When The Computer Monster Creeps In
Here are 5 thing’s to remember when the computer monster creeps in.
During this time of flux, many are hunkering down and avoiding the outside world to engage in what used to be daily responsibilities. Work and play have become engulfed by online zoom sessions, virtual video chats with friends, or scrolling our apps on our phone to pass the time.
Don’t worry, engaging in these activities won’t make you a monster. However, forgetting to take breaks from electronics periodically throughout the day may drastically impact your mood. New studies have come out sharing the negative impacts on mood, adaptability, and overall health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead of going through the clinical jargon, and sharing all the negative impacts our electronic overindulging has caused, I wanted this post to focus on actionable steps we can take throughout the day. These steps are suggestions for people to “try on” and see what works. As you begin to engage in intentional breaks, you may find that these small moments help you slow down and reconnect with yourself. Increasing these micro-moments can help shift our overall mood, productivity, and connection to others.
Why does this matter? It is far too easy to get sucked into the world of virtual scrolling, and forget that time continues to tick away while we partake. I say we, because I am human and also occasionally subscribe to this habit. However, the reason why I find this topic especially relevant right now, is because I see an uptick in problems around lack of sense of self, purpose, and being stuck in the internet land of comparison.
Here are 5 tips to try on during your day. See if incorporating the below “you time” micro-moments brings you a bit more joy, awareness, and grounds throughout your day.
Incorporate a scheduled 20 minute you time ritual once a day. This could look like making a slow batch of freshly brewed coffee or tea, and sitting to enjoy it. Create a space to sit that is surrounded by things that bring you joy. This could include a beautiful chair you love to sit in, a yoga mat to perch on, or even your front stoop surrounded by fresh air. This is your time, so really embrace the details of what surrounds you in your moment of serenity. I have clients who have a range of activities they like to try on during their 20 minutes a day. This can look like incorporating different forms of meditation, movement, or even breath work. Check out more ideas here——> 30 Morning Rituals to Bring You Joy.
Keep a timer set near your computer. Luckily, many phones also have a setting option to set timers or limits on specific apps. Try out setting different ranges of time on your device to take breaks and step away from your screen. This can be every 20 minutes, or every hour if that works best for you. Stand up and walk around your office, room, or head outside for a breath of fresh air. By doing this, you are sending a signal to your brain to slow down and reset. This break is intended to last 5-10 minutes, and has been noted to actually increase productivity! Check out these Apps to help you set timers and monitor screen time usage here ——> Social Media Tracking Apps.
When you begin to feel the computer zombie take over, I want you to pause. Close your eyes and begin to do a body scan. Really tune into what it is that is making your body and mind have an inpatient, grumpy, groggy, overstimulated, or just blah reaction. Close your eyes, and begin visualizing a scan of light moving slowly from the top of your head down to your feet. Now, slowly notice where in your body you’re feeling it most? Your throat? Your neck? Your back? In between your eyebrows? Ask yourself, “What do I need right now to feel differently?”. I frequently run into this common theme of people expressing a NEED to complete an assignment, project, or errand at a particular moment. Question that urge. Re-connecting and identifying your wants and needs in the moment can actually help you let go of all the pressure and discomfort you’re feeling. Do you need 20 minutes to do something creative? Move around and play basketball or dance? Embracing your needs to “wash off” those blah feelings, instead of ignoring them, will ultimately help you waste less time trudging through something that isn’t sitting well with you in that moment.
Set aside time to create one beautiful meal a day. This can include making something that you have been craving, or trying out a new recipe. It is important to recognize the very clear connection between nourishing your body with whole foods, and the clarity that nourishment gives your mind. This could even look like cutting up an apple and pairing it with your favorite nut butter. Designating time to make a meal for yourself is not only an active form of meditation, but it is a wonderful way of showing gratitude for yourself. I love to encourage people to plate their meals they have created for themselves as a reminder to slow down and be present with the food in front of them. Check out this amazing chef and author for inspiration here ——> Green Kitchen Stories Recipe Blog.
Set your day up for success by curating a morning routine. The first 30 minutes of your day is an essential time to carve out healthy habits that can play a major role in your mood for the rest of the day. If you start your day by checking your phone for messages, turning on the TV to watch the news or a show, or beginning to scroll on social media pages then you are inherently shocking your brain into a cortisol rush. This can cause an increase in your anxiety and trigger other uncomfortable feelings of needing to rush to start your day, really before it even begins. Allow your mind to slowly wake up by first rehydrating with a large glass of water. Then incorporate some light stretching to send signals to your body that you are ready to start your morning routine. I love to have people include a morning session of jotting down their intentions before they begin their days. This can include writing down thoughts and goals for how they would like the map of their day to look, as well as noting a couple things they are grateful for. There are so many wonderful articles and resources about creating a morning routine that works for you! Check out this great morning routine for anyone who is in middle school, high school, or college during the Covid-19 pandemic here——> A Guide to Healthy Quarantine Routine for Students and check out ——> Quarantine Goals for helpful tools on crafting and setting attainable goals during Quarantine.