Five steps for digital wellness

By Rachel Rowney on 20th May 2019

Our ongoing journey to be the healthiest version of ourselves often looks at a traditional sphere of behaviors. We focus on what we eat, how much we sleep, what products we use and how much we exercise, which are (of course) very important to our overall wellbeing. However, as our interactions with technology and the digital world are a huge part of our daily lives, do we consider this in our healthy living regime?

The inescapable force of social media, and the expectation of each of us to be constantly available via text or call means that our interactions with the digital world sometimes seem unavoidable.  A number of studies have shown the negative impact that the digital world can have on mental health. Here, we outline five ways that you can make sure add some methods for digital wellness into your daily life.

Embrace ‘Airplane Mode’ time
If you wish to unplug, learn to love the ‘airplane mode’ on your smartphone. This is a helpful tool if you want to spend an hour or two without any distractions or notifications, as it simply turns off your data and cellular phone network. When you’re finished with your digital detox, you can turn off airplane mode and any messages or emails you received will come straight through.

Leave your device in another room
I often find myself watching television while mindlessly scrolling through my phone. In order to be present and fully engaged with your chosen activity, put your phone or iPad in the other room, away from you. This seems obvious, but it will prevent you from using your phone or tablet just because it is in front of you.

Set notification limits on your phone
The concept of ‘9-5’ email correspondence no longer exists in the modern world. If you have work emails on your phone, snooze notifications when you are at home or not in working mode. If you see an email pop up – even if you don’t respond to it – your brain will still process the contents of the message, meaning that you cannot truly switch off. Make sure to create time in your day to think about things other than tasks at work the next day.

Unfollow/ unlike accounts that cause stress
To paraphrase Japanese lifestyle expert Marie Kondo, stop following accounts on Instagram, pages on Facebook or people on Twitter that do not bring you joy. If certain pages or people invoke negative feelings in you, take action and stop bringing it into your daily life. You will thank yourself!

Take advantage of helpful technology
New iPhones now send each user a weekly report of how much time they have spent on their devices over the past seven days, what they were doing in that time and if it has increased from the previous week. Google also now offers a ‘Digital Wellbeing’ service to help you find balance using its technology in your daily life. There are numerous apps that can help with meditation and relaxation, so take your time to research what you’re interested in, and embrace the technology that can (ironically) help with managing your digital experience.

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