Embracing Technology While Still Taking Care of Yourself
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Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Life has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, and it will change even more so over the next 100 years. I’m not here to say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I quite like technology. Work is easier. Almost all the information in the world is at my fingertips. Staying connected to anyone anywhere in the world is easier now more than ever. But I would be lying if I said it doesn’t get overwhelming at times.
I like to keep a small list of self-care ideas in the back of my brain for times when I’m being drained of my energy and will to do anything but lay in bed and scroll mindlessly through social media. Here are some of the things from the top of my list:
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself for using too much technology
We are surrounded by it. Our social, personal, and work lives revolve around it. It’s easy to fall down the trap of using technology more than doing anything else all day. Sometimes we don’t even have the choice because of work and life demands. But once you sit down and realize you may have overdone it a bit on your phone or computer, try to find some time to do something for yourself rather than focusing on all the time you wish you hadn’t spent on electronics.
2. Go outside and take a walk
Do just that. Leave your electronics behind (except maybe your phone for safety reasons) and head outside. Even if you can only afford to step away for a few minutes, a little bit of sunshine and a short walk can be great for your health, mood, and even your productivity. If going outside isn’t an option for whatever reason, try to grab a few laps around the office or your house. Move your legs and let your mind wander without your work and devices’ distractions.
3. Put your phone out of reach at night
This one is a bit of a challenge for those of us who have problems staying asleep or who like to check the time throughout the night. But even just checking the time can lead to checking our notifications, and the next thing you know, you’re aimlessly scrolling through news articles or social media. Try to set your alarm at night and put your phone out of reach, or better yet, put your phone in another room and buy yourself an old-fashion alarm clock if you can.
4. Get enough Sleep
Now that we’ve put our phones up at bedtime let’s move on to the sleeping part. Getting enough sleep is an act of self-care that can improve our overall health and happiness. I’m not going to claim to be a sleep expert here, especially because I know I don’t get enough of it myself. Still, I know just enough to realize technology probably doesn’t help our overall sleeping routines. Some people claim that technology is the great enemy of sleep. I don’t know if I would go that far. There are actually many websites and apps that try to help us create better sleep habits, but I get the sentiment.
Screens before sleep and in the middle of the night being a bad idea is something I can get behind. It just makes sense. Our brains are meant to increase the production of a sleep hormone called melatonin when there is a lack of sunlight. If we interrupt that natural cycle, we can expect our overall sleeping patterns to be interrupted as well. Putting our devices up an hour or so before bed, along with turning the lights off and minimizing distracting noises, can help with letting our brains do what they need to do to get a good night’s sleep.
5. Set boundaries
I’ve always loved all things technology. I think the world is a better place because of it, but like most things people enjoy, too much can be a bad thing. Addiction to technology and electronics is a real thing. Setting boundaries is one way to keep a healthy relationship with your gadgets. Here are a few ideas to help you limit your tech use:
- Use an app to track your daily screen time
- Schedule no-tech time
- Make a list of no-tech things you love doing to pull from when you need to step away from electronics
- Set small goals such as not looking at your phone as soon as you wake up or picking up a book instead of checking social media every time you’re bored
- Use my free habit tracker to encourage good habits
If you’re feeling bogged down from technology, take some time to journal for a few minutes. Be sure to note down something you did for yourself or that you want to do for yourself. This helps to hold yourself accountable. It’s easy to think you aren’t neglecting your self-care, but writing it down and keeping track will show you just how much you more you could be doing for yourself.
7. Be mindful of your apps
Remember, the goal here isn’t to remove all tech and electronics from our lives. Technology is here to stay, and it can improve our lives. We just have to be mindful of what we use and how often we use it. If our cellphone home screens are full of apps that will drag us down a hole of mindless scrolling and negativity, it might be time to switch it up. Choose apps that make you feel good and help you be productive (your goal). Take some time to think about what you want to accomplish and how you hope to feel when using technology, then go through your current apps and see if they align with your goals. Delete any that don’t and keep this information in mind when looking at new apps.
The digital age is here, it’s booming, and it’s our future. Rather than seeing it as a negative thing that drains us, let’s learn to take care of ourselves while growing with tech. Learning to set boundaries and using technology to improve our lives is a much more attainable goal. In what ways do you plan to practice self-care while embracing the digital age?