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Explore strategies for digital wellness with the help of LinkedIn Learning

How many online devices do you have in front of you right now? Chances are, it’s more than one. But, if you’re anything like me, it might be upwards of more than five devices connected to the internet and fighting for your attention.

This is the reality of our highly digital world. I constantly find myself surrounded by many devices and the urge to use them all at once. As we continue on this path, I’ve become increasingly interested in the topic of “digital wellness”—the practice of fostering a thoughtful and healthy relationship with the technologies you use on a daily basis.

It’s been a goal of mine this year to reflect on and reconsider my digital practices to strike a more meaningful balance with being online. That’s why I decided to take the “Building Better Digital Habits for Focus and Well-being” video course from LinkedIn Learning, and here’s what I learned:

Your Brain and Technology
Did you know that it can take anywhere from 70 seconds to 23 minutes to regain focus after switching tasks online? In the introduction to this course, digital and social well-being expert Chris Flack dives right into the foundations of creating habits that drive a healthy digital lifestyle. One of the main things he notes is taking a proactive stance with technology–it’s important to be in control of your tech rather than your tech being in control of you.

Building a Proactive Relationship with Technology
So how do we do that, exactly? Start by taking an inventory of your digital habits. What are your notification settings like? How many tabs do you have open at once? What apps do you find yourself spending hours on? Understanding this information will be the key to creating change.

Flack suggests slowly working toward having low-tech rooms or unplug zones free from technology. He also discusses practices such as keeping only the most important apps on your home screen, limiting the amount of tabs open to five at a time, and completing a task before shifting focus to another. Additional strategies include:

● Limiting screen time when you first wake up
● Taking at least 15 minutes away from screens during the day
● Using the Pomodoro technique (focused work for 25 minutes with a five-minute break)
● Using the 20, 20, 20 rule (every 20 minutes look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds)
● Utilizing tools such as do not disturb or sleep mode
● Limiting non-critical notifications
● Setting work-life boundaries

All of these tips can help boost focus, reduce distractions, and decrease dependence on devices, leading to a healthier digital balance.

Increasing Wellness to Build a Healthier Relationship with Technology
Beyond these strategies, Flack explores the importance of sleep, exercise, and mindfulness in the digital wellness journey.

Keeping your phone by your bed at night, a habit practiced by over 80% of people, can negatively affect sleep quality and habits—even if you believe you’re getting enough sleep. Exercise can also play a role in your routine as it is a positive alternative for boosting endorphins, which can reduce the desire to get the same “buzz” from checking your phone. Additionally, engaging in slow and formal mindful practices such as meditation has also been shown to strengthen our ability to filter compulsive digital behaviors.

Ultimately, a clear path to digital wellness is a daunting thought for anyone, but it’s more important now than ever to have a healthy balance with the online world. The main takeaway I gathered from this course is to create a plan that works for you. Take small steps to slowly work toward engaging in digital habits that will leave you feeling in control of your tech rather than controlled by it.

I will personally be incorporating as many of these strategies as possible into my routine to create a healthier and more positive digital lifestyle going forward.

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