We’re often told about the pitfalls of technology; it stops us sleeping, it stops us connecting, it makes us stressed. And sure, there is a lot to be said for switching off and reconnecting with the ‘real world’… but what about the ways technology can help on our health journey?
Working at an online company, I work with computers on a daily basis. Away from work I have a smartphone, a tablet and a laptop, so it’s safe to say I have more than my share of screens surrounding me! Here’s how I work with technology, not against it, when it comes to my personal well-being.
I listen to inspirational podcasts
Every morning when I’m getting ready, I listen to something that motivates and inspires me. At the moment I am favouring ‘Zestology: Live life with energy, vitality and motivation’. Presenter Tony Wrighton interviews experts in a range of health sectors, from life coaches and yoga teachers to cardiologists and authors for their advice on living life with more vitality. Each podcast has actionable tips you can implement immediately and I always come away feeling like I’ve learnt something.
Another podcast I would highly recommend is ‘Well / Aware’. The theme of the show is living mindfully and presenter Lindsay Mueller interviews a range of guests to talk around the subject. Again, I always leave my flat feeling inspired for the day ahead.
I use meditation apps
I struggle with meditation and go through phases of building a practice and then losing it! The only way I enjoy it is if I’m guided. One of the easiest ways I find to do this is through a meditation app. There are hundreds available, but I use Headspace and Calm.
I set up my devices to use night mode
We’ve all heard that blue light emissions from bright screens can hinder our sleep, and tech companies are catching on. Many providers now offer ‘night mode’, where the lighting switches from blue to red in the evening. This reduces the impact of blue light and supposedly helps us to sleep easier. I have enabled this on my devices (for iPhones and iPads, you’ll find the night shift switch in ‘brightness and display’ settings). For computers you can use f.lux software to do the same thing.
I track my sleep and wake up more naturally
Instead of my phone’s standard alarm clock, I use an app called ‘Sleep Cycle’. This tracks your sleep and wakes you up with a gentle tune when you’re in a lighter stage of sleep. I found my previous alarm made me feel stressed as it often woke me from a deep sleep, but with Sleep Cycle I genuinely feel more rested. It’s also fascinating to see how well you’ve slept the night before!
I maintain a balance
I recognised that looking at screens all day long will do nothing for my well-being, no matter how many health apps I download, so I strive to create a healthy balance. About an hour before I go to bed, I stop looking at my devices (even on night mode!) and I always carve out some screen-free time during the day when I exercise, do yoga, or just read a book.
Rather than shunning technology and declaring it the enemy, I think we should embrace its positives and look to ways we can use it on our health journey.
I would love to hear your thoughts on technology and health – how do you use it? Let me know on our Facebook page.