Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Reconnecting with Yourself in a World of Screens

Over the past several months, I’ve been talking more and more to the people in my everyday life about the everyday stresses that technology brings us. I’ve studied and worked in technology for well over 20 years now, and we are all certainly aware of how much it has helped our lives, improved business efficiencies, and so on. But there’s a cost to all of this that we don’t always think about.

When I was working on my studies for my PhD, I was introduced to the term “technostress.” It was really framed as the stress that technology can cause us, such as having to learn a new piece of software to do your job, or the frustration we experience when the layout changes, you don’t know where to find the tools you always have used, and so on. It has evolved to include more insidious things like the way we are always “on” now because of email and social media notifications, or how we can’t really disconnect from work even when we’re on vacation.

These days, I’m starting to see technostress in a different light. I’m seeing it as the stress that technology causes us in our everyday lives. It’s the stress we feel when we’re trying to balance work and family and life, and technology is just one more thing that we feel like we have to juggle.

It can be tough to manage all of this, and it’s no wonder that technostress is on the rise.
Many of you may have heard the term “digital detox” or “social media detox.” I’ve been taking these much more recently. I don’t think you need (or should) wait until you experience signs of needing a digital detox!

Here are a few of my tips:

Turn off unnecessary notifications. Do you really need that Wordle or My Fitness Pal notification to interrupt you in the middle of your busy day?
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb, even just for an hour while you crank through a big project. You can set certain contacts in your phone as emergency contacts and they can still get through to you on DnD if you’re worried about your kids or elderly parents needing you.
Log out of email and social media when you’re done with it for the day. No, really. LOG OUT. If it’s not open in your browser, you can’t be tempted to check it every five minutes.
Designate some technology-free time each day, even if it’s just 30 minutes. During that time, put away all screens and devices, and do something that doesn’t involve technology. Maybe read a book (an actual book with actual pages), talk to your partner or kids, go for a walk…whatever you enjoy that lets you completely disconnect.
Plan a weekend away where you know you won’t have cell service. I started camping again in the past 2 years. I took a few trips where I didn’t have service for three GLORIOUS days. It was amazing.
Get outside. One of the best ways to combat technostress is to spend time in nature. Enjoy the sun, feel the ground on the bottom of your bare feet. Be in the moment.
I’m not saying that we should all go off the grid, but I think it’s important that we become more aware of how technostress is affecting our everyday lives.
Technology is a blessing and curse; it’s important to make sure you’re not leaning too heavily on it.
Stress levels are high as our lives become more reliant on technology; in order to combat this stress, we need to take advantage of moments when we can disconnect from tech for a little while. What will you do this weekend to disconnect to reconnect for a bit?

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