In today’s digital age, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Our devices constantly beep, buzz, and flash, reminding us of another email, update, or news alert.
While technology has brought many conveniences, it’s also added a layer of stress that many of us feel daily.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are methods to find calm amidst the digital storm.
Here are eight techniques that helped me, a remote content writer, reduce the stress that comes with the devices we all own and use.
01 Set Specific ‘Check-In’ Times
It’s all too easy to become a slave to the incessant pings of incoming messages and updates.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, almost 90% of adults “constantly or often check their email, texts, and social media accounts”, and as you may have guessed, those who checked them more frequently were also likely to be more stressed.
Most of us simply don’t need to be updated in real-time on what’s happening. Most emails can wait.
And constantly checking our inboxes not only makes us less productive, it makes us stressed.
Instead of allowing every notification to dictate your attention, establish designated ‘check-in’ times throughout the day.
This was one of my takeaways from Greg McKeown’s bestseller, Essentialism, and it really has been a game changer in getting things done and feeling less like a slave to my phone.
For me, this means checking emails three times a day: morning, after lunch, and before signing off.
Similarly, I allocate specific times for social media browsing and news updates.
The rest of the time, I focus on doing what is most important in my job; writing.
This kind of structured approach not only gives your mind breathing space but also fosters a more focused and efficient interaction with your devices, ensuring they serve you rather than dominate your day.
It has for me, at least.
02 Design Your Digital Environment
Much like a cluttered room can induce stress, studies suggest that a cluttered digital space can similarly affect our minds, by creating psychological stress.
And usually, it is unnecessary stress.
Think about the numerous apps on your phone, half of which you probably haven’t opened in months, or the desktop cluttered with files and folders.
Why do we keep these things?
Take time to declutter your digital space: unsubscribe from those pesky promotional emails, organize your computer files, delete unused apps, and curate your social media feed only to include content that adds value or positivity to your life.
By creating a streamlined and intentional digital environment, you can reduce the cognitive load and enjoy a more serene virtual experience.
03 Embrace The Power of One Screen at a Time
In our multi-screen world, it’s not uncommon to find someone scrolling through their phone while watching TV, or checking a tablet while working on a computer.
I was guilty of this. You probably have been too.
This constant juggling can divide our attention and amplify feelings of chaos. To counteract this, practice the art of single-tasking.
When watching a show, immerse yourself fully in it. When working, focus solely on that task.
By giving 100% of your attention to one activity or screen, you’ll not only enhance productivity but also cultivate a deeper sense of presence and appreciation for the moment at hand.
04 Use Nature as the Ultimate Reset Button
In the midst of a high-speed digital age, it’s easy to overlook the rejuvenating power of the natural world.
While it’s tempting to think that the latest wellness app holds the key to relaxation, sometimes, it’s as simple as stepping outside. As reported by Harvard Health, just 20 mintues in nature can help to relieve stress.
Prioritize regular nature breaks, even if it’s just a short stroll in a nearby park. The act of feeling the sun on your skin and simply breathing fresh air works wonders in grounding oneself.
I am lucky to have a flexible schedule and over the past year or so have incorporated nature into my daily schedule.
I essentially divide my day in two work sessions with a 3 hour break between them. I spend 30 mintues of this time to take a walk in the park. Not only has it decreased my stress levels, I think it has allowed me to be more creative.
Nature has a unique way of reminding us of life beyond pixels, offering a tangible, sensory escape from the virtual whirlwind.
05 Opt For Physical Artifacts Over Digital Memories
In a world where our memories are often stored as digital photos or social media updates, there’s something profoundly grounding about physical artifacts.
Rather than always capturing moments with your phone, consider investing in a journal or a physical photo album.
Handwriting notes, memories, or maintaining a scrapbook provides a tactile experience, a stark contrast to the fleeting nature of digital media.
Revisiting these tangible mementos can be a stress-relieving activity, bringing us closer to our experiences and offering a lasting connection to our personal histories.
06 Establish Boundaries with “Do Not Disturb”
In our 24/7 connected world, it’s easy to feel ensnared by the continuous loop of notifications, blurring the lines between work and personal time.
The impulse to respond can become a source of unnecessary stress, often eroding the boundaries that define our work-life balance.
By leveraging the “Do Not Disturb” function on devices during key times, especially evenings and weekends, one can cultivate a clearer distinction between professional duties and personal relaxation.
Setting these digital availability boundaries is not just about reclaiming peace of mind—it’s also about reasserting control over one’s time and ensuring that work doesn’t encroach on those vital moments of rest and recuperation.
07 Prioritize Human Connections
In a world so seamlessly connected by technology, it’s ironic how isolated one can feel behind screens.
There’s an unparalleled warmth in human interaction, a touch, a shared laugh, or even just a conversation over coffee. Make it a point to prioritize face-to-face interactions.
This is especially important if, like me, you work remotely.
Arrange regular meet-ups with friends, attend local community events, or simply chat with a colleague instead of using Whatsapp or Instagram so send a message.
By valuing and nurturing these human connections, we not only reduce our dependency on digital communication but also find genuine moments of joy and understanding that screens can’t replicate.
08 Have a Digital Detox Weekend
If you really feel like you need a break from digital distractions, set aside time for a digital detox. Dedicate a weekend (or even just a day) to unplug from all digital devices.
This means no emails, no social media, and no endless scrolling. Instead, engage in activities that you love but perhaps have forgotten in the hustle of the digital age.
Read a physical book, take a nature walk, spend quality face-to-face time with loved ones, or pick up a forgotten hobby.
By giving your mind a break from the screen, you’ll find a renewed sense of peace and clarity. You might even notice that the world without constant notifications is much more vibrant and enjoyable than you remember.
The Bottom Line
In a world increasingly intertwined with digital threads, it’s essential to remember the essence of human nature and the joys of simplicity.
While technology offers unparalleled conveniences and connections, there’s a need for balance. .
Navigating the balance is an ongoing journey, but with conscious steps, we can ensure that our digital lives enhance, rather than overshadow, our well-being.
These are eight techniques that worked for me. If you have any thoughts or personal techniques that have worked for you, we’d love for you to share them with other readers in the comments.