We live busy lives in busy times that demand we spread our physical and mental energy around in ever increasing circles. Everything changes, and quickly.
We’re more connected across borders and time zones than ever before, because we need to be. In our work lives, we’ve become more diverse and dispersed.
Flexibility is expected of us and by us. We want answers, we want solutions, and we need them instantly. The quickened pace of life shows little sign of slowing, so we seek help. This help we find in technology. We’ve become reliant on our tools. Tools for the everyday, tools for work, and tools for living life. In fact, we're so reliant on them, that when we can't use them, we feel the disconnect hard. It affects us when we drop that connection to the world, and not always in a good way. Some of us have become addicted to the convenience of these tools, these tricks of our trade, and its not surprising.
Occasionally though, along the way we can lose sight of the single most important tool we have for living, for working and for coping with the demands of this new modern world. Ourselves.
We can become so tied up in all of this, so over-connected, so over-demanding and over-demanded of, that we suffer. Mentally and physically, we’re beginning to suffer the effects of the new world we live in, and our new ways of interacting with it. We have only one body, only one mind, and we to change the focus a little, if only just occasionally. And its important to see that a healthy mind is as crucial as a healthy body.
This isn’t news, exactly. We’re all aware of mindfulness, mental well-being and the very real importance of happiness. While we still have some way to go, we’re generally more open and willing nowadays to discuss mental health issues, and their effects. And again, while many of us take better care of ourselves physically, there’s still some work to be done. Cases of obesity, heart trouble and Diabetes are all on the increase.
We all know the obvious changes ; get more exercise, eat better, sleep more…..But there are some minor tweaks we can make, a host of small changes which put together can make huge differences. Basically, we’re talking about rebooting ourselves.
How many of us spend the final moments of the night staring at a screen, just as we’ve done at work all day? We’re all guilty. Well, the news is that the blue light our phones, eReaders and tablets bombard us with actually suppresses Melatonin, our natural sleep hormone. We may think we’re sending ourselves to sleep, but the reverse is true. It takes longer for us to get to sleep, we generally feel less sleepy, and we experience less REM sleep as a result. Reading an actual book - remember them - has the opposite effect.
Put the screen down. Disengage. Switch it off, even. Go on, I dare you!
Music can help too, and not just with the obvious benefits of calming us. A recent research project at The General Hospital of Salzburg, Austria makes the claim that listening to some gentle music for 25 minutes a day for a minimum of 10 days can help calm the autonomic nervous system, which in turn can lower blood pressure and lessen tension in back, shoulder and neck muscles.
Fresh air is underrated. Its what our parents used to tell us all the time - that we’d feel better after some fresh air. And its true. The simple act of a walk and change of air relaxes and refreshes body and mind, and draws our focusses away from the stresses of the day. As well as the obvious physical exercise benefit, the air relaxes the mind, improves circulation, and boosts our immune system by improving our white blood cell count. As well as this, we benefit from better heart heath, increased energy and a boost to our brain health. Just by going outside and breathing.
Screen time is an issue. A big issue. The 20-20-20 rule links into the blue light feed of modern technology. Its designed to reduce digital eye strain, another drawback of the modern world. The idea is that you takes your eyes of your screen for a short period every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds with your eyes closed every 15 minutes, and look at something 20 feet away at least once every hour. Another tip for better eye health is green tea. Green tea is known to contain catechins, which can help our eyes create tears for better lubrication.
These are small changes, minor things we can do to help ourselves. Our health is our greatest asset in this busy world. And health is wealth. Reboot yourself.