Extinguishing the Flame: Coping with Digital Burnout

By Jasper Abdullah

The Digital Era is here. Everything is tied to a device, and in the wake of the pandemic, the concept of a digital era has become more prominent: we’re working, shopping, and learning from home. Even as quarantine laxens, the most popular way to interact with others is through a thin glass screen and glaring blue lights– that is to say, online. But with never-ending Zooms, constant phone calls, and notifications, it can feel like there’s too much technology. As a result, you might experience:

  • Decreased energy
  • Become easily irate
  • Lack of motivation
  • Trouble connecting with others

These are symptoms of digital exhaustion, which is caused by the overstimulation of constant technology. I find myself dealing with it frequently and it leaves me frazzled. It’s a giant wave of stress and frustration, but how should we cope?

I spend a lot of my day speaking with others (the source of my digital exhaustion). When I start to feel burned out, it’s best to catch it early on or I’ll end up too overwhelmed to operate. If you’re speaking with someone when you start to feel like everything is suddenly too much, it’s important to communicate that. Be direct by saying, “Hey, (name), I’m feeling overwhelmed right now, so I’m going to take a break from my phone,” or go with the discreet option of, “I gotta go,” or “gtg.” If the burnout comes on while doing something noncommittal, like checking the news or swiping through social media for hours on end, close up the app immediately.

Channel those negative emotions into something beneficial, or else you might end up spiraling into a cycle of negative emotions (which, if you do, is okay too. Allow yourself to feel your emotions– you’ll be alright). I try to be mindful during my burnouts: I shut down my phone, try to go outside (even just checking the mail), or try sleeping it off. The only way to overcome a burnout is by taking a break. Try meditations, exercise, or forms of self-care that you’ve been negating (like eating, hydrating, showering, etc). Whatever you do, choose something that’s soothing and offline. This will pass: after all, we’ve made it this far.