I was at my hormonal wisdom workshop this week and one of the things I spoke about was screens and stress.
Screens are part of the landscape now, whether we like it or not. And mostly, we like it.
My husband and son went to stay with his father for a couple of nights this week. I received a late night message:
‘Dad’s stopped paying the bill, so there’s no wifi.’
He wasn’t happy but it wasn’t the end of the world; he still had his phone and a 4G connection.
My daughter’s phone battery life is limited so until she can afford a new phone she goes everywhere with an additional battery pack.
I take my phone to the park so I can take photos of my dog walk.
Does this sound familiar?
All of this is normal and life is so much better for being connected.
Screens bring us productivity, creativity, and convenience. Those things are good, right?
They also bring us distraction, disconnection, and stress.
Are screens affecting your health?
Notifications can cause stress that makes your body feel you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode. That floods your system with cortisol which helps you think and move more quickly.
That’s ok in the short-term but when it’s happening all day every day, it’s really not great and tends to show up in our hormones, immunity and even our digestion and skin.
Are screens affecting your sleep?
When people come for their first homeopathy consultation with me we talk about all aspects of their health and lifestyle, which always includes sleep. I’m no longer shocked by the number of people who have problems with their sleep, either going to sleep or staying asleep.
Homeopathy and herbs are effective natural treatments for insomnia and I have lots of people telling me they’re sleeping better and have more energy to be productive.
If you have trouble staying asleep, my number one practical suggestion is to get an alarm clock and to charge your phone in a different room. I have other suggestions about sleep routines, but this is the main one.
The first and last thing we touch every day should not be our phone.
Small changes make a big difference
I’m aware of how often I pick up my phone during the day, but I also realise that I have some pretty good phone and screen habits.
I work a lot online and I wouldn’t be without my iPhone or my laptop. I enjoy Facebook and Instagram but I aim to spend as much time as possible unplugged each day.
How I keep my tech under control
- My notifications are turned off
The only notifications on my phone are calendar notifications for consultations as I need them to keep me on track. All my other notifications, buttons or banners are off. That means I don’t have messages from Facebook or Instagram. I’m not on WhatsApp as I feel that people have enough ways to get hold of me through text, email, and messenger.
- My sounds are turned off
My phone is always on silent unless I am expecting a call. It doesn’t vibrate either. I sometimes miss calls, but I’m always happy to call back.
- No notifications on my computer
Nothing floats across my screen and I have all the sounds turned off too.
- I have F.lux installed on my computer
F.lux is a free app that you can download from the internet. It filters blue light which is over-stimulating and confuses our natural bio-rhythms.
- My charger is in the kitchen
I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. My new habit is to turn it onto flight mode from 9pm. I forget sometimes but I want my evenings to be more free for music, reading, sewing or conversation, so that’s what I’m aiming for.
Life is never going to be screen free but I’m doing as much as I can to keep them in check.
Food for thought?
Let me know what you think.
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