It may be an old cliché, but it really does seem that people today are busier than ever. Juggling work with a social life is not a new concept; however, being constantly 'plugged in' to phones and social networks can make even leisure time feel like a drain on resources, and ties to technology can often have negative consequences for general well-being. Since the advent of the smartphone, it is much rarer that people are afforded any undisturbed time to gather their thoughts and relax. Consider applying the following minor changes to your everyday relationship with technology, and you will see a marked improvement in your well-being, without simply retreating to the woods.
Cut back on social media
Studies show that overexposure to social media can have a negative impact on self-esteem. Social media sites allow people to show the best possible side of themselves to the world, be that in physical terms (with carefully cropped selfies) or simply in how they represent their lifestyle. Too much time spent in this realm can easily leave you feeling inadequate or inferior. The solution? Limit your time on social media to 15 minutes per day. You can still keep in touch with distant friends and relatives, but you will avoid the pitfalls and joyless repetition of endlessly scrolling through yet another feed. Your mood will improve as a consequence, and you will have more time to concentrate on yourself and the things that make you happy.
Impose a technology curfew
The harsh white/blue light emitted by smartphones and tablets can have a negative impact on sleep cycles. Since proper rest is essential to wellness, prioritise this over flicking through yet another photo album or one more episode of streamed television by imposing a strict curfew for technological activities: at least one hour before you intend on being asleep. You will find that you drift off much more easily as a result and will be better rested and prepared for the following day. Proper rest is the keystone on which wellness rests.
Schedule some daily quiet time
Every day, you are bombarded with information from TV, radio, the internet, friends, colleagues and co-workers. Even if your job requires that you be constantly 'plugged in', you can always find some quiet moments in your day to get away from all of this noise—during a lunch break for example. Try to take 5 to 10 minutes to sit quietly and meditate. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help alleviate stress, anxiety and even depression by taking the practitioner out of negative cycles of thought and directing their attention solely to the present moment, away from external stimuli. You will have time to gather your thoughts and stabilise your mood to better prepare you for the challenges ahead.
So there you have it: three simple practices to enhance your wellness in the digital age. Good luck, and stay well!