Whether you work from home or the office, the threat of digital burnout is real. Overexposure to social media and digital media is causing many adults to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. The negative effects of prolonged technology use are often overlooked, but they can have serious and long-lasting consequences. Today, we’ll give you a few reliable tips for preventing digital burnout in the modern age.

What is Digital Burnout?

In 2022, a report by DataReportal showed that the average adult spends over 7 hours each day looking at a screen. This includes mobile phones, computers, televisions, tablets, and other commonly used devices. Similarly, the average adult in the United States spends almost 7 hours each day on the Internet

This means that our time spent using technology is intrinsically tied to our time spent online, which constitutes over 40% of our waking hours. When we overuse devices and spend too much time on the Internet, whether for work or for our own enjoyment, we run the risk of encountering digital burnout. 

Digital burnout is a symptom of prolonged Internet usage that induces poor concentration, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. This “burnout” affects individuals both physically and mentally. In many cases, victims are those who spend prolonged hours using computers for work, but recent trends indicate that anyone can experience serious digital burnout. 

Too much time on the Internet has also been linked to cases of digital burnout. Constantly refreshing your social media feed can lead to burnout, depression, and increased anxiety. This is especially true during troubling local, national, or world events. The habit of continuously refreshing your social media feed during these events is also known as “doomscrolling.”

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Signs of Digital Burnout

With the frequency of online usage in modern adults, it’s no surprise that the rate of digital burnout is increasing. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more people are working remotely from home and using the Internet on a near-constant basis. This is also true of the recent surge in hybrid work. You may not know it, but you could even be suffering from digital burnout right now. Take a look below at the following signs of digital burnout and see for yourself.

  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion
  • Procrastination
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Trouble falling asleep or feeling rested
  • Reduced levels of energy
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Anxious or racing thoughts

Like any other health complication, digital burnout varies from person to person. Some may only experience exhaustion and headaches, while others may feel more tired and less motivated. Luckily, there are ways that you can help to mitigate instances of digital burnout in the future.

Tips for Preventing Digital Burnout

Like all good things, technology is best used in moderation. However, there are many people who need to use screens and the Internet throughout the day for work, school, and a variety of other reasons. When you need to routinely go online, it can increase your chances of experiencing digital burnout. Take a look at the following tips for preventing digital burnout and be sure to incorporate them into your routine.

  • Reduce your screen time. When possible, use pen and paper, physical books, and similar media in place of Internet-enabled devices.
  • Avoid using technology before bed. Studies have shown that using technology before bed can cause headaches, eye strain, and trouble sleeping. 
  • Limit your interaction with social media. Give yourself a set time of day to use social media apps and stick to those boundaries. 
  • Reduce multitasking on multiple screens. Focus on one task at a time, on one screen at a time, to avoid feeling overstimulated.
  • Avoid repeatedly refreshing your apps. Try not to use your social media or news apps unless you receive a notification.
  • Take a break from using social media. Give yourself a few days, or even a few weeks, in between using your social media accounts.

Some of these options may be more challenging than others if your job involves the Internet, but it’s important to find time to step away every once in a while. These tips can help you power down and reduce your chance of experiencing severe digital burnout. 

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