How Digital Life Affects Women’s Mental Health and How to Deal with It
Digital life is tricky, but it’s an essential part of today’s culture. Navigating the ins and outs of an online life is a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. Women have been at the forefront of it all with all the online abuse. But, fortunately, dealing with societal expectations, peer pressure, and unhealthy body standards is becoming easier thanks to a wave of apps geared towards women’s needs. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how technology affects women’s mental health, what apps are here to help, and how to have a positive relationship with technology.
Ways in which technology impacts women’s mental health
There’s no denying that technology plays a crucial role in our lives and mental well-being. While it’s true that technology affects virtually everyone involved, societal expectations, combined with peer pressure surrounding technology, affect women differently and, often, more negatively.
Nowadays, when we talk about digital technology and online life, we are forced to reckon with its effects on our daily lives and the culture at large. And at the center of it all is often social media. With almost 4 billion users globally, social media is an integral part of our culture. We can’t escape it. And constantly checking images on social media can have a significant effect on how you see yourself. Women especially are more likely to experience body image issues, as they are constantly exposed to particular body types that are portrayed as ideal on social media.
This encourages objectification – the act of seeing bodies more as objects rather than a mere human attribute – and pushes women to create unrealistic body goals for themselves. A 2015 study reported that young women who spent a significant amount of time on Facebook had poorer body image due a constant comparison with others.
Another study on gender differences of depression and anxiety among social media users during the COVID-19 outbreak in China found that women’s symptoms of stress and anxiety are more severe. The study also notes that, since social media is currently the main source of information related to the pandemic, users ought to limit the time they spend online.
Sadly, within contemporary culture, women experience a variety of negative effects of social media use on a daily basis, such as FOMO and others. Social norms, societal expectations, and peer pressure, also contribute to the negative impact of social media. But change is coming as tech innovators are becoming more aware of the way that technology affects our mental well-being. Nowadays, an entire wave of applications tackling mental health issues are surging on the market, and some of them are directly aimed at women’s needs.
Self-care apps for women’s mental health
Clementine is an innovative hypnotherapy app built for improving women's mental health and well-being, from sleep and anxiety to confidence at work and in relationships. It is an excellent alternative to one-on one hypnotherapy, as it can be costly. The app offers the so-called pick-me-ups, which are audio sessions for when you need to quickly relax and get some peace and quiet. Sleep sessions are designed to help you get the much needed good night’s rest.
The Restless app is aware that the online world can be a hostile place for women. Restless offers a unique safe space online to connect and stay mentally calm. The essential idea behind the app is to offer women a place to heal, grow, and be a part of an inclusive and understanding community. Restless encourages women to connect with like-minded women and find safety on commonground. The app offers articles and podcasts on a variety of topics that could be considered taboo available for download.
The Shine app is specifically designed to serve the needs of women’s mental health and emotional well-being. Shine focuses on personal growth by delivering text and audio on a variety of self-improvement topics. Short audio and text messages offer users help across a number of areas such as productivity, mindfulness, stress, anxiety, burnout, acceptance, work frustrations, and more. The app sends daily motivational texts to help users understand the topic at hand better.
Tia Care is a one-stop shop for women’s health. The online platform offers comprehensive care to support women’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It is a new approach towards healthcare as Tia Care provides services tailored for an individual rather than a one-fits-all approach. It is a membership-based service that can be covered by your medical insurance. The platform additionally cultivates a caring community through events and workshops that emphasize connectivity, conversation, and ongoing education around the diversity of experiences that comprise female health.
Happy Not Perfect
Happy Not Perfect is a mindfulness app designed, as the name suggests, to help you be happy rather than perfect. What makes it stand out among the competition is that it caters to the specific needs of the millennial generation. Happy Not Perfect provides more than 250 guided meditations. These include easy ways to help you get through stressful life situations such as exams, traffic, relationships, and others.
How to have a positive relationship with technology
It’s important to note that technology itself is designed to help rather than harm. In fact, the apps we’ve listed above have been developed with that in mind and offer a great way to cope with the stresses of daily lives. However, it is our relationship with technology and unhealthy attachment to it that may cause undesirable effects on our mental health.
Here are a few tips that should help you have a more positive relationship with technology:
Start your day with a glass of water
Spend more time interacting face-to-face (in today’s circumstances, Zoom or Google Hangouts are handy alternatives)
Create tech-free zones at your home
Review and turn off app notifications that are not essential
Set time restrictions on specific apps in your phone’s settings
Dedicate time to yourself for reflection and do so without any technology
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