Ever feel like you just can’t leave home without your cell phone? Ever get up in the middle of the night to check your email?
If your like most of your fellow WAH (Work-at-Home) friends and colleagues, the answer is a resounding “yes” to both of the these questions.
While technology has allowed many of us to work at home in our bunny slippers, it has also made us feel constantly wired and 24/7 available. This can lead to both mental and physical fatigue as well as future health problems.
Then what are some of the six signs that you need a “digital detox”?
1) You are experiencing stiffness in your neck, back, and legs. You need to get up and move away from your PC or laptop. You need to stretch. You also need to move around more to get the circulation going. Over the years, prolonged sitting can lead to obesity, osteoarthritis, and DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis, which is caused by blood clots forming in the deep veins of the legs.
2) You are hungry and need to eat a “real” meal. While desk snacks can be nutritious, this is not always the case. Many times food that can be eaten quickly and with the fingers can also be high in sugar, salt, and calories. How many times have you reached for a quick sugar fix like a candy bar to get through the day? So, a “real” meal should be one where a knife and fork are used.
3) You are experiencing eye strain and becoming mentally tired. Every 30 minutes, you should try and close your eyes for about 20 seconds. “Up close work” can lead to declining eye sight over the years, which leads to stronger glasses and contact lens prescriptions. Also, as you age the “eye flutters” or those little dark squiggly lines you see, will increase.
4) You are becoming impatient with those around you. While you can book a hotel room in 20 seconds on your iPhone using just the right app, you wonder why your toddler takes so long to take a nap. According to Dr. Larry Rosen, author of iDisorder, the speed of technology has made us more impatient offline.
5) You just can’t seem to focus. You have too many things going on to focus on your deadline. You are having conversations in both AIM and Skype on your laptop as well as your cell phone next to you in case your spouse calls. You need to try to focus on that one thing: the deadline. Use a kitchen timer, if you have to and work uninterrupted for at least 1 or 2 hours. Many times the conversations in both AIM and Skype will wane when they see you are not there to participate. You can always excuse yourself and get back to those when the timer dings.
6) You cannot enjoy an idle moment without your iPad, iPhone, Smartphone, Kindle or whichever tech gadget has become your “hobby”. Try to enjoy idle time with nature or connecting in person with friends or family. Also, try an old-fashioned book once in a while to get that new book smell or that musty, old library smell.
So, no matter what the season. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air and some idle time. Upgrade your energy and downgrade your stress levels. Your mind, eyes, and body will thank you for it.