On 1st May, we celebrated the first global Digital Wellness Day, so I would like to use this opportunity to share some of my simple digital wellbeing tips with our kind OTR supporters. As we are getting used to working from home, it is also essential to think about the role of digital technologies in our wellbeing. Here are my quick tips.
Have a bucket!
It can feel really overwhelming, especially for social media and community managers, to receive emails, social media notifications, phone calls and other incoming messages – all throughout the day, all week long. Sometimes the very sense of not knowing just how much we have to go through can cause us stress, so it is beneficial to design a virtual bucket for all our incoming messages and tasks. For me, the best place to do so is on email. It took me a while to get all my social media channels connected and to ask all my colleagues to email me instead of calling. However, this way, I can see every incoming message in one place. At first, it did feel like a lot to get through, but with the help of Gmail Priority Inbox, stars and labels, I can mark all incoming messages very quickly, delete the noise, pick up the actionable ones and get on with getting my tasks done. I am relaxed that I can see everything in one place and manage things as new tasks come in too. How to start? Make a list of all your digital tools and types of incoming messages and think carefully about the best way to send them all to one place. It might take a while to get used to, but it is worth it.
Allow time to organise your work and fun
As a follow up to my first tip, I also plan time for organising. I see a lot of friends who forget about organising time, but it is crucial to spend a few minutes now and again on organising. I might spend ten minutes longer going through my emails, but as a result of this, I am working all day long in a relaxed manner, and I am much more effective. So it really is worth dedicating some time to organise and thus relax. A relaxed brain works better, often even faster too. Finding time for organising can be difficult at first, but trust me – once you get into it, there is no way back. Especially in the currently unpredictable times, organising helps us feel a little bit more in control too. But don’t forget to plan time to have fun also! We talk about Netflix a lot at OTR, but there are so many other ways you can enjoy digital connection: to study, to read or listen to books, to chat to friends or to play games. It might be helpful to plan time for fun – just to make sure that we do not spend too much time online on work.
Nurturing and depleting digital activities
Because all our work has now moved online, it can be really tempting to dedicate most of our digital time to it. In fact, during last week’s Institute of Leadership and Management seminar about mental health at work, I found out that according to the new Mental Health Foundation report many people spend quite a lot of additional time on work at the moment – sometimes even 25% more. That is a lot. It’s really great if you love your work and want to do more, productive work makes us happy. However, it is essential to be careful and avoid burnout. To do so, try to find the right balance between work time and other activities online. I like to separate time into nurturing and depleting activities. Studying, learning new hobbies, connecting with friends or playing games is nurturing for me. Catching up with colleagues from OTR over a coffee during our morning Zoom meetups is relaxing and makes me feel more connected. However, more intense analytical work might drain my energy a little bit. All of those activities are positive, but they differ in the amount of energy I have to dedicate to them. So I do my best to plan for both nurturing and depleting digital activities for my own wellbeing.
Take time off screens
The idea of the negative impact of screens on our health is slightly outdated. We know by now that the impact of digital technologies on our health is more complicated than that. However, the main idea of taking regular breaks and resting is always relevant. So think about shifting between various types of digital activities and tasks. Rest as often as you need to. Get up and stretch. Go for a walk. Drink water. Eat well. Sleep well. Those are the basics of wellbeing that will always apply to all areas of our lives, including digital wellbeing. Especially now that many of us are affected by physical isolation of the lockdown it is essential to acknowledge that we might need to work a bit slower if possible, take more time to rest (or if not more, than maybe more often) and really take good care of our own wellbeing.
Make time for connection
This week, we are celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week, which is themed this year around kindness. So I would like to remind you all about the importance of connection for our wellbeing. Digital technologies have proved essential for staying in touch with our families, friends and colleagues so make the most of them. Reach out to your networks and make time to establish meaningful connections. I see our supporters reaching out to their close ones to fundraise for us through quizzes and other virtual events – which is lovely. So I am delighted to see those connections thriving online.
I would also like to add that digital tools can help in reconnecting with ourselves too. You can use mindfulness apps, journaling software or simply watch interesting videos on YouTube to reflect on how this time feels to you. Check-in with yourself. Be kind to your own needs in those challenging times.
I would like to end with a quick note on intent. I would encourage you to think about digital technologies in a balanced way. Sometimes we tend to approach digital tasks and devices with a bit of negative attitude, which can make our work much harder. If you think about the benefits of those technologies and opportunities for fun, collective wellbeing and connection, you might find the right balance for yourself.
We will be posting a lot about kindness this week, so stay tuned for our updates on our social media channels.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay connected.