Feeling Stressed? It Could Be Your Relationship….

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Feeling stressed? It could be your relationship.

No, not to your honey.

To your technology.

Do you keep your mobile phone with you all the time? Do you feel the constant need to respond to emails, calls, and texts immediately? Are you at the beck and call of every “PING!” you hear?

We are known as the connected generation and there are obvious issues that have stemmed from our constantly plugged in state. The Pew Research Center states that Millennials (those who came of age in the new millennium — currently age 20-36) are the “always on generation“. They’re absolutely right. We text and Snapchat and Kik our friends. We Instagram what we eat and post where we are on Facebook — and that’s all before lunch. We can’t seem to get by without some sort of tech.

We aren’t experiencing life. We’re losing moments with every tap. It’s cheating, really. We may be physically present with our friends and loved ones but we’re texting some one else… or checking a sports score… or tweeting… or playing candy crush saga. Do you remember the last time you went to dinner without taking a picture? Yea, I don’t really either.

We are living life through a device and its just not healthy. If you are feeling burnt out or stressed, it could be your overconnectvity to tech. Here are some signs it might be time for a digital relationship detox:

Signs You Might Have an Unhealthy Relationship to Tech:

  • You Text and Talk at the Same Time. You ask the person in front of you to wait so you can finish a text, watch a video, or read a post . . . and rarely notice when they walk off.
  • You Text and Walk (or drive!) at the Same Time. Not only does it take you twice as long to get to your destination its JUST.NOT.SAFE. If you cant resist commuting while texting it might be time to turn your phone off. (I like you – please no accidents!)
  • You feel naked without your phone. Have you ever left your phone at home and panicked? Not such a good sign. If you you break out in a sweat without your tech, its a sign you’re an addict. 
  • You repeatedly end up online longer than you originally intended. Late nights accidently surfing instagram? And you tell me you are tired…
  • You spend more time with your friends online than you do in the REAL world.
  • You deny it (sometimes defensively) when another person makes a negative comment about how much time you spend online. 
  • You check your mobile phone in the bathroom. (way too common – EW! Please dont text me while you poo. ) 
  • You impatiently wait to get done with real interactions so that you can get online or check your phone.
  • You find yourself distracted by thoughts of how many facebook notifications, emails, or texts you might have to reply to.
  • You have a hard time maintaining focus on a project, conversation, or event.
  • You dont know how to NOT instagram an experience. You spend a noticeable amount of time on friend outings, events, or vacations posting online or absorbed in your phone.
  • You feel a physical and emotional urge to check in with your online community throughout the day. 
  • You never take a break from responding, tweeting, emailing, texting…. You live in “Fight or Flight” mode and your nervous system is frazzled. You are anxious, stressed, and tired. 

If you answered YES to any of the above statements, it may be time to work on a healthier relationship to your tech. Awareness is the first step in making a change to healthier, more fulfilling, real world living. You don’t have to live your life through a device. Here are my tips for working with your technology to enhance your life vs. allowing your tech to take you away from living it.

Caroline’s Tips for a Healthy Relationship With Tech:

  • Create NO phone time zones. Set aside times in your day to put the phone away and focus on what you are doing. I hold “office hours” for myself in the morning where I literally put my phone in the CLOSET (truth!). This way Im not tempted to innocently check it during work and can enjoy my morning distraction free and present. Im a huge advocate for creating no-phone time-zones for yourself. This means that for at least 2 hours of your day (when you’re most productive work happens) you close off your phone and stay completely dedicated to the work in front of you.

  • Create a digital bedtime. Power off your phone an hour before bed time to ensure that your last hour is spent in a meaningful way and that you get to bed on time to start the next day afresh. I like to set a bed time for my phone and power it off at a set time at night. Your phone is just not worth losing sleep over. Leave your phone in another room so that you can get the real rest you need without the distraction.
  • Remember: YOU teach people how to text you! If you respond to texts, emails, or phone calls at all hours of the day, people will think you are available at all hours of the day. If you dont want people texting you during work, DONT RESPOND TO TEXTS DURING WORK. If you dont set boundaries for yourself no one else will.
  • Note: Successful people dont waste hours surfing online and successful people aren’t slaves to their email. The biggest obstacle to productivity is connectivityYou want to be successful? Manage your time well. 
  • GET REAL. When you are with friends and people you care about commit to be present. Always put the real person before the digital one.
  • When on a trip, pack your phone in your suitcase or somewhere out of reach for two hours at a time. Gradually increase that amount. Enjoy the scenery and the people in it. EXPERIENCE IT. 
  • Set a timer for how long you want to spend “surfing” the web or using your tech. Set it and stick to the allotted amount of time. That way you can still get your “fix” without over-doing it.
  • Take a digital detox weekend or retreat. Book yourself a holiday a leave ALL technology at home. If this sounds like a huge challenge, chances are you NEED it. Give yourself a break from all tech and come back with a new perspective and feeling refreshed.

Is your relationship to technology healthy? What advice do you have for living a positive, present life? Leave your words as a comment below, Id love to know how you and your tech share a healthy life together.

I challenge you to try this: Put down the phone. Put down the iPad. Be present and be in the moment for just one day. Enjoy the conversation of those that are physically with you — those who have chosen to take time out of their lives and spend it with you. Watch an entire movie without checking your phone. Have a full conversation without glancing at a screen. Disconnect for just a moment. I’m up for the challenge…are you?

Caroline

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