Some say that, after COVID-19, a mental health crisis is due because of lockdown and isolation measures. Others propone the total opposite.
We don’t know if we’re heading towards a turn in our internal (as in our external) world. Many of us, we know, feel isolated, depressed, and anxious about the future.
So, as is typical (and a symptom of a greater problem), we search for comfort in more: More apps, more activities, more Netflix, more distractions. However, these distractions can become handicapping and make us feel even more lost.
It is common, when we feel bad, to try and look for things to do to alleviate our feelings, whether that’s starting yoga, following meditation influencers on Instagram, or start a new show. On the long run, however, building more digital distractions into our life results counterproductive.
Happily, however, this might be a problem that we can solve by subtracting, instead of adding.
Reclaiming the lost territory.
Millenials have an increased tendency to own less material objects than previous generations. We, on the other hand, spend more time online, and use more electronic devices, leading to hoarding to take place digitally, instead of physically.
Think about your apps, notifications, the shows you follow, your Instagram ‘following’ list, your Facebook friends, podcasts, Twitter, Tinder, Snapchat, TikTok… doesn’t it surprise, you, when thinking of all of these, that you still manage to get anything done?
This problem, of course, shines brighter when working online: When linked to so many platforms, connecting so many different things, all fighting for our attention, it’s impossible not to feel lost. And don’t get us started on the dangers of phone addiction.
Moved by emotion.
With effective, yet simple advice like Marie’s, you know it’s actually the principles that are important.
In her popular show, Japanese organising and minimalist consultant Marie Kondo demonstrates a simple but effective method to declutter. First, she takes all items inside of a house that fit a particular category (clothes, decorations, bed sheets, furniture, etc.) and piles them. Second, she has the owner select the items that “spark joy” from each of these piles. Third, she entices them to get rid of all the remaining.
Now, if you were to apply the Konmari method to your digital life, categories are not as straightforward to figure out. In order of importance (and potential impact), we would recommend the following order:
- Apps and accounts (your Netflix account might be bringing you some joy, Twitter is likely stressing you out.)
- Subscriptions and accounts you follow (no one can follow 1200 people on Instagram, 100 accounts on Twitter, a dozen podcasts, seven comedians on Youtube, have 400 Facebook friends, and still be a productive human being. Simplify). Pro Tip: Unfollow everyone and just re-follow those that you feel joy by re-visiting from memory.
- Habits. You might likely need to check email just once a day, listen to the one podcast worth following only while cleaning the house, and Netflix only after work.
- Contacts (follow a similar approach as with subscriptions).
Yes, this is the unpopular route.
We agree this is NOT what all the cool kids are doing. The cool kids don’t get much done, nor are as happy as they look on their Instagram stories, though.
If you’re anxious, worried, or depressed, give digital minimalism a try for a while. The very act of it might be relieving. It’s all about finding what works for you, isn’t it?
And, in the best possible case, you might reclaim the time you thought you didn’t have, to dedicate to yourself, helping others, and start new projects.