Every new year, many people begin to set countless goals to improve their health: From exercising to lose weight, eating more vegetables and fruits, drinking enough water to using only dental and skincare every day.
But this is 2022, and self-care isn’t just about going to the gym or going to the spa anymore. With the interweaving of technological devices and platforms such as phones, computers, internet and social networks into our lives and work, you also have to pay attention to a new aspect called: Health digital wellness.
Nina Hersher, CEO and co-founder of the Digital Wellness Institute, says digital health is the optimal state that individuals can achieve when they use platforms. digital.
She divides digital health into five levels: (1) Use no digital devices at all, (2) Use digital devices sparingly and sparingly, (4) Excessive use of digital devices, beyond your needs. own needs, (5) Addiction to digital devices.
In the middle of this spectrum is the degree of (3) Have a rich, healthy and happy digital life. Turns out, this is exactly what we should be aiming for. Because in the 21st century, we can’t live like our grandparents did, cut off from all digital devices. But we also need to avoid falling into the trap of overuse and addiction to these devices.
Hersher says state number (3) is an equilibrium that everyone should aim for. By doing that, you’ll both be able to use your phone and computer for optimal performance, and use the internet and social media to connect and build lasting and quality relationships. quantity.
Phones and texts won’t distract you anymore, emails won’t overwhelm you, and social media won’t make you feel FOMO (fear of missing out). The crux of this balance lies in the question: How can users interact with technology in a way that draws positive energy from it instead of getting tired?
5 signs that your phone is negatively affecting your physical health
Right at the time you are reading this article, your eyes may already feel tired or itchy by looking at the screen. According to a 2016 study from The Vision Council, up to 65% of people who use technology regularly experience eye strain.
Part of the reason is that the blue light emitted by screens can cause temporary eye irritation. Additionally, when users stare at their phones or computers, they tend to blink less than when not using the device. Staring without blinking at the glare of screens can lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.
Using computers and continuously for a long time can also cause musculoskeletal complications. A 2019 survey found that the average person using a computer for work can sit for 6 hours and 42 minutes before getting up to do something and then coming back.
Meanwhile, doctors recommend getting up from your chair at least once an hour. Because sitting in a stationary position for too long can wreak havoc on your neck, back, and shoulders. The same thing happens when you’re sitting with your head down on your cell phone, hunched over on the sofa or in bed, and scrolling through your tablet.
Up to a third of technology users say they experience neck, back or back pain. This discomfort is so common that doctors have to give it its own name, “tech neck”, or “tech neck syndrome”.
To know if you are having an excessive technology use habit that affects your physical health, the Digital Health Institute points out 5 signs:
1. Do you use devices with electronic screens such as phones, computers, tablets, TVs, etc. within 30 minutes of the night before going to bed?
2. Within the first 5 minutes of waking up in the morning, do you use your cell phone?
3. Do you find your body stressed after using mobile phones and computers?
4. Do you often use computers and phones for long periods of time and forget that you need to take a break?
5. Do you use your cell phone during meals?
The more “Yes” or “Frequently” answers, the more likely you are to experience negative health effects from digital devices. My advice for you right now is:
– Schedule regular breaks when using the computer using timer applications such as Forest, TomatoTimer, so that every hour you sit continuously, get up for at least 5-10 minutes. You can walk or do stretches as outlined in this article.
– Apply the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes of looking at the screen, spend 20 seconds looking away, at an object 20 feet away.
– Make sure you maintain good posture when using computers and phones, do not hunch your back, do not bend your neck.
– Exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day to make up for the time spent sitting a lot during the day.
5 signs that your phone is negatively affecting your mental health
Technology habits can not only affect our physical bodies, but also our mental and emotional health.
Hersher said: “When we check email or social media in the morning, we are actually in a state of stress like facing an enemy. Our day begins like this before we even get out of bed.
If used for the right purposes and in moderation, research shows it can help us connect with loved ones and promote a sense of belonging. However, a study conducted by psychologist Melissa G. Hunt found that beyond a certain time period, the more time people spend on social media, the more lonely and insecure people feel. than.
In 2018, she conducted a study to analyze how young people’s time on social media affects their mood? When participants limited their time on social media to 10 minutes a day, they showed more emotional resilience than days when they didn’t limit their online time.
Like physical health, the Digital Wellbeing Institute also points out 5 signs that digital device use is negatively affecting your mental health:
1. Do you use phone, internet and digital platforms just to free yourself from a difficult situation?
2. When you take your hands off your phone or lose your internet connection, do you get nervous or feel FOMO (fear of missing out)?
3. When you see attractive and successful people on social media, do you see yourself as inferior and self-deprecating?
4. When people share an achievement or milestone on social media, don’t you find yourself inspired?
5. Do you often just scroll through social media mindlessly without sharing, commenting or even searching for specific content?
Again, the more “Yes” or “Frequently” answers, the more likely you are to experience mental health effects from digital devices. My advice for you right now is:
– Try writing down how you feel when you read or interact with each type of content, each channel or person on social networks
– Unfollow or unsubscribe from online communities that don’t contribute to your sense of self, happiness and worth
– Create meaningful interactions by reaching out to the important people in your life, finding opportunities to connect and build trust with them
– Develop a community that supports you to progress and improve your quality of life
– Be more proactive in using your phone and social networks. Don’t just mindlessly scroll through, look for positive hashtags like #kindess, #inspired
– Get away from social media and your phone to fully engage in real-life activities, for example, don’t use your phone when talking to friends or family, or while concentrating on work. …
Over time, these little habits can help you build a healthy relationship with all of your digital devices, from phones to computers and social media platforms. You will find that you do not necessarily need to detox from your phone, Facebook or Tiktok.
Instead, social networks will become tools to help you entertain, connect with people, express yourself, even inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and grow. In short, you can still reach a state of health and happiness in the digital age just by using your devices the right way instead of being manipulated and controlled by them.
Refer to Forbes, Sfu, Digitalwellnessinstitute