Have you heard of "digital wellbeing" coaching? As we spend more time than ever with our devices, we may feel overwhelmed, find it hard to focus and no space to actually think. Digital wellbeing is a quickly growing area of coaching that helps people and organisations find ways to "tame" their technology and avoid digital burnout.
In this extract from a workshop Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, founder of Consciously Digital, TEDx speaker and bestselling author, speaks about career opportunities in digital wellbeing sector and explains what enquiries digital wellbeing coaches deal with.
You can download the report about upcoming professions in digital wellbeing and responsible tech here and find out more info about Consciously Digital Coach Training program here.
When things are unstable, the best thing to do is to slow down and take a mental break, even if you cannot take a proper physical one. Technology increases our speed of lives and perception of time, while slowing down is all about reconnecting with your body needs and natural rhythms.
1. Don’t check your devices/news at the very start of the day. Instead, take time to wake up/stretch/have coffee. It helps to leave your device(s) out of sight in the space, where you won’t normally walk first thing in the morning.
2. Commit to spending at least 1 hour a day in the nature during the weekend walking. Even a short walk in the nature restores our attention and reduces cortisol level.
3. Choose not to eat in front of the screen, and savour the taste of the food or drink instead. Agree with your family on non-screens dinners and find one fresh topic to discuss that is not related to current household situation or negative news.
4. Notice if you are getting rushed or feeling stressed as you use your devices. Is your breath getting more shallow, or do you hold it?This may happen because your brain needs to process to much information or emotions at the same time and isn’t coping. Consider leaving Whatsapp groups you don’t really need to follow or using only one tab instead of multiple ones.
5. Just allow yourself to do less/don't push yourself for some time. It’s essential however that you consciously plan to do what you enjoy (even if the plan is to “do nothing”) when you go on a break. Make sure your time is structured in advance and marked in your calendar, and devices are only used if supporting your plan. Otherwise, you risk to default to keep reading “doomsday” news.
On the same note, fill your time with new experiences - it's the routines that make you feel that time is running fast.
6. Read slowly a good book – 2 pages a day (below some suggested reading). It’s one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Hope you'll have a good break!
Summer reading list on technology and humans:
I had a few conversations lately to understand, where we are pivoting as a society. While still unclear on many, I want to share some trends that are obvious.
1. Technology for wellbeing takes over
While pre-corona we spoke about tech life balance, now the discussion is shifting towards tech to control tech. Although digital wellbeing has gone mainstream, I haven't seen truly innovative solutions in this space over 5 years rather than “control your emails less often”.
Instead, this space is now increasingly taken by tech solutions to monitor and ensure well-being (whether those solve the problem, is a different question).
2. Increase of surveillance technology on all levels, incl. workplace
Related to the above. Large companies are now looking for solutions to be able to check and control physical and emotional wellbeing of their employees. HR use apps to ask employees about their temperature, symptoms etc. to be able to quickly prevent the spread of the virus.
3. Out of city communities/buying land
I notice trends both in investing in land in remote corners “just in case”, and in creating self-sustainable community with like-minded people. Mostly it's people who already are established professionals either able to work remotely for a company, or running their own business. They are still undecided though, as they appreciate the opportunity of being close enough to the city and where things are happening, and will likely be choosing to live in proximity of 1 hour.
Which trends are you noticing?
Linkedin seems to be rolling out addictive "engagement" design features. For a few days in a row I get a red sign under notifications, but when I click on it I get a message "You're all caught up! Discover new conversations in your network". Yesterday a person on my network noticed, how Linkedin is encouraging her to tag someone in the post to "increase engagement".
In this short video the students of Consciously Digital Coach Training course explain, why addictive design is bad for our attention and disrespectful to the company users.
We get asked a lot lately by parents, how much screen time is too much for their children, and whether the rules should be changed during confinement. There's no simple answer, but I wanted to share what we see, having analysed multiple research articles and worked with hundreds of parents:
1. Not all screen time is equal. Entertainment should be limited and controlled, online schooling best limited, Facetime with families can be more flexible. Remember that communication can also happen via voice, not necessarily looking at the screen.
2. Not all children are the same (surprise!) - if your child is more irritable, gets tantrums etc after using screens, it's the case of limiting them (or specific activities causing them).
3. Screen time is not a problem per se; the problem is when it replaces other things. For example, children need to move a lot, much more than adults. If instead they are sitting down all day with their devices, you may expect problems.
4. Putting children behind the screens is NOT the only way for parents to get some work done. It works short-term, but will backfire long-term. Strategies as independent play, which you can teach a child of any age, will be more productive.
That's a very short version, and if you'd like to have some research-based guidelines, we've put together a few links here.
