Mental health tips tested by NCS

Disconnect: Turn off phones and email.

NCS North East partner Vinspired have created a great 10 tips for improving your mental health video to aid self-rehabilitation for mental health and well-being.

Young people in the UK were found to have one of the worst levels of mental wellbeing in the world. Three people in every classroom have a mental health condition.

In support of these great tips and ahead of NCS Action Day on Sat 18th March, we've tested one of the points we felt would personally be the toughest because of our necessity and personal addiction in constantly checking our screens for updates, interesting 24/7 content, comms and more. Here's what Kelly found in testing top tip #8: Disconnect: Turn off phones and email.

I’m addicted to my smartphone, especially my favourite apps, Fitbit, Facebook, and Twitter. So when I agreed to try tip No.8, I expected disconnecting to be tough – especially since I decided to go the whole hog and avoid all screens.

This challenge was impossible during the working day, as I rely on email, telephone and laptop. So, I decided to compromise and start my ‘downtime’ at 6pm. Like someone trying to eat all the biscuits in the house so they won’t ruin their diet the next day, I fired off Whatapp messages warning friends and family that I’d be going off the grid that night. Eek!

6.05pm: Did everyone get my Whatsapp?

6.15pm: What if I forgot to message someone who now thinks I’m ignoring them?

7.20pm: Wish I’d remembered to sync my Fitbit before switching off. I’ll never know whether I’ve burned enough calories to justify that Twix. Oh well.

7.21pm: Eats Twix

7.22pm: What my Fitbit doesn’t know can’t hurt it. No tech = #WinWin

8:30pm: Right, that’s the dishes done, the kitchen cleaned, ironing put away and sock drawer organised – what else can I do to keep me busy ‘til bedtime?

8:40pm: I forgot my Kindle was a screen. Now I have to read a real book. This is so retro.

9:40pm: Now would be a good time to crack open that mindful colouring book. Or maybe not.

9:55pm: Where’s my phone? WHERE’S my phone?! Oh, there it is. Sitting there, with its accusingly blank screen.

10:30pm: Bedtime, thank God.

VERDICT: It was tough to be technology free, even for this short time, but also surprisingly liberating.

Free of pressure to check and reply to messages, for example, I felt more present in the moment. It also showed how much of my precious free time can be hoovered up by tech. I’m very proud of my newly tidied sock drawer.

This felt like an investment in allowing my mind to rest and recharge. And, without blue-light emitting screens mucking up my body clock at bedtime, I definitely slept better. I’ll do this again, for sure.