Minutes after you wake up, you are already checking your inbox, scanning through unwanted emails, and scrolling through your newsfeed. Later, you find yourself looking at the latest trends on LinkedIn and commenting on a few posts, then diving into a mandatory parade of presentation slides and data graphics. In between tasks, you answer a few urgent emails, and take a little break by checking Instagram and watching that cute video of your niece dancing to Bon Jovi - don´t forget to give it a “love.” With a cup of coffee in hand, you finish your presentation, do a few video conferences, and review business data on a never-ending spreadsheet. By the time you gaze up and want to do something else, it's already too late: you have spent the whole day looking at a screen. Your eyes are almost coming out of their orbits. You are suffering from digital or tech fatigue.
Admit it, you don't know how to live without your computer or your cell-phone or, as a matter of fact, anything that's not connected to wifi. And if you are totally honest, you also don't know how to read without scanning, buy something without looking at reviews, contact someone without texting first, or cook without checking an online recipe. We live in a technologically polluted world. The toxic element here is the amount of online activities you perform within a given day, and how dependent you are on them.
The exponential technological growth that has taken place during the last two decades of our lives has brought with it unprecedented advancement. Not only has it had an impact on the way we do business, it has also changed the way we develop relationships, maintain our households, and use transportation. But these advantages don´t come without damaging effects.
Information overload seems to be incredibly common these days. We often have no other choice to be in touch with our loved ones but through the use of online platforms. We are so hooked on tech that it is very hard to disconnect and live tech-free, even for short periods of time.
According to research conducted by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden among 4,100 young adults, heavy use of cell-phones and computers leads to an increase in sleep disorders, stress, and mental illnesses like depression. Intensive use of computers late at night and not taking any breaks from screen time only makes matters worse. There is scientifically proven correlation between screen exposure and lack of sleep: the light produced by screens, commonly known as blue light, prevents our bodies from producing melatonin, which is a friendly hormone known for helping us sleep. It also affects our circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock our body has to regulate or schedule certain functions, including sleep cycles.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be heading down the path of digital burnout:
So how can you stop the negative cycle and start living a healthier life? Considering the current times and our daily exposure to technology, living less connected can sure be a real challenge. But with a bit of self-discipline, you can live a healthier life.
Try one or more of the following suggestions, at least for a few days. I am sure you will, at the very least, sleep a few more hours than usual.
Considering how hooked we are on electronic devices, apps, online platforms, and all things with a screen, this might be easier said than done. However, your life will change for the better the minute you become aware of the possibility of living in a simpler, healthier, and disconnected mindset.
After working in technology for many years, and using many apps during my personal time, I realized living in a state of constant connection was making me anxious and affecting my sleep quality. By being conscious of digital overload and taking small actions during the day, I can now walk through a park without constantly looking at my phone, noticing the lovely trees and flowers around me. It is time to lift our heads and connect with the world in a different way.
Maribel Munoz is a content specialist and digital marketing expert. After working in the online and tech industry for over ten years, she is committed to making the digital space more meaningful and human. Maribel’s focus on finding the balance between technological advancements and a healthy lifestyle encourages and inspires the Gated team.
Published March 2021
Updated December 2022