How do you manage screen time for your children?
Consciously Digital coaches are offering 2 pro-bono individual coaching sessions per person for all those in need because of #coronavirus.
Typical questions people would come to us to be coached on:
- Feeling anxious/stressed when reading online news and social media
- Spending more time than ever in front of the screen and feeling physical and emotional consequences
- Unable to concentrate when working from home
- Creating digital boundaries for kids when they are at home
So basically anything that has to do with your digital habits and coping with the current flow of (mis)information and negativity and staying safe.
Leave your contact details here.
PS Please, note this is not an opportunity for corporates to get something that costs money free of charge, but rather an offer for people in real need who are affected by situation and wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise, so kindly respect it! (if you are a corporate and are worried about wellbeing of your employess under current challenging conditions, ping us and we'll be happy to share what we can do to help your workforce lower stress and stay focused at very reasonable prices)
This is an extract from a webinar by Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina about social media, fake news and loneliness in the pandemic times. The whole webinar is available here.
What if this whole mess we’re living through these days is a blessing? How different would your behavior be?
Before you start throwing tomatoes at me, please read on.
Yes, economy is shaky and our incomes are shrinking (my live speaking gigs have been postponed until September at least), we are endlessly worried about close ones, sitting at home is not much fun, especially if you are a parent… and yet, what if you tried to make lemonade out of these lemons?
We have a unique, perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to:
What are we doing instead?
I have a solution (you won’t like it, but it works).
Ask yourself this simple question: how could you use the current situation to thrive, not just survive?
It’s the times when things can change very fast, for good and for bad. How can you use this opportunity to take care of yourself more? To make your business more resilient and innovative? You have only a few weeks to do that.
The nature is already cleaning itself after a few days of reduced human intervention. The air above the cities has never been better in decades. Open your windows, and let’s also use this opportunity to clean ourselves. Wishing everyone to stay healthy, physically and mentally.
If you want tips on managing your digital habits, check out our upcoming events.
PS my additional practical tips to maintain sanity: establish a strict daily routine, stand up from your computer and stretch every hour, batch checking your emails and whatsapp notifications (do NOT keep your phone in the same room), do at least 30 minutes of physical exercise daily, keep your windows open as much as possible, do more things with your hands as this keeps you grounded, reduce alcohol and worrying as both impact your immune system
There is a physical #coronavirus, but there is an even more powerful virus of misinformation and panic being spread via social media. And the latter is far more dangerous, since stress actually undermines your immune system.
So please, make sure that you are protecting yourself and your close ones from both these days. A few simple tips of how to do it:
1. Choose 1-2 credible sources of information, stop reading everything on social media (I'd say, stop reading social media altogether, but that's unlikely to happen)
2. Make sure you first check whatever you are sharing, as there is lot of information out there. Will take you 5 extra seconds to google it.
3. Focus on things you can control, and how you can help real people. Maybe ordering something for elder relatives online, or scheduling support calls, whatever it is.
Everyone, stay mentally healthy, it's as important as your physical health. We'll be adding more tips and explaining how 'social media viruses' get spread in the next few days here.
This is an unusual 'coronavirus' update with tips of how to stay sane when the world is going crazy from us at Consciously Digital.
1. Time to limit your social media consumption to only essential
Honestly, you aren't staying more informed by reading yet another 1000 tweets about the disease or plummeting stock market. Emotions are as contagious as viruses, so don't fall victim of the panic. Have one quality source of info that you read daily, the rest of the time focus on what you can do here and now.
2. If asked to work remotely, do it in a human way
We've put together recommendations on how to work from home in a human way. In short, prioritize your focus and actually take advantage of the situation. Also heads up that Consciously Digital offers guided online Focus Sessions for everyone who needs to work remotely and finds it tricky - perhaps something interesting for your team/company?
3. Focus on doing things with your hands, breathing and physical exercise
All of the above helps you ground your body and feel more control over your life. Also, talk about your concerns with close people and ideally touch them and get them touch you - human touch helps release oxytocine, the hormone of trust and bonding that relieves stress (works even through a glove) :).
Hopefully you are staying healthy, your fridge is fully stocked, and your sense of humour is abundant - because this is the best human weapon that we have:))
PS We've put together a virtual talk and conference about loneliness, social media and connections in the digital world. We're trying out a new format, a blend of a talk and online networking, because we want a more human way to use tech. So please join us on the 27th March (Friday).
Our physical events around the world are still going ahead. Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) are happening in April, full schedule here. See you around!
Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina is a keynote speaker, author of Homo Distractus, professional coach and a pioneer of the Consciously Digital™ concept.