Technology has become a major part of our lives in our modern world. We use it to stay connected with friends and family, conduct business, access entertainment, and more. But while technology can be incredibly useful and convenient, it can also have a negative impact on our lives if used in excess or without proper care. To ensure that you are using technology in a healthy way and maintain an overall balanced lifestyle, it is important to practice digital wellness. Here are five steps you can take to achieve digital wellbeing and make sure your tech usage isn’t adversely affecting your life.
Understand the Impact of Technology on Your Life
It is important to recognize how the use of technology can take away from other valuable activities in life, such as spending time with family, exercising, and pursuing hobbies. Monitor your tech usage to better understand its impact on your life, and consider replacing some of those activities with healthier alternatives. Taking this step is essential not only to monitor the time you spend engaging with your devices but also how and on which apps you are spending it.
You can track your overall phone and individual app usage by using the built-in “Screen Time” feature on iPhones and iPads, or the “Digital Wellbeing” feature on Androids. Otherwise, you can download a third-party app like Social Fever, App Time Tracker, BreakFree Phone Usage Tracker or others.
Set Limits for Yourself and Take Breaks Away from Screens
Set limits for yourself when it comes to tech usage, especially in order to avoid experiencing the negative effects of overuse. Set specific times when you won’t be using technology and stick to those limits. Taking scheduled breaks away from your screens is also essential for maintaining digital wellness. Even if it’s just a few minutes, getting away from your devices can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety associated with technology use.
1. When working…
if your phone keeps distracting you from your work, put it away or switch off the notifications. Make sure you establish boundaries between your work and tech use, so that you’re not tempted to procrastinate with social media or other apps. For optimal productivity, place your phone in a room separate from the one you’re working in. Without having it within arm’s reach, you will be less likely to get up and walk to get it when it rings or beeps.
What’s more, you can set up some rules: reward yourself with a 5-10 minute phone break upon completing some tasks!
2. While having a meal…
put your phone away during meal times or when you are with other people. This will help you focus on the present moment and engage in meaningful conversations instead of being distracted by your device. Instead of reaching for your phone when dining alone, make the most out of your meal by concentrating on its flavour and texture. Take a moment to appreciate all the nuances within each bite; you won’t regret it!
3. While travelling…
try to resist the urge to check your social media or emails constantly. Instead, take advantage of this time away from screens and explore your surroundings. Find a cafe where you can sit and watch people, grab a book and read in a park, or go for a walk – the possibilities are endless!
When you are met with captivating scenery, rather than reaching for your phone and capturing it on camera, savour the view with all of your senses to really appreciate its beauty. Nowadays, practically anyone can travel wherever they please, so there is less pressure to impress others by posting photos online – they likely have seen that place in person too!
4. While being with family or friends…
be present with your family or friends. Interacting with other people face-to-face is not only healthier but more rewarding than connecting through a screen. Make it a priority to put away your phone and engage in meaningful conversations when you are around the ones you love; these moments will be so much more memorable. To ensure everyone can truly connect during your time together, ask every individual to place their devices in one spot away from the centre of attention. And that includes yourself!
5. Before bed…
avoid looking at screens for at least one hour before you go to bed. The blue light emitted from phones, tablets, laptops and TV’s can disrupt your sleep cycle. Instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching a movie before bed, opt for activities like reading, journaling or meditating, all of which will help you relax and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Maintaining Digital Hygiene
Digital hygiene is an important aspect of digital wellness as it helps ensure that our tech usage is hygienic and healthy. This includes regularly updating your software, using robust antivirus software, and backing up your data. This can help protect you from viruses and other cyber threats while also ensuring that your personal information remains safe. Additionally, it’s important to practice safe browsing habits such as avoiding clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from untrusted sources. Delete apps that you don’t use anymore.
Monitor Your Progress Toward Achieving Digital Wellness
Creating healthy habits for yourself can be difficult, but with the right approach, it is possible. Once you have taken the necessary steps to ensure digital wellness and established healthy tech usage habits, make sure to regularly monitor your progress. This will help you stay on track and continue making progress toward achieving a more balanced lifestyle.
By following these steps and practising digital wellness, you can lead a healthier and more balanced lifestyle while still getting the most out of technology. Ultimately, it is important to recognize the potential negative impacts of tech usage and take the necessary steps to ensure your life remains balanced.