setting technology boundaries
It’s been a minute since I posted and there’s a reason why. I have been actively decreasing the amount of technology for a few reasons. Over the summer I noticed that I relied so much on technology I was getting consumed in it. It was a very unhealthy relationship and I’m beyond glad I was able to stop in my tracks and make some major changes. Since deciding to make a few changes, I can honestly say I feel so much better and my mood and stress level are way lower. I truly believe that mood & stress level are directly correlated to technology use which presents an issue because there is no denying that there is no escaping technology these days - it is everywhere!
Let’s start out with how much technology I was actually using. My day would start with half an hour or more of checking emails, Instagram, and various other apps the moment my alarm went off. I would then do some stretching and meditation and would often be tempted to scroll while doing my stretches. I would continue on my day writing blog posts on my computer, constantly checking my phone for emails and other social media notifications, and occasionally watching a show or video on my phone or iPad. Each night I would spend more time on social media until I was tired enough to fall asleep.
Maybe you think this is a lot, but I challenge you to be honest and mindful for one day - even one hour - at how often you check your phone. Whether it’s your email, social media, or even just to check the time. Become even more aware of what you do every time you are bored or uncomfortable. For me these were the moments I found I was relying heavily on technology.
I decided to research more on the use of technology and the effects it has on us mentally and emotionally. There’s no doubt that technology provides us instant gratification. Between text messages, emails, and notifications the dopamine in our brain is triggered and we crave more and more. The second major thing that I found while researching is the amount of blue light we are exposed to and the effects it has on our bodies. Our eyes are not designed to be exposed to the amount of blue light that is emitted by computer screens, phones, and TVs. Blue light causes eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Blue light also disrupts our circadian rhythm which releases melatonin in the body which causes difficulty falling asleep and low sleep quality.
After noticing my patterns, I made some changes to my routines. Here are some of the ways I decreased technology use and made sustainable changes for my body.
Batching my work. This means that I dedicated certain days to creating and planning content. I usually take Saturday and Sunday to shoot pictures, plan out my Instagram posts for the week, and write blog posts. Doing this work in one sitting allows me to put my energy into the work without letting it consume me multiple times a week.
Using Plann App. I love love love this app. I plug in all the photos I took during batch work (see above) and am able to set the day & time I want to post so that I know what and when I am posting each day. I am also able to write my captions and easily paste them to my posts. I do all the editing and writing of the posts during batch work and post them in minutes each day without having to spend time on edits and captions!
Turning off email & social media notifications. Now that I have these notifications off, I honestly don’t know how I ever lived with them on! It is incredibly freeing to not be chained to my phone and distracted each time a notification pops up. I spend a few minutes at lunch checking personal emails and Instagram notifications. Not only is this better for me mentally, it actually allows me to enjoy the time I spend checking them to see what’s new.
Wearing Pixel Eyewear glasses that protect against blue light. Game changer. I’m so obsessed with my glasses I again don’t know what I did without them. Pixel Eyewear makes glasses (Rx and non Rx) that are designed to block blue light and reduce eye strain. I’ve noticed a huge difference and my eyes feel SO much better. They are less tired and I don’t feel any strain when I’m finished using a device. I highly recommend investing in them! Use code KATIEFANNINGYOGA for $5 off.
Eliminating phone use in the morning. I have been following a lot of people on Instagram who inspired this one. They all talked about Instagram and social apps limiting their creativity in the morning and I honestly wanted to see if they were right. Like I said earlier, as soon as my alarm went off, I was scrolling on my phone. I decided to only use my phone as an alarm in the morning and see if it made a difference. It didn’t just make a difference, it made a HUGE difference. Spending the first moments of my day with just myself has been life changing. I feel more aware, calm, and in tune with my creativity. I am able to have clear thoughts without outside influence. It is now something that I will continue because it is truly refreshing!
I am honestly so proud of myself for making these changes. I have seen and heard comments all over the internet about how sad it is that we are all on our phones, can no longer connect with other people blah blah blah. I don’t feel this way at all. I’m thankful for technology connecting people and making ideas accessible to so many. I love finding new inspiration and learning about people who are both similar and different than me.
However, I do recognize that using technology needs to be a mindful practice and I am committed to prioritizing my health by limiting it to a healthy use! It is a journey and I refuse to judge myself - only work on becoming the best version of myself I can be.