We can learn a lot about self-care from how we take care of our tech.
While not everyone looks after their phones as well as they should, most do because of the sheer material investment involved. And if you have trouble keeping track of good self-care habits for yourself, thinking of them in terms of phone care might be just the perspective adjustment you need.
Plug in at 50%
If you wait until you’re completely tapped out before you get some rest, or wait until you’re starving before you eat, that can mess up the way your body processes energy. In the same way that mobile phone batteries last longer when you don’t let them drain completely before charging, you can prolong your own general health by pacing yourself properly.
Restart as needed
Sometimes the best way to clear our heads is to get a fresh start. That can take different forms depending on what you need to feel refreshed: get some sleep, go for a jog, or take a brisk shower, perhaps. When our phones get sluggish or buggy, rebooting them can occasionally get everything back in working order with a minimum of fuss—so, why not do the same for yourself?
Reinstall malfunctioning apps
The most regular things in our lives, be they work or play, can occasionally get buggy and problematic. Rather than let things stay broken and stressful, try to clear it all out instead and then put things back where they should be. Reorganize your desk, reconnect with your friends, maybe reevaluate your current workflow. When apps get weird, going back to square one might yield good results.
Visit credible service centers
In the same way that it’s best to take our phones to accredited service centers for repairs, we should always try to get the best care when we get sick. While it’s true that we can occasionally soldier on with a cracked screen or a damaged plug, or perhaps make do with gray-market replacements, that just piles on both stress and additional risk that we don’t need. Get proper help whenever you need it, be it for your physical, mental, or emotional health.
Back up personal data
Putting all your eggs in one basket is dangerous because if you lose that one thing, then you lose everything. Instead of constantly putting yourself and your valuables at risk, do things that give you security. Save money, maintain more than one reliable payment instrument, and store copies of vital documents in safe places. You never know when you might need to recover from an emergency.
Update the software
Our needs constantly evolve over time, and what once worked just fine may not be optimal anymore. Changing jobs or lifestyles, for example, can cause friction when we don’t acknowledge the need to adapt. Whenever the opportunity to learn or improve your situation comes along, we should take it. Just as our phone operating systems and apps need patches to close security holes and improve performance, updating our habits and our thought processes can often help us in significant, sometimes unexpected ways.
Prioritize cleanliness and protection
Exposing our phones to the elements in shoddy cases (or not having a case at all) increases the risk of their breakage. Similarly, letting them get progressively filthy puts us at risk because that creates a possible source of infection: remember, we touch our phones constantly, and press them up against our ears often, too. When we take the time to protect and preserve our phones, the benefits of better service and longer lifespans are obvious. Wouldn’t we want that same longevity for our actual bodies?
Most importantly, respect the tech
Our phones are far more complex and delicate than we think. While they’re designed to take a lot of punishment, there are so many ways they can break if we’re not careful. If we want these miraculous little slates of glass and plastic to keep being the sorcerous black mirrors that we hinge our lives on, we need to treat them with respect. By the same token, if we want our lives to stay, y’know, our lives, it might be a good idea to treat ourselves with some respect too.
Dante is a communications consultant with Puzzled Owl. He also produces a quirky little pub quiz called GeekFight Trivia Night.