I love my phone. Arguably, I’m very much addicted to my phone – and I know that I’m not alone in this. I used to spend hours on Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, Facebook. I would be flooded with posts that made me insecure about my appearance, relationships, and accomplishments. Social media made me question my whole life. When I get anxious, I scroll. It’s a distraction. Right? Not a healthy one, but a distraction nonetheless.
In response, I took these five easy, free steps to completely change my phone usage. Now, my phone serves as a tool that helps me practice self-care, boosts my confidence, and inspires me to make myself a priority. This is how I did it:
My phone was filled with shopping lists from several months ago, apps that I completely forgot I ever downloaded, and about 87 open tabs on Safari.
If this describes you, I have one piece of advice… delete, delete, DELETE!
Delete everything that is not of definitive value to you and anything that does not bring you joy.
After I finish decluttering, I make sure that I use every app that takes up space on my phone. There are no accidental screenshots in my camera roll, and my Notes app is flawlessly organized if I do say so myself.
Let me tell you – it is definitely a game-changer. I never realized how all of my unnecessary notes, apps, and pictures were stressing me out every time I was on my phone. Decluttering helped me find peace of mind.
(For pictures, look into Google Photos. It syncs all of your pictures from your phone into your google account. That way, you keep all of your favorite pics, AND you keep your camera roll clean. Best of both worlds!)
While there are a whole lot of advantages to analog journaling and the act of writing things down with pen and paper, the accessibility of journaling on your phone makes the whole process easier.
Each morning, instead of immediately opening Instagram and comparing myself to everyone on my feed, I open my Notes app, and I journal. I type out my intentions for the day, affirmations for myself, and a few things I am grateful for. Journaling will look different for everyone. Spend some time finding what works the best for you and what makes your soul feel good as soon as your body wakes up.
As soon as I started giving myself a few minutes in the morning to reflect, affirm, and manifest, my mood for the ENTIRE day drastically improved.
I’ve been journaling consistently on my phone for over a year now. I stay inspired and motivated by taking guilt completely out of the equation. If I miss a day or two – it’s okay. I don’t beat myself up for not having the time to write or forgetting to do so.
Journaling is a beneficial, life-changing habit that allows us all to become in-tune with our emotions and get to know our lovely, strong, empowered selves better than ever before. And the note-taking ability of our phones gives us unlimited access.
3. MENTAL HEALTH APPS
Once you cleanse your phone of everything you don’t really want, there is some room to look into apps that serve you, encourage wellness and growth, and promote healthy lifestyles. There are so many incredible self-care apps out there. Unfortunately, a vast majority of them include in-app purchases that make it difficult to get anything out of the app if, like me, you’re on a tight budget.
For me, self-care means finding things on my phone that keep me off of social media – particularly Instagram and Tiktok. Here are some of the completely free apps that I use to help me with this:
- LONGWALKS is a journaling app that allows you to answer simple, reflective prompts each day and get to know yourself better. If you find yourself craving some aspects of social media, this is the app for you! You can easily connect with like-minded friends and strangers to share your stories and thoughts.
- PINTEREST can be used to visualize our dream lives and what we want our futures to look like.
- ALOE BUD is the perfect way to start treating your body and brain with the kindness and love that they deserve.
Good news: Androids and iPhones both come installed with built-in podcast apps! You can listen anywhere, anytime. Podcasts have been an absolute saving grace for me. Belting out my favorite songs in the car is its own kind of therapy, but sometimes we’re just not in the mood. And that’s fine! Podcasts can do wonders for your mental health, improve your self-care habits, and even aid in your own individual healing processes.
While podcasts about wellness are an amazing tool, it is also important to branch out a bit. Think about what brings you joy, light, laughter. I can guarantee there is a podcast just for you and what you are looking for!
(My absolute favorite podcast right now is called The Self Love Fix, – hosted by Beatrice Kamau. This show focuses on healing the inner child in all of us, personal development and growth, finding your voice, and creating a renewed sense of self-worth.)
5. SIMPLIFY YOUR HOME SCREEN
Investing time in my home screen was THE MOST important element of turning my phone into a self-care tool rather than a little device that was destroying my mental health.
The first thing that I did was remove all social media from my home screen. All of it is still in my app library so that when I want to check my socials, I’m able to access them. The big difference here is that I have no social media just sitting there, right when I open my phone, waiting to be accessed and mindlessly scrolled through.
By the same token, I moved most things into my app library. I have a total of 16 apps that I decided to keep on my home screen, and the majority of them are the ones I mentioned above – more tools for personal growth and wellness! Finding the right apps that serve you and make your day-to-day life as easy and relaxing as possible can be a time-consuming process, but the end result is absolutely worth it.
Minimize and simplify as much as you can! I also took advantage of Widgets in order to ensure that I can look at what matters most to me whenever I want.
The Pinterest Widget is a must! You can customize it in a lot of different ways. On my home screen, I see positive, uplifting quotes that rotate on an hourly basis. Reading them never fails to brighten my mood. And of course – my favorite pictures of my boyfriend and my dog 🙂
Here is what my home screen looks like:
I never realized how much my phone was bogging me down until I took the time to change things. It’s time to turn your phone into a self-care paradise rather than a vehicle for comparison, insecurity, trauma scrolling, and unhealthy habits. Remember to:
- Declutter and delete
- Journal: gratitude, affirmations, intentions
- Listen to podcasts that enrich your life
- Find apps that keep you off social media, calm your brain, and spark excitement for your future
- Minimize and simplify your home screen
Let’s continue to nourish our minds and take good care of ourselves. In a world ruled by technology, we have to set aside some time to make it work for us. Start today – I believe in you.
Disclaimer: I am NOT sponsored by any of the apps or podcasts mentioned in this article. Just a big fan of all of them and wanted to recommend them to the world!
About the Author: Katie Malgioglio is just at the beginning of her freelance writing career. She is studying social work at the University of Connecticut, and she is certified in Mental Health First Aid.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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One thought on “5 Free Ways to Use Your Phone to Improve Your Mental Health”
Great tips, all practical. I like taking photos of my meals (I love cooking and am a Food Network fan ) It calms me when I go through my ‘Meal Diary’ and is a mindful exercise. Plus it helps me cook healthier as the pics show me where I need to balance the various food groups and add color to my meals, and you know color in meals means more veggies!