on their devices doing everything from responding to work emails to staying connected with their family members and friends through text messages.
As a result, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to hear about how many people are dealing with digital fatigue right now and worse off because of it. One recent survey found that about one-third of young people, in particular, recognize that they feel worse when they spend too much time online during the day.
What Are the Symptoms of Digital Fatigue?
Have you noticed your eyes feel like they’re burning at the end of most days? This is one of the most common signs of digital fatigue. Digital eye strain can wreak havoc on your eyes and make them hurt so much.
But this is only one of the many symptoms associated with digital fatigue. There are also lots of others you’ll have to look out for, including:
- Stiff neck and back
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble focusing
In your mind, you might think you’re doing what’s best for your body and brain by giving in to your urges to stay connected through your devices. But the symptoms of digital fatigue listed here will tell you otherwise.
How Can You Overcome Digital Fatigue?
We aren’t going to lie to you: Overcoming digital fatigue in 2023 is not going to be easy. When you first try to overcome it, you might find that you’ll have almost constant FOMO. You’ll be afraid of missing out on all the fun things that are happening online.
But as time goes on, you should start to see all the benefits that’ll come along with disconnecting from the digital world. You’ll feel less digital fatigue, and it’ll improve your health in a variety of ways. For example, your eyes won’t burn so much, and your neck will feel looser than it has in years.
Here are some of the ways in which you can try to overcome digital fatigue once and for all.
Take Breaks From Your Devices
Of all the suggestions we’re about to make, this one is easily going to be the most difficult to follow when you’re trying to fight back against digital fatigue. Most people will struggle to put down their smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. for more than a few minutes at a time.
But if you’re going to beat digital fatigue, it’ll be imperative that you find ways to take breaks from your devices. At first, these can be short breaks that only last for a few minutes. But as time goes on, you should be able to put yourself in a position to go for at least a few hours without picking up a device.
Wear Blue-Light Glasses
Taking breaks from your devices doesn’t mean you have to stop using them altogether. You can still continue to use your devices during certain times of the day. You just shouldn’t be on them all the time.
And when you are on them, you should do what you can to stop the blue light that comes from them doing damage to your eyes. A good way to do this is by investing in a pair of blue-light glasses.
These glasses will stop the blue light from your devices from working its way into your eyes. It’ll reduce headaches, digital eye strain, and the visual fatigue that will often set in after you spend hours on your devices.
How often have you looked around at, say, the supermarket and seen everyone standing in line playing on their smartphones? Most people will turn to their phones to keep them occupied when they’re forced to wait in line for almost anything.
It might be impossible for you to avoid using your phone when you’re standing in line at times. But you should try to skip using your phone in some of these instances and instead work on living in the moment.
Practice mindfulness the next time you’re waiting in a line and see where it takes you. It’ll give you a much-needed break from your phone, and you might be surprised to see where it takes your brain.
Stop Staring at Yourself
When you’re on something like a Zoom call for work, are you locked into what’s going on? Or are you looking at yourself on screen?
A lot of people get caught up looking at themselves, and believe it or not, this can cause digital fatigue. They won’t be paying attention like they should be and moving their eyes around to prevent them from straining.
You should keep this in mind if you’re going to be holding some kind of digital event. If this event drags on for too long, you’ll run the risk of people tuning out and sitting there staring at themselves instead of focusing on what’s happening during your event.
This list of virtual event engagement ideas might really come in handy.
Create Boundaries and Stick to Them
Once upon a time, people with 9-to-5 jobs worked from, well, 9-to-5. But that isn’t always the case anymore.
It isn’t uncommon at all for people to be glued to their devices after business hours. They’ll stay busy at night checking their work emails and responding to them accordingly.
If this is what you’re being paid to do, you’re welcome to keep on doing it. But generally speaking, you’ll need to set some clear boundaries when it comes to your work schedule and stick to it.
If your job only requires you to work from 9-to-5, you shouldn’t spend all your nights sitting on your smartphone answering emails and putting in work you aren’t technically being paid for. Outside of stressing you out, this is also going to increase the amount of digital fatigue you feel.
Interact With Other People In-Person
There are a lot of people who will blame their digital fatigue on their need for connection. They’ll say that they can’t stop playing on their smartphones and other devices because it’s how they communicate with the people who are most important to them.
You shouldn’t stop interacting with these people. But you also shouldn’t do it solely in the digital realm. You should get into the habit of asking your family members and friends to meet up in person so that you can communicate in that way.
When you’re surrounded by other people, you’ll be a lot less likely to spend so much time staring at your devices. You’ll also find that the temptation to reach for your smartphone will be greatly reduced because of all the socializing you’ll be doing.
Stop Letting Digital Fatigue Keep You Down
Many people have unfortunately come to terms with the fact that digital fatigue is going to be a part of their lives. But you should know your life doesn’t have to include digital fatigue.
You can stop digital fatigue from dragging you down by identifying what’s causing it and taking steps to minimize the impact it’s having on you. By doing these things, you should start to feel healthier in a physical and mental sense in no time.
If you’d like to learn other ways to improve your health, read through more of our health-related articles.