Cyber Bytes: A wellness approach to technology

Technology is awesome. It can also become pervasive, intrusive and hinder your goals for health, wellness and calm. This is what you need to know to create healthy spaces for technology in your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no luddite. I am a lover of technology. In my work, I delight at finding an app or site excellently made, or stunningly designed. My mobile device empowers me to be efficient wherever – and has even advanced a few of my new resolutions for health and wellness!

Still, the dark side to technology is also real, with profound impacts to our health. Rapidfire notifications can keep stress levels high while the screen light as the last thing you see in your bed at night can hinder recuperative sleep. The practice of snubbing your companion in favor of your phone recently termed “phubbing” – according to research from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, is damaging relationships and leading to higher levels of depression.

Where does technology advance your goals, and where does it cause you harm?

In the context of writing new resolutions, I put together a number of practices – a number of quick and easy decisions to define your technology spaces to guard and advance your goals. At that time I also came across a number of fantastic apps that have been a surprising addition to making a positive difference.

Three quick and easy decisions to define your spaces

In stress, we feel like we do not have time, or do not have space. Really, we all have time and space. Whether we are intentional about what occupies our spaces makes the difference between the experience of a calm and nourishing evening, or something else.

I have implemented three quick decisions in 2017. Also I’m not perfect, so I mess up all the time. Still, I’ve experienced benefit and you should too:

  • I’ve moved my cell phone charging cord to the island in my kitchen — so it doesn’t join me in my bedroom.

Directly afterwards, in a surprising turn of events as I was defining my spaces and times, I found I can use my technology to help me achieve the goals of winding down.

  • I want evening space for calm and family connection and creativity. I set a do not disturb on my phone – no notifications from apps like Facebook or updates between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. I don’t need to know.
  • I set up a ‘wind down hour.’ This is a full hour directly before the goal bedtime – screen free to have tea, or meditate or color or take a bath or breathe. In fact, I set an alarm on my phone – at 8 p.m! I call it “begin to wind down.” It’s been a great way to announce a shift in the evening towards rest.

Five apps to advance wellness, fitness and calm

On this journey seeking health, fitness, wellness and calm, I’ve tested a few apps that are working together to advance my goals.

  • Google Fit – have a fitness goal? Google fit turns your smartphone into a fit-bit with so much more. Count your steps, track workouts, your weight and reach goals.
  • Calm – Recommended to me a year ago and I love it — a freemium meditations and breathing app with sleep stories. I use it when I want a calm hour, or when I have five  minutes in a car before a meeting to achieve calm and reflection in life.
  • GLO –  my favorite cycle tracker… write up your symptoms, keep data on your period start and end – it will anticipate your next date and send you a notification, “Your period is coming tomorrow.” or “Congratulations, you are due to ovulate today!”
  • Water Drink Reminder – trying to drink more water in the day? This app, which syncs data with Google Fit, can calculate your ideal water intake based on weight, time of year, physical activity and other factors and send automated or customized drink water reminders.
  • Bliss – would you like reminders to work on your gratitude, perspective and reflection? Bliss is a great little app full of quick reflection exercises to strengthen your gratitude, practice savoring, find meaning at work, transform problems, focus on good things, and empower your perspective

Your spaces and your times and your goals for your life may be different, but I invite you into the journey of taking a step back, and making an intentional inquiry – where is technology serving you, and where does it cause you harm?

Irene Karedis Borys is the Business Development Account Manager at Cyberbility. You may reach her at 540-374-5062 or iborys@cyberbility.com

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