With us all spending so much more time online, as a result of home-working and remote virtual meetings, Dr Bridgette Bewick offers five tips to avoid slipping into unhealthy habits.
“The digital world is persuasive,” said Dr Bewick, Associate Professor in Psychological Health and Wellbeing in the School of Medicine, “but most of us haven’t been trained to manage the digital environment.”
“Digital wellbeing is about finding ways to integrate digital components into our lives in a way that supports mental health and well-being and doesn’t detract from it.”
Monitor your use
It’s easy to get hooked because devices are built using persuasive technology.
“We tend to think what we’re doing is normal because our reference group, friends and family, are similar to us,” Bridgette said. “Step back, ask yourself: ‘why and I using the digital environment? Is it helping or hindering me?”
Behavioural research shows that monitoring is an important first step in change, so considering when and why we are online is a good place to start.
Make it genuine
As social beings, humans need meaningful connections and relationships. this becomes trickier online.
“Non-verbal cues are an important part of relationships. They’re missing in video calls and SMS, so a day of online meetings doesn’t necessarily create meaningful connections.”
During social distancing, as technology fills the void of face-to-face interaction, it’s important to make it meaningful. If group quizzes aren’t your thing, avoid them. We need authentic conversations with people we share common ground with.
Multitasking is exhausting for our brains, but it’s hard to avoid with multiple devices begging for our attention. Mindfulness and attention exercises help keep us in the present.
“Think of your brain like a muscle. The more you train it, the easier it’ll be to focus without interruption.”
Attention training alters the structure of the brain. With practice, you’ll find it easier to stay engaged, without the urge to check that news feed.
What’s the last thing you do at night? Many of us check our phones.
“Sleep is crucial for physical and mental health. Physiologically, the light on devices interrupts our ability to go into deep sleep. Scanning for updates keeps our minds switched on.”
We need to create boundaries so we’re not 24/7 on call and we can recharge. Try setting a cut-off time. Put your phone on aeroplane mode or in a different room.
Technology is changing the way we use our bodies.
“We’re putting our bodies into positions they aren’t designed to be in for long periods. Your neck might ache if you’re constantly looking down at your phone, for example.”
Taking breaks from the screen and taking in natural light and fresh air is important for mental and physical health – especially when home working might wan we’re moving less. in this instance, digital technology can actually help motivate us, with wellbeing apps and fitness trackers.
To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip.
You’ll also find innovative and interactive virtual trips, which walk you through each step of being at the airport, on the train and in the hotel. You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.
Travel is changing. But with common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers should have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be business as (un)usual.