There are many others out there doing good work when it comes to developing mindful practices around consuming digital time. They’ve researched the science of habit, the impact of tech on the brain, and other important elements. I think primarily about the impact of this recent digital time on our physical movements and how that’s working (or not) for me and my family.
I hope to expand this article over time, but below is a list of links to podcast episodes to listen to (or transcripts that can be read) that explain few ways I keep digital tech, and the sedentary behavior/repetitive movements it tends to facilitate, from encroaching on our lives.
All repetitive movements leave their residue on the body. I take care of my teeth with regular cleanings (brushing, flossing, and professional) and by limiting foods that damage my teeth. I approach tech-use body care in the same way. I use a regular practice of "cleaning" corrective exercises (here's 5 stretches that deal specifically with "tech hands") and I avoid slouchy positioning as much as I can so tech-time isn't so harsh on the bod, e.g. I pair a Head Ramp move with any screen time! Read how to "un-tech" your neck!
A simple way to remind us we’re online longer than what we set our intention to be is to have a timer that shuts off a router at a pre-determined time. It’s a simple, inexpensive, and analog “hack” to stay mindful. Just plug your router into the timer and the timer into the wall, setting the range of time you’d like to have access to the internet. This is a simple home addition that easily cuts down your consumption of something you’re not even using, and it can help you consume your online time in a more mindful way.
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One thing I found stepping away from social media is how many other things I was able to create and get done. Now that I’m working on those, I don’t have time or even much interest on posting for the sake of doing so. I DO feel like posting when I’m moved to do it and today I’ll post this: a $10.00 solution to what is rapidly becoming a ubiquitous issue. This is a timer on our Internet. We’ve set it to click off at 9PM and come back on in the morning. You can set it for whatever hours work for you. Yes, it’s a no-brainer to use less of the stuff you’re not even using (you don’t leave all the lights on all night, do you?), but also, it’s a gentle reminder, when it snaps off at 9:01, in the middle of what I was doing—“Hey! It’s you from earlier. You wanted to be doing something other than this, remember?” If you want to override it, fine, but at least it becomes a more conscious decision. That is all. Keep being great, peeps.
Social Media Breaks
I take a long, ever-evolving break from social media each year. Read and/or listen to the content below to find out why and how you can do it too.
I took a three-week tech break in 2016 and described it in Move Your DNA podcast Episode 56: Simple Steps to a Tech Break. You can read or listen to this episode.
In 2017, I took a more robust (two months long) social media break. It was all about changing my movement environment. Listen to or read Episode 80: Social Media is Shaping Your Body. You can also hear/read how I was preparing to take the break beforehand on Episode 75: A Social Media Break.
In 2018, I focused on not just taking a long break but also on pruning my social media and internet presence and footprint overall. Read or listen to Episode 101: Social Media is Still Shaping Your Body.
And for my media break in 2019, instead of focusing on what I’m going without, I’m deliberately filling my social media time-space with more in-person versions of what I’m using social media for: moving, cooking, reading, community, nature. Read or listen to the steps to my 2019 break in Episode 118: Social Media is Shaping Your Relationships.