We have evolved from focusing on physical health to studying cognitive patterns in order to better our mental health. But whilst this journey, have we forgotten about another kind of health; digital health? Not to forget after being excessively dependent on technologies, it’s about time to acknowledge the importance of digital health.
In order to have a healthy life, it is important to maintain balance especially during the times of Covid-19. In 2020 we’ve become entirely dependent on tech, both overtly and covertly, to live any semblance of a normal life. Technology can no longer be seen as the enemy of society, but it also can’t be seen as an absolute boon. Now, after a year of maximizing our screen time and reconsidering what it means to live via video call, we need to look at a more nuanced view: we need to consider our digital health.
Recalling the earlier days, when we used to talk about technology it either regulated around the idea of using it or detoxing from it. Just as both physical and mental health has entered into mainstream conversations successfully, it’s about time to look at the way we talk about our digital hygiene.
Below are some suggestions to take to make sure the healthy balance we crave
1. How do we define digital health?
Digital health regulates around the idea of attaining a subtle balance between life and technology. It aims to provide a balanced approach to wellbeing within how we use our technology. Over the past year, we have become more dependent on tech more than ever. During the Covid crisis, let’s not undermine the value of forming or maintaining connections over the internet, it has majorly prevented us from getting isolated. Since we have accepted the kind of lifestyle we follow now, let’s dig in to follow better tricks to live a better life. We used to do digital detoxes and tried to manage it as a separate entity from mental and physical health. And, basically, that is not really an option anymore.
Ten years ago, we looked at our relationship with technology as something that was optional. It’s no longer optional anymore because it’s the need of time that we have to be connected for most of the time. We have taught how to use tech but hardly we have taught how to manage our digital health.
2. Make technology work for you
Since everyone is different and it is no surprise that everyone tends to follow different steps making sure what works for them. Something could work for someone else but not you, and that should be accepted because there are plenty of ways of doing the same thing so let’s not fixate over this.
Making technology work for you means that it’s not necessarily about “on” or “off” anymore. It’s about figuring out where your middle ground lies. Ask yourself on a daily basis: how much energy do I have? How connected do I feel to the people that matter to me? How do I want to harness during the day? If you answer those questions on a scale of one to ten, you get a clear answer as to where you are.
3. Setting up digital boundaries
Just like it is important to set boundaries when it comes to mental health so it important in terms of digital health as well. Questions like how do we use it and what do we see have a major impact on our well being.
One of the problems we’re facing today is that working from home serves no distinction between workdays and weekends. So sleep tends to slip away for most people. Having different desktops is a feature that you can use. You can also make sure that you are using features such as Night Light (a Microsoft feature that alters color temperature to help sleep after sitting in front of a screen), which is a really good tool to help people transition.
4. Keeping a digital diary
Keeping a diary or check helps to monitor your digital activities. It may help you become aware of the things that you do in your digital life and this will guide you in order to have a clear vision as to what habits would you want to continue or which you want to abandon. In order to know if it is working for you, so you need to keep up with a diary for at least a week.
5. Shake it off
Think about your digital life and your physical life as one. What you do in one benefits the other. Moving your body helps boost your productivity.
One of the things that lockdown has benefitted us is, that it has opened new ways of being creative. Microsoft did some research that actually proves, that people have been finding creative ways of using technology to bring creativity. The brain is hardwired for growth and the lockdown fatigue that we were getting was all about the fact that our brains were not being fed what it needs. During the lockdown, with the help of technology people are finding ways to have fun and to unlock their imagination, and be more creative.
7. Make sure other people understand your boundaries
Boundaries are a fundamental thing to looking after your mental health, so ultimately it’s our responsibility to stick to them. When you enforce the necessary boundaries, we have to do it out of self-care. when you are setting boundaries because you know that it is good for you, then there is no reason why other people should be allowed to cross that boundary. Setting up boundaries has more to do with the mental being of a person.
8. Appreciate the good habits you have cultivated
One more thing that 2020 has benefitted us is we are able to use tech for more exciting things than ever. Technology does not only helps with just work anymore, it’s about being able to introduce new ways to allow excitement into your life as well. So, being able to know what you need to do in between transition periods, whether that is moving your body, having your breakfast, looking after yourself in other ways, is also a really good habit to get into, so that you’re not just straight on to scrolling through social media or doing something that’s not particularly helpful.
Lockdown allowed us to see very clearly what our bad digital habits were because we really felt it. We really felt the consequences of a negative relationship with technology, which forced a lot of people to change what they were doing.
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