Disconnecting: 3 steps to a Healthy Relationship with Tech in a Personal & Professional Digital Age
We live in an increasingly digitally connected world. Feels such an obvious observation, doesn’t it? Still, as we get used to the abundance of technology and online communication, its heavy impact on us can fade into the background. Of course, the effects of screen time and a co-dependant relationship with our devices are still there, and if we’re not careful, can cause physical and mental strain on our personal and workplace wellbeing.
This is where mindfulness in the workplace comes in. One of the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace comes from active consideration about device use, something key to preventing digital overload.
So, take a moment to think about it: how much time do you spend looking at a screen?
…Shocking, right? It’s almost unbelievable how much screens dominate daily life. Boundaries between work and play get blurred easily when it can all be found on our laptops, tablets, phones, and smartwatches.
So, if the feeling of eye strain and mental burnout are familiar to you, consider disconnecting from a plugged-in world more often. These staff wellbeing ideas offer a brief overview of recalibrating to the real world. Here's how to have a healthy relationship with tech in a personal and professional digital age.
Step One: Setting Boundaries
The first step to disconnecting and becoming a pro at individual and team-wide mindfulness workplace training is to get an understanding of corporate wellbeing and personal mindfulness examples. So, what is mindfulness, exactly? How do we make it central to our lives in such a busy corporate world?
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
- Mindful.Org, 2020
Our post on corporate wellbeing and prioritising mindfulness in the workplace is full of great tips and tricks outlining precisely what it means to be mindful in the office. To summarise, to reap the endless benefits of mindfulness at work, you need to actively and consciously make plans to set boundaries that balance the personal and professional and follow through on them.
Now mindfulness and real-world workplace wellbeing training is front and centre, it’s time to set boundaries for the digital. Here are some suggestions on setting limits that keep digital overload, burnout, and fatigue at bay:
Develop a routine by logging on and off at consistent times
Being a part of ‘always-on’ culture means that not only are your devices never off, but your mind never is too. Give them, and yourself, a break by dedicating a specific chunk of time to use them, such as 9-5, and then logging off. This leads into…
Avoid the temptation to ‘quickly check’ your inbox
We’ve all fallen for it. The desire to quickly check if someone has gotten back to you, or to quickly reply to an email that comes through late at night because it will only take a minute… But these can quickly spiral out of control, and before you know it, you’re sucked into cyberspace. Set your boundaries and stick to it!
Separate work and play devices or apps
This one’s a little trickier, but having devices that are just for work, and others that are just for personal use, goes a long way in creating a healthy work-life balance. If you can’t have separate devices, try using apps for that extra degree of separation
Use apps that limit your screen time
Fallen into the trap of ‘one more email’ or ‘five more minutes scrolling’? Outsource your willpower with an app that sets the boundaries for you. For example, Flora plants a real tree every time you don’t use your phone for set periods of time. Win-win!
Turn off notifications after a certain time
Similar to logging on and off, for our devices constantly on us (like smartphones), there are settings within them to automate a do not disturb mode for either all notifications, or ones from specific apps, within a certain timeframe. Unplug, unwind, and sleep easier by turning off notifications from early evening to the morning.
Try implementing these into your team’s staff wellbeing policy, or in your own daily life, for a real difference in overall wellbeing.
Step Two: Managing Digital Overload
Set your boundaries? Awesome! Now we’ve come up with some wellbeing ideas for staff, it’s time to focus on avoiding and alleviating the symptoms of digital overload with some wellbeing and resilience training.
Here are just some of the potential pressures and symptoms constant screen time can cause:
Mental and physical fatigue
Mental fogginess and burnout
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (painful wrist strain)
Skeletal and muscular pain – including neck, shoulder, and backache from poor posture
Poor sleep habits
Reduced attention span
Poor physical health from a lack of exercise
These aches and pains tend to all tie in together, and are vital to keep an eye out. Disconnecting is a form of physical and mental wellbeing training that helps to restores you and your staff’s mind and body to their natural healthy state.
To avoid these symptoms, set the boundaries from Step One. To soothe these symptoms, as well as boost your general wellbeing overall, take a look at Step Three...
Step Three: Disconnecting
It’s time to disconnect and recalibrate. Return to the real world by finding something fun to do offline! Here are some suggestions to get you started – they could even become wellbeing workshop ideas for the whole office to get involved in!
Read a book – solo or social, you could even turn it into a social event by writing reviews, or a good old fashioned book club
Go for a walk – you could even see some sights far more beautiful than found on a screen
Get active with sports and exercise – take your casual movement to the next level by running, cycling, swimming, or playing a sport – you could even try yoga!
Cook or bake – engage all five senses at once with some homemade sweet or savoury treats
Organise your space – declutter and decorate your desk or home
Journal or draw – unleash your inner creative!
Book a group activity – either at the weekend or as a team-building exercise, break the mould and go big! Perhaps bowling, paintballing, ziplining, see a musical, or a visit to a museum?
Network – meetings and catch-ups are great online, but where better to get to know other professionals with a personal touch than face to face?
Even better, once you’ve found fun in the offline world, engaging with the digital becomes far less overwhelming and demanding.
There you have it: a great starting point for a healthy relationship with tech through some individual and corporate mindfulness programs and mental wellbeing training.
“Sometimes you have to disconnect to reconnect.” -Elina Sur
Most important of all: make the digital work for you, efficiently. The internet is not your enemy! Change your perspective. If the sudden rise of working from home and corporate health and wellbeing courses online the past two years have taught from anything, it’s that devices aren’t here to replace your offline world, but to make the real world even better. Automate, streamline, touch base, then log off.
To develop these skills further, check out our Mind It Digital Wellbeing workshop and learn about the myths which fuel 'always-on' working; gain practical steps for healthy boundaries between digital work and real rest, and explore how teams can support each other with small steps towards a balanced and energised working day.
For more guidance and information, get in touch with us at: email@example.com, we would love to support!