It’s no secret that technology has had a monumental impact on our society and our daily lives in an incredibly short amount of time. Google is only 22 years old, Youtube is 16 years old, and Facebook is about 17 years old. Some people may fondly remember simpler times before these tech giants came about, while other people simply cannot imagine life without them. Either way, it’s obvious that our reliance on technology isn’t going anywhere, so it’s important to know how to be able to tell when it’s time to take a break from your electronic devices.
Mental Health Decline
If you are experiencing a decline in your mental health, you may find putting down your electronics could help. For some people, overuse of social media can sometimes cause anxiety and depression even when they think they’re using it to relax and unwind. Many times, certain accounts and influencers people follow for motivation or inspiration unintentionally cause the opposite effect, and lead people to start over-analyzing and comparing themselves. This can be detrimental to your mental health in the long run and cause lasting effects. Try unfollowing or muting specific accounts or influencers that you find yourself envying or comparing yourself to. It also may be a good idea to take a complete break from social media and pause your accounts or delete the app from your smartphone. (Doing so won’t erase your account or history.) If you’ve already taken action and still find social media affecting you negatively, you may want to consider seeing an online psychiatrist to help diagnose the causes and manage your symptoms. Sometimes addictions can be difficult to break on your own and professional help may be required, especially as smartphone addiction and related mental health issues are becoming increasingly common. Afterall, smartphones are designed to be addictive.
You may notice it’s taking you longer than it used to to fall asleep. Resorting to scrolling through the news, social media, a quick game, or a chapter of an e-book seems like a decent way to relax and get sleepy. However, studies exploring the effects of electronics on sleep have shown that this can actually suppress your natural sleep rhythms and functions. When you are not getting quality sleep at night, you can become irritable during the day, less productive at work, lose focus more easily, and your memory could worsen. Give yourself some time to unwind without your electronics and see if you notice any changes in the quality of your sleep. Some great options are reading a book, listening to a wind-down meditation, or journalling.
Physical Health Decline
If you are using technology in excess you may experience a variety of physical health issues. Migraines, eye strain or vision problems, neck and back issues, and weight gain can all be attributed to digital overuse. Many of these issues are caused by the sedentary lifestyle commonly associated with technology overuse, but it doesn’t stop there. Forward Head Posture, also known as gamer’s neck or nerd neck, is a common health issue associated with technology. The issue is caused when the head is constantly slumped forward, leading to muscle tension, back pain, and even potential nerve compression. Sometimes it’s unavoidable especially if you work on a computer, but small changes like getting a standing desk or wearing blue light glasses can help ease back, neck, or eye strain. Take time off of work when possible to get away from your computer, and be sure to put time limits on recreational computer use.
Overall, it’s important to realize that you may associate your technology with inherent happiness or relaxation when in reality, you may find you feel so much better after taking a break. You will get a chance to be more present in the moment, look up, and get some perspective. Try being mindful of your consumption and incorporating some boundaries if technology is disrupting your life.
GET THE BOOK BY
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.