There is no doubt that technology has hugely benefited the lives of many. Our digital devices have majorly increased connectivity and collaboration, allowing us to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and clients across the world. It has also increased our productivity, whereby smartphones and computers reduce human error and allow us to seamlessly transition between tasks. However, individuals are now finding it more and more difficult to switch off, leaving very little ‘me’ time as the line between home life and work becomes increasingly blurred. Consequently, it is important to understand how technology impacts our wellbeing and what mindful techniques can be used to move past this ‘always on’ mentality.
The link between technology and stress
In recent years, wellness and self-care has become more of a workplace priority, encouraging professionals to question the relationship between technology and mental wellbeing. In doing so, we now understand the implications of working outside the office as workloads are transported home through our digital devices. This can cause increased stress and anxiety, with individuals feeling as though they must continue working outside of their designated hours – this issue is also known as leaveism. According to Deloitte’s study, young professionals are more susceptible to leaveism, with 28% of those surveyed having difficulty switching off mentally from work because of increased connectivity. Moreover, 20% stated that being constantly connected to work made them feel emotionally exhausted.
Alongside the lack of definition between work and home life, technology allows individuals to find respite from stress through mindless social media engagement. Many use this detachment from the real world to numb the challenges of reality, rather than effectively and appropriately managing their stress. Although technology and social media provide short-term relief, they do not implement positive or long-lasting strategies of stress management, which help to reframe thoughts and provide a practical toolkit to reduce the feeling of overwhelm.
The importance of downtime and separating yourself from technology
Individuals thrive when they feel positive, energised and appreciated and as a result, their home and work lives flourish too. Therefore, it is essential to implement positive and effective techniques to increase downtime, separating yourself from technology. This can be achieved through a variety of techniques;
- Set clear parameters: It can be really useful to set time parameters, for instance, between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm you allow yourself to use technology. The hours outside of this parameter are for downtime and relaxation only.
- Positive-technology replacements: organise activities which focus on physical and mental stimulation. This could include breathing exercises, art sessions, yoga or meditation.
- Set reminders to limit your technology use: there are multiple apps on the market which help limit your time on social media and digital devices. These simple prompts will increase your awareness of the amount of time you spend online, and therefore encourage you to step away from your phone and computer to enjoy other technology-free activities.
- Explore the outdoors: make time in your schedule to walk or run in natural settings. Not only will the physical activity help you refocus, being consciously present when outdoors will allow your mind to creatively wander.
Here at Talent Courtyard we understand the importance of switching off, therefore we have a variety of workshops to help individuals feel relaxed, realigned and rejuvenated. We improve an individual’s confidence in creating boundaries between work and home life, increasing their productivity, engagement and creativity overall.
Our workshops How to Switch Off, Effectively Working from Home and Art as a Form of Meditation can help employees create a balance between work and life. Alternatively, we offer Discover your Inner Poetry and Creative Wellbeing workshops as exciting and positive alternatives to technology for anyone to enjoy.
To read more on Deloitte’s study, please click HERE
Words by Kelly Bryan