For people, younger than a certain age, the idea that people weren’t tethered to some kind of device seems an unthinkable concept. When the phone rang, and we weren’t there to answer it, the answering machine was there and we picked up the message when we got back home or to the office.
You might think of these technological conveniences as something that simplifies your life, but is that really the case? Our smartphones and tablets seem to be an extension of us these days. Sometimes having all this technology at your fingertips can make you feel really overwhelmed and like it’s one more thing to deal with. When you’re already experiencing symptoms like anxiety and brain fog or you struggle with your memory and concentration, this can only add to the problem.
You’ve become accustomed to answering calls and texts immediately. Letting a call go to voicemail is a foreign concept these days. Even though we often communicate mainly with texts now, you are pressured to respond straight away because they can see when you’ve read it!! I know I’m guilty of checking if someone has read my message and then wondering why they haven’t deigned to respond yet despite reading it an hour and a half ago!
How do you get a balance?
I hate being told I should detox from technology and social media. That doesn’t work for me. I get pleasure and enjoyment from using it and it also makes my life easier. Telling me to stop or detox just isn’t practical. And also, I don’t want to! You might feel the same?
Now that I live in a different country from most of my friends, social media is the main way I keep in touch with people. I also like to keep in touch with what’s going on in the world via social media.
I’m a bit fed up with this all-or-nothing mentality or being made to feel that I can’t be looking after myself properly if I check FB and Instagram a few times a day.
It’s all about balance. If you feel like you do spend too much time on social media or using technology and want to make time for other stuff, consider setting some boundaries.
I mean it is well known that using your phone or tablet in bed just before sleeping, isn’t great for your sleep quality. If insomnia or sleep problems are a symptom for you, you should maybe consider leaving your phone in another room. If you use it as your alarm, consider getting an actual alarm clock (remember those?!) or be firm with yourself just don’t look at it for an hour or so before bed and then carry it to bed but leave it lying face down and don’t look at it. With iPhones, you can also set Do Not Disturb settings so you don’t get notifications between certain hours.
If you’re always rushing around in the mornings because you haven’t slept well or you woke up feeling anxious, maybe don’t check your phone until after you’ve left for work or until you’ve done certain tasks such as got showered and dressed and prepped your stuff for the day. Pick your phone up as you have breakfast or coffee. Prioritise and get the stuff done that needs to be done first.
If you worry about checking and responding to emails and messages, you could set yourself some easy boundaries around this. You could start by turning off notifications for messages. You can also adjust your email settings by turning off push notifications. This means you will only see new emails when you go into your emails and refresh them. These tips can make you much more efficient as well as less anxious about checking and responding regularly. You can then set yourself designated times to check emails and messages throughout the day. For example, when I’m working, I usually have a break at around 11am. I then check my emails and my phone for messages. If it’s things I can quickly respond to, I do it there and then, if not, I’ll flag the email to deal with later, or I’ll make a mental note to respond to a message later on. Doing this also makes you much more focused on whatever it is you’re doing throughout the day.
Is technology working for you?
Technology is billed as making our lives easier and more efficient but how is it working for you? Is it stressing you out? Is it robbing you of time?
Apparently, most people with a smartphone, have, on average, 60 – 90 apps on their phone! I just counted mine and I have 107! ? Have a good look through all the apps you have on your phone. Do you really use them all?
Think about deleting the ones you don’t really use. I reckon you’ll easily delete at least half a dozen when you have a good look through them. I just deleted 10 straight away as they’ve been there ages and I just don’t use them.
Next, think about your notifications. We’re almost like Pavlov’s dogs when it comes to smartphone alerts! We see or hear it and we just automatically check it. Think about whether you actually need all the notifications on for all of the apps. This is easy to manage in your notification settings. For example, with me, I turned off notifications on apps I use but only occasionally such as my currency converter, Shazam, Skyscanner and Booking.com. I then set most of the others to banner alerts rather than badge alerts. It really bugs and stresses me seeing the badge with the number of notifications in it. I may have an element of OCD because I just can’t relax when I know I have those badge notifications (please don’t judge).
Think about how your technology can work for you instead of against you. Brain fog and problems with concentration are common for lots of women during menopause. Use your technology to declutter your mind by letting it do some of the work such as reminders for tasks or things you need to do such as taking medication, remembering to drink water or get up and stretch. You can keep to-do lists on your phone. I always have a running shopping list. When I think of something I need to buy with the shopping at the weekend, I add it to my list. It also has the added benefit in that I never forget my shopping list when I leave the house! I do all my banking and finances on my phone. I can now even pay a cheque into my account from my app!
If you’re out and about and see something you need to remember, snap a photo of it instead of trying to remember or making a note. It’s much quicker and easy to delete once you’ve actioned or dealt with it.
Use apps to track your health. I use the Balance app to track my symptoms which is really useful. I also use the Apple Health app to track periods and other data such as my exercise.
I also use technology for leisure stuff. I don’t actually own a CD anymore. Instead, I have an Apple Music subscription so all my music and podcasts can be accessed on all my devices. I also have a couple of games for playing when I’m sat somewhere boring such as the dentist waiting room! I also have a couple of apps for learning French too. They’re great for dipping in and out when I have a spare few mins. Google maps are like having your own little sat nav in your pocket. It’s also handy if you’re somewhere unfamiliar and need to look for a café, a petrol station or a toilet.
So, you see, there are loads of ways technology and social media can work for you as long as you can get the balance right and decide how it works best for you.
Do you have any tips to share on how you manage technology and social media or do you think it’s ruinous and we should try to avoid it? Or have you found that it helps you when you’re dealing with life and menopause symptoms on top of everything else? Let me know in the comments below.