Utilising Digital Minimalism as a Young Adult

Words by Jyotsna (she/her) 17 NSW

As a Year 12 student, I found myself engulfed in the whirlwind of exam preparation, social commitments, my overall wellbeing, and the ever-enticing glow of digital screens. Developing a balance between academic success and personal wellbeing seemed like a challenging goal, until I stumbled upon the concept of digital minimalism.

Digital minimalism, to me, is more than just a trend or fad. It’s a journey that began during one of the most challenging periods of my high school experience as I moved into my ‘HSC year’. Faced with the task of staying focused amidst the accessibility of social media and endless online distractions, I knew something had to change.

I didn’t dive headfirst into a complete digital detox; that would have been unrealistic and unsustainable for a teenager like me in today’s hyper-connected world. Instead, I chose to engage in the practice of digital minimalism, which is guided by the principles of mindfulness and intentionality.

I started by identifying the digital habits that were draining my time and energy without offering any meaningful returns.

One of the biggest culprits was my mindless scrolling on YouTube, which consistently left me feeling drained and unfulfilled. I realised that I was using the platform as a means of escape – a way to procrastinate and avoid the looming spectre of exams. But deep down, I knew this behaviour was counterproductive to my wellbeing.

Based on this, I decided to limit my time on YouTube by deleting the app entirely. If I needed to access educational content, I could simply search for it directly, without the distraction of personalised suggestions pulling me off course.

The most significant change I made was in my use of Instagram; a platform that I relied on for social connection, but also where I consistently found myself in the trap of mindless scrolling. Recognising its importance for staying connected with friends and classmates, I couldn’t delete the app entirely. Instead, I imposed a 30-minute daily limit on my usage, meaning that I would have to use my time with intention so that I could still communicate with others when necessary.

The impact of embracing digital minimalism was far-reaching. By freeing myself from mindless scrolling and digital distractions, I discovered a newfound sense of clarity, focus, and purpose. I had more time to devote to my academics, my hobbies, and most importantly, to meaningful interactions with the people who mattered most to me.

The most unexpected benefit of all was the impact it had on my mental health and overall wellbeing. By minimising exposure to the curated highlight reels of social media and prioritising real-life connections and experiences, I felt more grounded, authentic, and content with my life. The constant comparison and FOMO were replaced with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the present moment.

As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of my journey, my HSC exams and beyond, I will carry the lessons learned from my experience with digital minimalism. It’s not just a technique or a strategy; it’s a conscious choice to prioritise what truly matters and let go of the rest. In the end, digital minimalism isn’t about deprivation or restriction; it’s about personal liberation and empowerment – and I would encourage all young people to give it a go!

 

Illustration by Aileen. You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenngstudio

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