Digital Wellness

 

Techlife balance

Over the years, technology has become the BFF of people, communities, organzations, and businesses that:

-Can afford internet access.

-Have reliable and fast internet access.

-Own digital devices (smart phones and watches, tablets, laptops, and computers).

-Know how to use the internet and digital devices. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they increased their reliance on and use of technology in their life, relationships, education, employment, healthcare, spiritual communities, and businesses. 

As a result, many are now glued to their digital devices for the majority of their day. They may not realize that staring into the screen for extended periods of time can cause “computer vision syndrome” until they experience its symptoms: strained, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.

They may not be aware that too much screentime and sitting for long periods can damage their posture and cause neck, shoulder, back, and hip pain.

Excessive screentime can also disrupt their sleep. The blue light from phone screens can delay the release of melatonin, the hormone the brain produces in response to darkness that helps the body fall and stay asleep. 

Some even fall asleep with digital devices right by their side (no judgment cuz’ this happens to me too) without knowing they are compromising their sleep quality. Each time they fall asleep with their phone close to their head, they risk exposure to electromagnetic radiation. 

They may be so plugged in they forget to take breaks, stretch and move their bodies, and eat food and drink water regularly. 

Their ability to focus and concentrate for long periods of time may decrease and impact their productivity.

The same things I mentioned above can happen If they overuse and develop a dependency on social media. If they devote a significant amount of time and energy to checking social networking sites and engaging with other users on the platforms, they may develop a social media addiction. 

They may not know social media was created to be addictive. YES I SAID IT! SOCIAL MEDIA was created to be ADDICTIVE! Social media causes the brain to release dopamine, an important brain chemical that influences moods and feelings of desire, pleasure, and reward. Each time a person sees a like or reads apositive comment presents, their brain recives a little hit of dopamine. This little hit of dopamine creates reward reward pathways in the brain which causes the person to desire likes, positive comments, reposts, and retweets. When the person doesn’t receive these things, they may feel anxious, depressed, or sad because their brain isn’t getting the dopamine hit. 

In the midst of spending so much time online, they may not recognize how much they are missing out in real life. 

What’s more, they may not realize they need tech-life balance.

Does that sound like you or someone you know?

CONFESSION TIME! That was me for a big part of 2020, 2021, and 2022. It’s even me now at times in 2023!

 

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 your life, relationships, career, and business. 

 

Digital Wellness: Key to Tech-Life Balance

Digital Wellness is your use of technology in mindful, intentional, and healthy ways.

 

Digital Wellness also refers to having a mindful, intentional, and healthy relationship with technology.

Click on  the Thriving Mindfully Podcast episode below that discusses digital wellness.

 

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.

 

Blackman and mindfulness and tech

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.

Questions

  1. How much time do you currently spend online Monday through Friday and on the weekends?

  2. Do you take breaks from using technology?

  3. What stresses you out when you are online?

  4. Does your body experience tension, tightness, or discomfort while you are online?

  5. How do you take care of your body while you are online (the way you sit or stand, screens that protect your eyes, etc.)?

  6. 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. Below are three steps you can use to create digital wellness. They are based on the lessons I learned while working as a digital communications professional for the past 20+ years. 

  1. 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.

  2. Conduct a tech assessment. Explore how you are you currently using technology and the barriers you may have to your tech-life balance.

  3. 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

DSNIn 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.

9781491706398_COVER_FQA.inddThey 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.

 

 

Digital Wellness Month

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. 

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.

 

Digital Wellness Training & Coaching 

Do you or your team need help with understanding and implementing digital wellness?

Contact me at ananda@anandaleeke.com.

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