Today’s digital age has brought a lot of good stuff for everyone. The world wide web has made this once seemingly wide world, smaller. In fact, you can reach people and send your message across with just a few touches of your fingertips. That’s how the Internet has connected us to one another.
Moreover, digital technology created opportunities for us to work remotely. Flexibility is one of the main benefits of the Internet, and just when we thought it would make work easier, sometimes it aids us being chained to our “office”.
Most companies have unconsciously expanded our working days to working nights and longer working hours. Whether you are aware of it or not, your working hours begin the exact moment you wake up and check your email. And it ends during bedtime after you send that last minute email. If your boss does it, you’ll even feel guilty if you don’t follow suit.
That’s also how the Internet has made work easier and harder for us. And you know it’s not all roses and rainbows.
While there is that big advantage that we are all enjoying now, the disadvantages are starting to overpower whatever good it brings to us, especially how it affects our health. You’ve heard about social media addiction, the harmful blue light, and the shortening of our attention spans. That’s why knowing how to balance career and health in this digital age is very important.
Opening Our Eyes to the Danger
People have developed a dependency on digital communication. This has presented many emotional and physical health challenges. Some of these are exposure to electromagnetic radiation, mitochondrial damages and failing social skills.
Recent studies have also identified physical and psychological symptoms that occur when communication services are out of reach.
Nomophobia, or the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as being in a place without a signal or running out of battery power, has been identified to be a growing fear among students and professionals, both young and old.
Doesn’t this sound alarming?
It’s time to take a break.
So how can we achieve the balance between career and health in this era of digital technology?
Go on a digital detox
If we go to spas for wellness packages, we should also consider a digital detox. What is a digital detox? It is simply a time where you stay away from anything digital. Our present situation where digital addiction is as real as other types of addiction, demands that we schedule a digital detox.
Go about a day or two without having to go through your phone or laptop. The longest I can endure without digital communication is one day, not only because I use it for work, but because I feel the need to be in constant communication with family members. (I could be one of those digital addicts.)
If you can endure more than a day to detox from digital communication, then kudos to you. You belong to the 44% who doesn’t suffer from Nomophobia.
Connect better and unplug
If you can go on a day without having to rely on digital technology, then you can survive hours without it. Set time boundaries within your day to simply unplug from the rest of the world. This could mean no phone calls during dinner. Turn off or put phones on silent mode.
If you are married and have kids, make your room a sacred space that no one can interfere with your private moments with your family.
Turn off your mobile phone when you go to sleep or if it is not possible for you, place it somewhere you won’t be tempted to check for messages every half an hour.
Paul Halme, an MMA champion, and business consultant admit that going to the gym, actually talking to people, sweating it out on the mat, and checking the people in his gym/ school help remind him that the best moves in business do not require fancy technology.
Build real and meaningful relationships
It’s ironic how technology created things that were meant to bring us closer to one another but instead, it did the opposite. It’s even more bewildering how, when we think about relationships, we mostly think of those that we created online.
We forget to nurture meaningful relationships in the real world. Two people can be seated together deeply engaged in their ideal world while ignoring the fact that a real live person with whom they can build a relationship with is just beside them.
Choose your relationships over your career or anything else. Having a meaningful relationship especially with your family can lead to a longer life. A lack of social life, on the other hand, can lead to depression, diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia and an increased mortality rate.
Studies also show that a lack of strong relationships in your life increases the risk of premature death by 50%, something that we can roughly compare to smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Too much of anything is bad. A lack of something can be worse too.
Connect to the source
If there is one thing that you need to be connected to all the time, that is to the true Source. Connect with your spirituality. This is one thing that you need to be constantly plugged in. Connecting to the Source, God, Universe or Higher Self, whatever you call it, is something that you need to do to be able to connect with your true self.
This can also be about your purpose and give back to the world which has given you a lot. You don’t have to be a billionaire to start giving, supporting a local cause, or start a foundation that helps the people you feel the most affinity to. And all of these things may be aided by technology, but there is nothing that’s more fulfilling than connecting to other people with a strong sense of purpose through selfless generosity.
We can all get lost in this sea of digital technology and drown in the noise of digital communication if we do not find the balance. What is important is we go back to the true essence of our being, remind us why we do what we do, and how we change the world for the better while we’re at it.