We are all so busy updating and scheduling our lives away that many of us do not take the time to think about how technology makes us feel. I’m not talking about the efficiency of the tool and how happy we feel when we can cross off a ton of things from our to-do list. I am talking about how technology is affecting our overall health.
I am talking about being hunched over typing away with squinting eyes, trying to make sense of the 97 tabs you have open on your browser, while massaging your achy joints.
Have you ever stopped to think about how always being connected is affecting our health?
Although we have somehow convinced ourselves that being connected all the time is a great way for us to get things done, the reality is that all this ‘getting things done’ may be affecting our health more than we would like to admit.
Constantly being online and connected causes us to work way past office hours, thinking being more productive is a great thing. But what we are actually doing is robbing our bodies of what they really need, which is an opportunity to disconnect, recharge, and live a little offline.
Have you stopped to think, why do we constantly feel the need to always be connected?
It is not like we can’t go back and read up on something or simply ask friends on our networks via a phone call or text, ‘Hey, what’s up?’
As much as I love technology and encourage the use of technology in my home — and set limits on my Kindergartener — I never thought to set those same limits for myself. I am guilty as many of you are of working while the kids sleep, or answering emails during dinner time. I would have never thought my constant state of connectedness was affecting more than my family life.
I suffer from debilitating migraines and wear glasses. Over the years, both have been getting progressively worse, and I never thought of putting two and two together until I went to visit my doctor. The aches and pains that I once self-diagnosed as aging and being a mom of two boys were obviously wrong. It was more due to my late nights in front of a computer monitor finishing work or checking emails, while I should’ve been sleeping. For me, this was a wake-up call to just stop and take care of me. Gone are the late nights, I now go to bed when my kids go to bed. I also welcome disconnecting and spending my time with my family without feeling the need to always be checking on something.
Technology affects several aspects of our health and we should pay close attention to the signs, here are just a few factors in which our health can be affected by technology:
Lack of focus. Have you noticed that your ability to focus on one task may be diminishing? How our need to multitask (which isn’t the best way to try to be productive) gets us working on eight different things, yet we are not fully completely ever involved in one task. Spending an insane amount of time online seems to be changing the mechanics of our brain function. We are getting used to clicking and having things in front of us instantly, which may result in our lack of focus, even lowering our attention span, to a degree.
Complete tech dependence. It seems like some of us may have a problem with putting the smartphones down. We are becoming so attached to our devices that the thought of not being able to use them or update our statuses makes us physically sick. If this is you, you may want to think about taking a tech sabbatical to wean off of the tech dependency.
Pain and blurriness. Have you heard of Computer Vision Syndrome? It has been compared to carpel tunnel syndrome in the sense that the longer you do the activity, the worse it will get over time. So that neck and shoulder pain you have been complaining about or the blurriness or dry eyes you are having problems with may actually be connected to the amount of time you spend being connected.
Becoming dormant. The lack of mobility due to sitting in front of a computer screen affects our health. The lack of exercise will eventually take its toll on us (think Wall E). So get up and take breaks, walk around, get your blood pumping. Get outside in the fresh air!