Can a digital app turn my life around?

Why I’m using a digital Android application called Colornote to help me become more organised, less stressed and have more control.

 

Firstly it’s important to know that I am a huge procrastinator. I avoid and forget things. I often catastrophise when faced with something stressful. I can become absent minded and I wonder if this has become a trait of mine.  I have self-diagnosed myself, especially the younger me,  with Attention Deficit Disorder on numerous occasions.  Or at least when I type the symptoms in Google that’s one of the options!

I do know that leaving things to the last minute or missing opportunities isn’t helpful for me.   In the past I tried to write lists on bits of paper and  I even bought a special to do list pad from Wilko’s.  However it didn’t work for me although I know it works for many.  In my case the Wilko’s pad  gradually became submerged under newspapers, paperwork and unopened mail.  I found it six months later and noticed that I was only half way through a to do list.  I had no chance with a scrap of paper!

My organisation skills are one of the first things to slip if my mood becomes low or if I become overly anxious.  This decline in organisation and my ability to manage time effectively can lead to a negative spiraling of my mood.  

Hello digital !

Moving forward a few years and I’m in a slightly different state of mind and my Smartphone is now attached to me like an umbilical cord.  So hey ho, why not try again with digital?  I am trialing Colornote which is an Android App for note taking, to do lists and general organising.  It is free to use,  at least for the basics.

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The verdict

It feels like it’s working and I feel like I need it.  I’ve had a very productive day and I doubt that I would have written a blog post for a while without it, at least not yet.    I also feel very satisfied after I tick things off as I watch a little line appear through the task relegating it to the bottom of the list.

Managing the overwhelming feeling that comes with some of the tasks

Many of us have to manage our mental or emotional health.  We may be less robust in certain areas.   I have to guard against feeling overwhelmed with stress, at least I do presently.   The words to do list immediately send me into a Flight, Fright and Fight response, so I alternate my tasks and soften my approach.   I complete one stressful task and then move on to a comfortable buffer task, I see this as a recovery phase.   For instance a difficult phone call may be followed by ten minutes of guitar practice and even the washing up can feel therapeutic at times.  The app is aesthetically pleasing and user friendly.

It is early days but I’m really hoping that I stick with this app and that it helps to keep me on my toes.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has any  comments, maybe you feel the same way? Maybe you have some tips or questions?  An app you can recommend?  Maybe you feel the opposite ?

Please either leave a message on the blog, send us a tweet or a comment on Facebook. 

Many thanks XXX

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Using Digital in Mental Health Services and to manage our own Mental Health – A conversation!

Here’s a question: Can the use of digital technology including:  social media, digital applications and digital interaction help to keep us well and be used to improve mental health services?  Plenty of people think the answer is yes.

Digital technology is our latest tool – could it be that we officially in the digital era?  We now use it in so many ways;  to communicate, to discuss our problems,  to be creative,  to be political,  to advertise, to run businesses, to track progress, to share files – and the list goes on. Many of use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype in our daily lives.

So how do we use it to do good? How do we harness its power and potentiality to aid us in improving Mental Health Services?  To help us as individuals to keep well?

In November I was invited to a day of conversations on this very topic. The day was organised by Victoria Betton who writes about it in her blog – Co-Producing Digital Mental Health.

Here’s a snippet of the conversations: 

Using digital technology as a safety net to fill in the gaps –  I chose this conversation title as I felt that there were gaps in services.  It drew interest from people including a woman from Age UK. She talked about the problem of Isolation for older people,  she was involved in a project which helped older people to connect to each other by using digital tablets.  A Student Welfare Officer talked about how disrupting the summer holiday gap is for students who attend support groups/therapy in term time.  Could digital technology provide a solution during this gap?

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(Art work created on the day by Tom @artsmindsleeds)

Could it be used to disrupt mental health services in order to provide a better experience for users of the services?  Could it also be used to provide preventative support to people? We also talked about the therapeutic value of creativity, is it a human need which we often neglect in our society?  Could digital help us to express ourselves through a different medium than language? Could it help us flourish?

Do you have any ideas?  Do you use any applications which you use to maintain your mental health or physical health?  Do you find using digital technology empowering?  Has it helped you in any way? What are your thoughts? Negative or Positive?  We’d love to hear them.

Thanks Vicky 🙂

There were many more conversations throughout the day.  If you are on Twitter and would like to know more about the day see  #DigitalMH13

If you are a designer or a  developer and have a passion for improving mental health services and would like to get involved please see #digihealthlab

Thanks Vicky 🙂