Online mental health

Explains the benefits and challenges to your mental health of being online, and gives ideas for looking after yourself online and getting support. Also provides information on staying safe online and getting the balance right between your online and offline life.

How can I get a good online / offline balance?

Online support can be extremely helpful, but it's important to find a balance between your online and offline life for your mental health and wellbeing.

  • Set aside some time regularly to do something offline, like reading a book, doing some physical exercise, being outdoors in nature or trying out a relaxation technique.
  • Protect time in your day to eat healthily and get good sleep.
  • Continue to spend time with friends and family.
  • Sometimes, online support is not enough. If you are feeling unwell, and being online isn't helpful, it may be a good idea to seek offline support.
  • If you are finding that being online is starting to have a negative impact on your mental health, you may need to take a break for a while.

How do I know if I need to take a break?

Here are some common signs that you might need to switch off for a while:

  • You're having fewer face-to-face conversations with your friends and family.
  • You're feeling disconnected from those closest to you.
  • It's preventing you from getting other things done in the offline world.
  • You're finding it hard to think about and enjoy other things.
  • You're finding it overwhelming.

What can I do to help me switch off?

Switching off can be easier said than done. If you would like to take a break from being online, but are finding it hard to switch off, try these tips to help:

  • Switch on the "do not disturb mode", so you won't receive notifications from apps, text messages or phone calls.
  • Switch off notification sounds so it's easier to ignore notifications from apps and text messages.
  • Use an app that helps you monitor and manage your phone use, including letting you restrict your app use.
  • Put your mobile phone or other device in another room or somewhere else out of sight.
  • Try switching off your computer, phone and any other mobile devices for a while, so you aren't tempted to check in online.

"... if I'm feeling unwell or something worries/upsets me ...I turn off the laptop for the day."

This information was published in September 2018. We will revise it in 2021.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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