Self-care, Boundaries and Technology

A Word on Wellness:

What is your relationship with technology? Do you have boundaries in place? Maybe this is the first time your thinking about this, in that case, I invite you to use this post as a reminder to review what your doing and whether or not its working for you.

It’s no surprise that there is an instantaneous and demanding exchange of information on the internet. To this end, the internet has created an unrealistic demand for our attention. Think about it-nowadays, our phones go off regardless of whether we have made a conscious decision to be ‘on-line’ or ‘plugged in’. Snapchat, instagram, linked-in, facebook notifications - AND we haven’t even discussed the work aspect of technology (emails, calls, texts), boundaries and impact on self-care. Now think about the demands of technology for those who are on call 24/7 or who have a needy boss, always wanting more from us. We are constantly plugged in, online without even realizing it. The only real way to detach yourself from these unhealthy patterns is to truly UN-PLUG from the internet. Our phones should not be conceptualized as baby birds in which we need to nurture and protect-No, our phones/technology represent dysfunctional, maladaptive patterns, encapsulating the belief that we are constantly behind and that we incessantly have tasks to tend to.

Often times, this this type of thinking and behavior AKA staying ‘plugged in’ induces anxiety and depression; poor sleep and eating habits, temperament and irritability. For some this could mean challenges with communication and relationships and for others relapse, if struggling with addiction. When we get caught up in this type of thinking and behavioral patterns, our breathing becomes shallow, our muscles tense and we become irritable and short with others. Our stress (cortisol levels) goes up while our cognitive functioning goes down. When this happens STEP AWAY FROM THE INTERNET, un-plug and step into nature. Become one with the universe; go for a walk, get some fresh air, prop yourself up against a tree- restore balance and homeostasis. Listen to your body, I promise it’ll thank you.

Somethings to consider when thinking about your relationship with technology and/or your phone:

Ask yourself-

How quickly am I responding to texts, emails, miscellaneous notifications?

Do I interrupt the quality of time with family and friends to respond to notifications?

How often am I apart from my phone and my computer?

Do I sleep with my phone next to me?

How often am I expecting others to respond back to my texts, emails, phone calls etc.

Now, in terms of boundaries and self-care how does your relationship with your phone/technology (review above questions) impact you (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically)? What can you do to implement new boundaries and/or revise old one’s?

Some examples:

Put your phone on silent during designated hours of the day.

Turn your phone off or put on ‘do not disturb’ when sleeping.

No phones when eating.

Reminding yourself that you don’t have to respond to text, phone calls instantaneously. Give yourself permission to respond to text, phone notifications within the next week versus the next hour.

Do not check or respond to work emails when you are not working (weekends especially).

Remove certain social media apps from your phone and/or turn off notifications.

Are any of the above listed boundaries/self-care strategies put in place? If so, AMAZING. If not, no worries-select one or two and give it a whirl starting TODAY. Not only will you benefit from revising your technological boundaries and improving your self-care but others will benefit too, for individuals will emulate after you and the healthy behavioral patterns that you set-forth, giving them permission to do the same.