July is Digital Wellness month, in which we should all take time to think about our relationship with technology, both in the workplace and in our personal lives. We live in a world that relies heavily on the internet and digital devices. As remote work continues to increase in popularity, it is more important than ever to be mindful in how technology plays a role in our day-to-day lives. Without putting a focus on digital wellness, individuals can fall into a tech addiction, which has shown an increase in stress levels and anxiety.
Keep reading to find three simple ways to enhance your digital wellness.
- Set Screen Time Limits
It can be easy to get wrapped up in technology for the entire day if we are not careful. You wake up, grab your phone to turn off the alarm, and check your personal messages and socials. You head into work, and on the way listen to a podcast or music – from your phone, of course. Once you’re in the office, you sit down to check your work messages, and spend the day on your computer getting work done. Your drive home is the same as the drive in, and once you’re home, its time wind down with your phone, computer, or TV – maybe even an eBook.
When does the screen time break come? While it is easy to believe that we are taking enough breaks or monitoring our screen time, the reality is that many of us struggle to stay away for too long. This is critical, and probably the most difficult for the majority of us to manage without some additional help. Sometimes we just need some extra accountability.
To help limit those days where technology seems inescapable, consider setting up screen time limits on your phone. There are ways to limit screen time on iPhone and Android, so your phone will tell you when its time to take a break!
- Take Care of Your Eyes
While blue light protective glasses are becoming more and more popular amongst digital workers, the real relief comes from screen breaks and Light Sensitivity Glasses. Blue light is the major light source from our screens, but unless you spend big bucks on a pair of blue light glasses, there is little conclusive research on their usefulness in helping with eye strain.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Long hours staring at digital screens leads to decreased blinking. Blinking less sometimes causes a series of temporary eye symptoms known as eye strain. But these effects are caused by how people use their screens, not by anything coming from the screens. The best way to avoid eye strain is to take breaks from the screen frequently. The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend blue light-blocking glasses because of the lack of scientific evidence that blue light is damaging to the eyes.”
That said, if you are experiencing headaches, eye strain or dryness, then you may be dealing with photophobia, or abnormal light sensitivity. In this case, blue light is not the only problem, and it is time to invest in a pair of light sensitivity glasses. These glasses have lenses designed to help manage the impacts of all harmful light, including blue, red, and amber.
Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is: Take care of your eyes! Give them time to rest, allow them to look away from the screen, and remember to blink.
- Schedule Unplugged Time at Work
It can be hard to get away from our devices, especially at work, despite putting in the effort to limit our screen time. Checking emails, working on reports, and even taking meetings can add up to a full day’s worth of digital work.
Scheduling “Unplugged” time is another fantastic way to improve digital wellness. During this scheduled time, take the opportunity to focus on face-to-face meetings, brainstorming, or other mindful practices to prevent burnout. The digital world can be overstimulating, so remember to take breaks where you can!
The information in this article is not to say that digital technology is inherently bad, or that remote work is harmful, but rather to emphasize the importance of balance in our daily lives. There is an endless pit of information online, and there is no way for any of us to experience it all, so take that scrolling break, move your body, and take some deep breaths. We are all in this together.
Technology should be utilized in ways that are manageable and, more importantly, beneficial to us. As individuals, we must make mindful decisions regarding our relationship with digital technology and its overabundance of information. By focusing on digital wellness, we can alleviate the risks of being overly “plugged-in” and experience better mental and physical health in our lives.
Arnold, C. (2022, May). Digital Wellness: 4 ways to improve your digital well-being. Scrubbing In by BSWHealth. https://www.bswhealth.com/blog/digital-wellness-4-ways-to-improve-your-digital-well-being
Citrix. (n.d.). What is Digital Wellness? – citrix. Citrix.com. https://www.citrix.com/solutions/digital-workspace/what-is-digital-wellness.html
P, M. (2021, May 24). Do blue light glasses work? separating fact from fiction. Axon Optics. https://axonoptics.com/blogs/post/do-blue-light-glasses-work-a-science-based-analysis