KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — During the pandemic more people are "doomscrolling," which means they are glued to social media for long periods of time. Experts say it's taking a toll on your mental health.
There are ways to slide away from the screen and save your mental well-being. Experts recommend setting boundaries and spend time doing hobbies instead of mindlessly scrolling.
"It really seems like a competition to see like, you know, how much of our lives can we do on a screen," tech expert at Allevia Technology in Maryville Luke Wood said.
Most of Wood's life is spent looking at a screen, both during work and after. Like many, he want to consume information on social media, but sometimes falls into the endless time trap.
"Yes, I'm a person who understands that it's detrimental," Wood said. "But, I'm also a person who feels it's an inescapable pull sometimes as well."
The temptations get worse when there's a lot going on in the world. The coronavirus pandemic, political news and the January 6 Capitol riots are reason enough for many to be glued to screens.
"Last Wednesday, I had TVs on, I had my iPad, I had my phone, I was watching different news sources plus following Twitter, and I'm just like, 'why am I doing this,'" Wood questioned.
Doomscrolling, or the inability to peel your eyes off of a screen, affects mental health in a big way, according to licensed therapist Melissa Rose.
"It's hard sometimes to know when to cut it off and to set those limits when there's such unpredictable times, and it's scary, you know, in a lot of ways," Rose said.
Rose explained getting sucked into social media is a vicious cycle, and it's important to set boundaries between gathering information and screen addiction.
Rose suggests using "play" and hobbies, even as an adult, is a way to focus your energy elsewhere. Putting down your phone and playing chess, knitting, reading a book or playing pretend with your kids, is a great way to engage your mind in a positive way.
"Definitely allow yourself time to kind of get lost in those activities, and those types of things are going to help your brain get into that creative mindset," Rose said.
Taking care of your mental well-being and making time for yourself is crucial.
Wood also recommends deleting apps you may be addicted to, setting up controls where someone in you house has to approve your downloads and enabling screen time restrictions.
"If you just make it just a little bit harder on yourself to do the thing you're trying to stop doing, then I think it can be effective," Wood smiled.
Wood predicts doom scrolling will likely only get worse in the future. That's why therapists suggest setting healthy habits and goals for yourself now rather than later.