Your alarm goes off first thing and what’s the first thing you do before rising from the pillow? Reach for your phone to check alerts, emails and messages.
It’s safe to say our phones are an extension of ourselves, and while it’s nearly impossible to imagine life without them and their many benefits, excessive mobile phone use can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.
From the mental health pitfalls of social media to potential workplace hazards, here we reveal how your phone may be doing you more harm than good – and what to do about it.
You could be starting your day on the wrong foot
When you finally wake freshly restored, try not reach for your phone right away. Doing so means you’re starting the day in reactive mode, rather than active mode.
Not only does it push your brain into high-alert beta mode without time to adjust to being fully awake, it also means you start the day by reacting to whatever news or social media event happened overnight, or emails that came in from your boss.
Before you know it 90 mins has gone by that could have been used to go to the gym or do an activity that nourishes your mind and body - to start the day right.
Consider what you would like your morning routine to look like and where phone use fits in – you may even want to set an intention for the day. Many successful entrepreneurs and business people credit their morning routine to their success!
Social media could be harming your health
From pangs of inadequacy viewing mates’ enviable Instagram posts, to perma-checking your ‘Likes’, social media can be tough on your mental health. Far from being ‘social’ it’s known to elevate feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
One Canadian study of young adults revealed those who use social media for more than two hours daily are considerably more likely to rate their mental health as fair or poor than occasional users.
While the likes of TikTok and Twitter are going nowhere, you can limit your social media use by keeping the apps out of sight, activating the apps’ time-tracking functions and disabling notifications.
You’re missing out on human interaction in life and at work
You’re at a family celebration and miss the big toast. You’re excluded from workplace banter. You “WhatsApp” your mates that only live across the street. Quite simply, being glued to your mobile phone inhibits real-life social interaction with your friends and colleagues.
The more we interact with screens rather than faces, we are losing the ability to maintain conversation and pick up on non-verbal cues. This inhibits our ability to forge and maintain lasting relationships, which are vital for creating a cohesive, safe atmosphere in the workplace.
And you’re having less fun. A University of British Columbia study confirmed that phone usage amongst people we care about results in a less enjoyable experience.
Our advice? Keep your phone pocketed while in the company of others and use it to arrange in-person hang-outs (rather than hanging out on it!)
Using your phone is hazardous in some workplaces
If you’re glued to your phone at work, your productivity will dip and goals could remain out of reach. What’s more, in some industries it can be dangerous. If you’re as working a labourer on a labourer job, constantly whipping out your mobile will distract your attention from the job in hand.
Indeed, a 2020 Construction Drive survey showed 85% of contractors who responded said that phone use on site was a problem.
If you’re working in an industry that requires operating machinery or being in the presence of potential hazards, hand your phone in to your foreman or stash it safely in your locker before getting on site.
Excessive phone use before bed worsens your sleep…
Your mobile screen emits blue light that inhibits the production of melatonin. This is the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. When this is off-kilter it’s harder to fall asleep and wake up the next day. Add to that, the fact you’re stimulating your brain when you’re supposed to be slowing it down is a recipe for insomnia!
When your mind and body are poorly rested, you’re more likely to have accidents at work. The Sleep Foundation reports overly-tired employees are 70% more likely to be involved in workplace accidents.
Try banning phone time an hour before you go to bed – or at least switch it onto night mode or buy a blue light filter. Leave it in another room before you hit the sack if you can. Remember at night it’s bedtime, not screen time.
If you are open to new opportunities, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.