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Dealing With Digital Downtime

By Janin Hendry

Our cellphones are always in our hands, earbuds are always in our ears, and tablets give us instant access to email and videos. It is part of modern life to remain connected throughout the day, but is it healthy?

The Good in Remaining Connected

Connecting with people can leave you feeling good and positive about life.

Friends and family - The best part about the rise of technology is remaining connected to friends and family. Our lives take us to many places, and if we lost connection to amazing people in the past, we can reconnect easily.

Workplace - You will never miss that workplace email that requires immediate attention from wherever you are at. Companies are having a boom in productivity as employees take more of their work home to remain flexible in their lives.

Emergencies - Once upon a time, if something happened to someone, it could be hours, even days before help comes. In our modern world, we can have 911 on speed dial and instant assistance for all kinds of problems from heart attacks to runaway children.

The Downside of Connectivity

Technology is not always good. This is true when mental health becomes a problem or stress threatens the balance of a home.

Decrease in sleep quality - Sleep helps our brains to recover from a day or work and learning. Without quality sleep, your brain will not mend pathways, and suffer debilitating problems as the chemical brain balance becomes unbalanced.

Overwork - Having an employer reach you at all hours of the day can be extremely stressful. It means many people are always "on the clock." This is especially true for contract workers and salaried employees that do not receive overtime pay.

More mental health problems - Remaining connected can be an amazing way to stay connected to your friends and family. It can also cause stress and pressure, especially when text messages are "ignored" or the block feature is used. Instant connectivity is not always instant, and perceived slights or inattentiveness can strain relationships.

Why Taking Digital Breaks Can Be Good

Balanced living patterns - Taking a digital break can be extremely hard in the beginning. Putting the phone, tablet, or computer down for a day can help the day run more smoothly and put less stress to connect constantly.

Better sleep patterns - Researchers have plenty of proof of decreased sleep quality due to screen time. Reducing or eliminating screen time at least an hour before retiring for the night can help prevent troubles with falling asleep or staying asleep.

Less depression - Your brain-body balance can be easily upset from too much stimulation and too little sleep. Depression and anxiety are common amongst teenagers who regularly use technology and adults who cannot disconnect.

How Can You Take Daily Digital Breaks?

Technology is an amazing way to connect with friends, family, and even physicians, but too much of a good thing is detrimental to long-term health. Taking regular breaks for you and your family can leave you feeling better and tackling work without complaint.

Schedule specific times for work/homework - Coming home from work or school will mean more work at home. You should schedule specific times in your day for completing or continuing the required work. You can be flexible with hours for deadlines but have a scheduled time for regular day-to-day work.

Having evening cut-off times for screens - Have a digital cut-off time for all screens at least an hour before bedtime. This includes televisions and tablets that are backlit. Your body will start unwinding from the stimulation and be ready for bed if you limit evening screen time.

Take day or weekend breaks - You can go without a screen for a day or even a weekend. It is easier if you schedule a camping trip or getaway that leaves technology behind. Still, digital disconnecting for the weekend can give you an amazing week that is more positive and better able to withstand conflicts.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lakewood, Calif. 

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