Don’t Let Online Distractions Ruin Your Health and Well-Being
Engaging myself with online activities can always be rewarding. Now I have more means to share my knowledge and experiences to the world. I have better insights on how to live a healthy lifestyle. I am more aware about my inner self and my body. I am always inspired to take things to the next level. However, I’ve also spent a lot of time and energy in balancing my days, choosing only my most needed online activities and analyzing how these extra activities affect my life. We’ve been blessed with freedom and great opportunities to know more about the world, to connect with our loved ones and to make our lives easier. But unlimited access to the internet world always expose us to distractions that can mentally, physically and emotionally affect our health. We need to be aware how the digital world is affecting our lives so we can turn our current negative beliefs and habits into healthier ones. It’s always up to us to put everything into good use.
If you can devote 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for work and 4 hours for self-care, errands and travel, then you only have 4 hours remaining for wellness and leisure. How many hours a day do you spend for online activities like checking social media and emails, watching shows, playing games and surfing the net for updates and information? It’s always good to know more about everything and to share a lot of things to everyone, but too much of everything can become unhealthy. Some people who already spent too much time and attention to the outside world have failed to reconnect with their inner selves and have indirectly hurt their loved ones.
Here are some strategies that you can practice to make online activities (social media, watching shows, surfing the net) positive life instruments, and not daily distractions that can ruin your well-being.
Online movie watching
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Michigan found out that watching for more than three and a half hours a day are at risk of major health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia. There’s no harm in watching your favorite movies at home as long as you practice self-discipline and you use your watching hours to relax and unwind.
- If you are fond of watching online movies and shows from streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu or HBO Now, then now you can try to limit this activity for less than two hours a day.
- Long hours of sitting while watching your favourite Netflix can affect your fitness level, sleep and even eating habits. Replace extra hours of TV watching with physical activities.
- Make it a habit not to eat something while watching to avoid extra calories from mindless eating.
- Combine your home exercise time with television watching.
- Try watching online documentary films that give you new insights and can strengthen your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. These are some movies I’ve watched: What the Health (2017), Fed Up (2014), Hungry for Change (2012), Forks Over Knives (2011) and Super Size Me (2004).
According to Amy Blanchard, one of the leading experts in combining digital tech and positive psychology, the younger generation now spends an average of six-plus hours per day on their mobile phones. A study last year by mediakix.com show that people spend an average of almost two hours a day on social media platforms such as YouTube (40 minutes), Facebook (35 minutes), Snapchat (25 minutes), Instagram (15 minutes) and Twitter (1 minute). Just imagine how much time social media can take away from us
- Devote a specific number of minutes per day (not more than 30 minutes total) and then create a schedule for your social media activities. I usually check posts during the day while waiting for clients (total of 10 minutes), while exercising during my 5-minute warm-up and 5-minute cool-down and I devote 5-10 minutes for my own Instagram and Facebook posts.
- Turn off your phone notifications and just limit checking up to two social media platforms, depending on your needs.
- Keep phone away from you before you sleep. The National Sleep Foundation and Mayo Clinic advise people to stay away from any digital material one hour before going to sleep to block neurotransmitters that can keep you awake and energized.
- Check posts that can uplift your senses and can inspire you to become a better person. Stay away from social media friends and posts that can negatively affect your thoughts and moods.
- Sometimes it’s good to take a break from social media and use your phone for personal growth. Here are some of Amy Blanchard’s recommended Apps for improving over-all sense of well-being and happiness: Headspace, Gratitude Journal, Live Intentionally, Pay it Forward and Moodies.
Surfing the web
The huge amount of information available in the internet has dramatically and significantly helped us with our immediate needs, work, education and self-improvement. Studies have linked prolonged use of non-work or non-school-related internet surfing to decreased quality of life, depression and other health disorders. That’s why it is so important to be aware about the limitations and control we should always apply while online to avoid the detrimental health effects.
- If you have a sedentary lifestyle and job, you need to prioritize exercise and delay web surfing.
- Set aside a schedule of not more than one hour per day for personal internet surfing (online shopping, playing internet games, planning vacations or other personal interests) outside family time, work and school hours – during break time, while stuck in the traffic or in your free time.
- Always check your financial records and create your budget plan to avoid excessive online shopping.
- If you’re the type who gets easily stimulated by food photos, then avoid sites that can affect your health and fitness goals.