Coping with Technological Overload
Improved smartphones, faster internet speeds, and richer online and streaming content have worked together to make it difficult for us to separate from electronics. The social isolation caused by COVID has made all of us even more reliant on technology and our devices for social networking.
There is increasing information that we have a true addiction to our technology that reduces our quality of life. The overuse of electronics causes anxiety and stress, increasing the pace of our lives. Many people suffer from sleep disturbances because of increased screen use prior to going to bed. Blue light from screens stops melatonin secretion, and results in lighter, low-quality sleep.
Consider unplugging and taking specific and deliberate time out of your day to avoid interacting with electronics such as smartphones, televisions, computer screens, reading tablets, and music. Listed below are some suggestions.
1. Turn off your phone before bedtime
Try placing your phone charging station in a room other that your bedroom. This will ensure that you are less likely to be on a screen before bed, and that your first action in the morning won’t be to reach for your phone to check email, Facebook or Twitter.
2. Consider using blue light blocking glasses
If you plan to watch television or be on a screen before bed, consider purchasing anti blue light glasses. They will help improve your sleep quality.
3. Turn off notifications
By turning off most notifications this will markedly reduce anxiety and the fear of missing out (FOMO). A good place to start is to try this on weekends. Learn how to turn off sound and banner notifications on both your computer and phone. This will have the additional benefit of helping you stay more focused on the current task without distraction.
4. Explore applications to help you
There are many apps for your phone and web browser extensions that can help you manage your technology. Here are several to investigate:
- Quality Time
5. Try a Saturday or Sunday without phones
Plan a weekend hike or trip without your phone. Try keeping your phone off for the entire day. There are likely less critical reasons to stay connected on the weekend, which increases your chance of success. If you can’t manage a phone holiday, consider a holiday from all social media.
Technology has improved our lives in many ways, increased our access to information, and allowed us to reconnect with friends. These suggestions may help you control your technology use and have a more balanced, richer life.
As always, we are here for you. Please email or call if you want to set up an update meeting or talk by phone.
Ralph Broadwater, M.D., CFP®
© 2021 The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc., All rights reserved.
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