Over the years, technology has become our BFF and made life and work easier. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have limited human gathering and interactions. As a result of social distancing and lockdowns, people and organizations have increased their reliance on and use of technology as they live, study, work, and shop from home.
Many people are glued to their digital devices (smartphones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers, and wearable tech including smart watches, wristbands, pins, rings) for the majority of their day. They’re not aware of how much they are missing out on being present for moments that matter. They’re so plugged in they are suffering from stress, anxiety, and a lack of sleep. Their ability to focus and concentrate for long periods of time has decreased and impacted their productivity. What’s more, they don’t even realize they need tech-life balance.
Does that sound like you or someone you know? That was me for a big part of 2020!
What Is Tech-Life Balance?
Tech-life balance is the use of technology in mindful, intentional, and healthy ways that have a positive impact on personal and professional life and relationships.
Digital Wellness: Key to Tech-Life Balance
Digital Wellness is the use of technology in mindful, intentional, and healthy ways. Watch the video and go here to listen to the Thriving Mindfully Podcast episode about digital wellness and what led me to practice digital wellness in my life and career.
Common Digital Wellness Challenges
Digital overload and distraction are two of the most common challenges to digital wellness.
Digital overload happens when our brain is bombarded with constant electronic stimuli. Digital overload pushes our brain to work overtime. It divides our attention and causes our stress levels to soar. When we experience digital overload and unplug from our digital devices, our brains remain in a hyper-alert and distracted state.
Digital distraction occurs when we spend too much time with digital devices that it is detrimental and even dangerous to our relationships.
Need A Digital Wellness Check-In?
Get your favorite pen, journal, or a piece of paper. Take a few minutes to answer each of the questions below. They will help you become aware of how you currently use technology. Your responses will help you identify what needs to be included in your Digital Wellness Intention.
- How much time do you currently spend online Monday through Friday and on the weekends?
- Do you take breaks from using technology?
- What stresses you out when you are online?
- Does your body experience tension, tightness, or discomfort while you are online?
- How do you take care of your body while you are online (the way you sit or stand, screens that protect your eyes, etc.)?
- Do you sleep with your digital devices on or near your bed?
Be Intentional About Your Tech Use
You create digital wellness in your life, career, and business with an intention and a plan. In my work as the Chief Mindfulness Officer of Ananda Leeke Consulting and the Thriving Mindfully Academy, I offer people just like you and mission-driven companies, organizations, and communities three steps to create digital wellness. These steps are based on the lessons I learned while working as a digital communications professional for the past 20+ years. The they include:
- Prepare a digital wellness intention. A digital wellness intention is a statement about the way you want to use technology and how you want to feel when you use technology.
- Conduct a tech assessment. Explore how you are you currently using technology and the barriers you may have to your tech-life balance.
- Establish a weekly schedule with a revised digital wellness intention. Based on what you learned from your tech assessment, revise your digital wellness intention. Identify one to three steps you can take to create a one tech-life balance habit you can practice during the next 30, 60 or 90 days (FYI The European Journal of Social Psychology’s 2009 study concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic). Remember to start small and to celebrate your small, medium, and big wins each week!
Ways to Gain Community Support During Your Digital Wellness Journey
Unplugged Weekend with Your Family, Friends, and/or Colleagues
In 2011, I launched the Digital Sisterhood Network’s wellness initiative, Digital Sisterhood Unplugged Weekend (#DSUnplugged) to encourage women to slow down and take a break from their digital lives and electronic devices once a month. The #DSUnplugged Weekend offered women options to slow down and take a break from their to-do list, digital life, and electronic devices for 5 to 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, a half-day, a full day, or an entire weekend. They had the freedom to choose and commit to a timeframe that worked best for them each month.
They were encouraged to use the digital wellness plan resources outlined in my book, Digital Sisterhood to create their own unplugged day, week, or weekend. The initiative ended in 2015.
Next Steps for You: Go here to use the #DSUnplugged Weekend as a model for creating your own unplugged weekend with family, friends, and/or colleagues.
National Day of Unplugging on March 5 and 6
National Day of Unplugging is an awareness campaign the Unplug Collaborative created in 2009 to promote a 24-hour respite from technology during the first weekend in March. Participation is open to anyone who wishes to elevate human connection over digital engagement. It’s free to join!
Next Steps for You: Go here to get tips on how to participate in National Day of Unplugging. Feel free to use these tips all year long to create your own day, week, or weekend of unplugging. Ask your family, friends, and/or colleagues to join you.
Digital Wellness Month and Digital Wellness Day in May
In May 2020, the Thriving Mindfully Academy launched Digital Wellness Month to encourage and help people practice tech life balance with small steps during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources and tips were shared in articles, blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, and webinars. Learn more here. Digital Wellness Month will be held May 1-31, 2021. Stay tuned for more details.
Digital Wellness Day was created by the Digital Wellness Collective to raise global attention to mental, physical, emotional health, and safety when using digital devices. Digital Wellness Day is a chance to rethink when, where, why, and how you interact with technology to ensure you are using it for its best and highest purposes. Learn more about it here. Plan to celebrate Digital Wellness Day on May 7, 2021, with me. Stay tuned for more details.
Digital Wellness Training & Coaching Support
Do you or your team need help with understanding and implementing digital wellness? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202. 607.3509 for training and coaching support.
If you or your organization, company, and community need more self-care, mindfulness, and wellness resources, visit the Thriving Mindfully Academy here.
If you are new to mindfulness, self-care, and wellness or simply want to learn more about these areas, visit the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s resource pages below.