Struggling to spend time with your family while receiving constant push notifications? Overwhelmed by the deluge of hourly news? Or perhaps even anxious about the appearance of your social media profiles?
Those living in the Digital Age face a unique dilemma. Unlike previous generations, people today are inundated with information from multiple devices, through dozens of services, streamed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be a lot for anybody.
But just what exactly is digital wellness, and why should it be incentivized by businesses?
What is Digital Wellness?
Digital wellness refers to the state of one’s physical and mental health in the Digital Age. More specifically, digital wellness refers to preventative measures aimed at regulating and improving the healthy use of technology.
Reducing one’s activity on Facebook or monitoring time spent on a smartphone are just two examples of improving one’s digital wellness.
Why is Digital Wellness Important?
As technology evolves and our time is increasingly spent online, society must learn to adapt and overcome the dangers of digital dependence. Many tech companies stake their business on attracting and engaging users. That means designing irresistible experiences online, from addictive video games to endless social media feeds.
Most recently, major tech firms are under pressure to include new “digital wellness” features in their services. iOS 12 now has features to help users manage their phone use. Android P now has app timers to cut off use past a certain time limit. The digital wellness revolution has begun, and users must stay cognizant of their prolonged computer or phone use. Fortunately, there are a few tools that can help you get started.
Digital Wellness During COVID-19
2020 posed new challenges for almost everyone around the world. As work-life was upended, digital wellness became more relevant than ever before. Over a few months, people began to explore the various benefits of meditation, yoga, home exercises, healthier diets, and “digital detoxes”. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Increased Anxiety and mental Health Issues
A KFF Tracking Poll in March 2020 found that after stay-at-home orders were issued, 47% of people sheltered-in-place reported negative mental health effects related to COVID-19. Loneliness, isolation, and the new normal brought about by the coronavirus can all be viewed as causes for the added stress. Without digital wellness practices in place, these issues can only be exacerbated. Be sure to read the CDC’s page on coping with stress to learn more.
2. Increase in Scams
In the first three months of 2020 alone, the FTC received 18,235 reports related to coronavirus, and reports of $13.4 million dollars of losses due to fraud. As people spend more time working remotely or online, there will undoubtedly be a continued rise in fraud and scams, ranging from illegal robocalls to dubious vaccine information, to phishing and trojan scams that infect your computer’s data. Be vigilant of what you read online and the links you open or the calls you take. Read about avoiding coronavirus scams on the FTC’s page.
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
Shelter-in-place orders can directly lead to remote workers living less active lifestyles, as they become accustomed to working in front of their computer. This can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, and mental health issues. Especially at-risk are children who cannot attend school due to closures. Consider limiting screen time to take frequent breaks to stretch, run, lift, and move to maintain your physical health.
Digital Wellness Apps
Screen Time (iOS) and App Dashboard (Android)
While not technically downloadable apps, both Screen Time and App Dashboard are features in iOS devices and Android devices respectively that allow you to see how you spend your time on your phone. You can also set limits and restrictions on which apps you use and schedule time away from your device. Although it is tucked away in the settings, you don’t need to download or pay anything, and it monitors you as you use your phone.
f.lux (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android)
Every monitor and phone screen emits blue light, which can be harmful to your body’s internal clock especially at night. During the day, blue light can be useful because it emulates sunlight. But at night, it can impact our sleep and cause eye strain. With f.lux, you can adjust the color temperature of your computer or phone to adapt to the time of day. It’s something you simply have to experience yourself to notice the difference.
Moment (iOS and Android)
For a more extensive and user-friendly version of Screen Time or App Dashboard, check out Moment, available for both iOS and Android. It offers the same app/screen monitoring analysis but goes further with a “Phone Bootcamp” that coaches you into limiting your phone use. With a cleaner and more colorful interface, this app also excels at presenting the information in an understandable format.
OurPact (iOS and Android)
For parents and caretakers, OurPact offers a comprehensive activity dashboard for your whole family. This app lets you track how your family members or other users spend their phone time, restrict access to unauthorized content, and even locate their position on a map. Best of all, it has cross-platform support, meaning iOS users can continue to track Android users and vice versa.
Headspace (iOS and Android)
Headspace’s website reads “live a healthier, happier, more well-rested life in just a few minutes a day with the Headspace app.” And it’s true, Headspace is designed to offer the benefits of meditation and mindfulness with just a few minutes of listening each day. Whether you need it to sleep, relax, or just get through the day, Headspace can do wonders for your mind.
Calm (iOS and Android)
Calm is another meditation app, focusing on longer, deeper meditations, upwards of 10 minutes. You can also choose to buy Calm for a lifetime subscription fee of $399.99. While Headspace features lighthearted and colorful illustrations, Calm has a more focused approach on meditation, designed for those who have practiced mindfulness before.
Why Your Company Should Promote Digital Wellness
Businesses have increasingly relied on technology in the past few decades, from email communication to storing large files on the cloud. There’s no denying the increased efficiency generated by harnessing the power of the Internet. But at the same time, that means employees are more likely to spend their time on computers and phones for a majority of the workday.
One survey found that the average screen time of an office worker is 6.5 hours per day. Only about half the respondents admitted to taking breaks, and the other half claimed to experience eye soreness regularly. Combined with the statistics of mental health issues developed from prolonged use, you have a recipe for a constantly tired and stressed workforce.
Companies play an important role in combating the phone and computer addiction trends. By updating the brand’s wellness program to reduce extended use, the business may just notice a drastic change in the overall workforce performance and mood.
From everyone at Novel Coworking, we hope you consider limiting screentime and break away from social media and digital devices to spend time with your family and loved ones.
Here are some ideas to an effective corporate wellness program.