On Mental Health

Addicted To Doom-Scrolling

Maybe it’s because I’ve cut back on alcohol and Diet Coke significantly…or maybe it’s because those “weekly screen time” reports make me feel ashamed…or maybe it is because the word “doom-scrolling” fit my habits too perfectly…but whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about/trying to curb my phone habits lately.

I am genetically predisposed to addiction so I tend to keep a closer watch on addictive behaviors in my life than most people do. And let me tell you…I HAVE MANY. I’ve been really shitty with spending money, I’ve been a smoker, my drinking has been out of control, and the Diet Coke has been a constant in my life since I was in high school and started every morning buying a can of Diet Coke and walking laps around the school chatting with my other friends whose parents had to drop them off early.

So…I’ve decided it’s time to conquer my phone habit. And I thought the first day it would be easy to just say, “I’m going to only scroll through my phone at designated times.” But OH MY GOD, grabbing my phone and scrolling is evidently an involuntary habit because it has NOT been that easy.

I have stopped scrolling through Twitter constantly, that’s what I feel like falls under “Doom-Scrolling” and is definitely not good for my mental health. I tend to scroll for joy/entertainment now on TikTok, but still, I would like to reduce that amount of times I’m doing anything with my phone…even if it’s fun stuff.

I’ve tried to put my phone zipped up in my purse, I’ve tried to leave my phone charged in the other room, I’ve tried to leave my phone at home when I run errands (which I just can’t do for practical reasons because ALL OF MY LISTS ARE ON MY PHONE). I think I’m going to have to set up the same kind of “use” hours on my phone that Wesley has on his!

The only reason why I haven’t done that yet is because I do like to use my phone and scroll sometimes. I just wish I could force myself to answer a few questions first:

  1. Is there anything you’re putting off that you could just be getting out of the way instead of playing on your phone?
  2. Have you read enough of your book yet today?
  3. Have you had enough “quiet time” with your brain yet today where you’ve just let your brain wander or be bored?
  4. Is there any member of your family who you haven’t chatted with yet or who might need some Mom/Kim time?

And if I answered those answers correctly…then, I would be allowed to use social media on my phone.

I’m going to try a few more days of just trying to be more conscious with how/when I pick up my phone but if I keep failing by discovering it’s a more more involuntary habit than I realized, or that “just checking my email” always turns into an hour of scrolling, then next week? Next week we’re breaking out the parental controls.

1 thought on “Addicted To Doom-Scrolling”

  1. Don’t forget that sometimes to “break” a habit you need to have a replacement habit–sometimes one that is somewhat similar in fashion (holding something in your hands?) I love the questions you are asking yourself.
    Oh and by the way–quarantine has really increased my habitual Instagram use–I have realized that I reach for the phone as things end—a phone call, a zoom meeting etc and that I definitely use it as an escape—and that I used to use books for that reason.

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