One of the best pieces of advice to get you through times of upheaval and stress is to stay grounded — find practices or people that make you feel good and regularly engage with them each day.
This applies to digital wellness too.
As we talked in Week 2, there may be technology you need and want in your life right now, (especially if you have been quarantined). Or — if you are still in the midst of our four week digital detox — technology you want to add back into your life when it’s over.
Our goal is to make sure this technology is as safe, stable, and healthy for you as possible.
Control the content flowing in
The first step is to control the firehose of information being sprayed at you each day.
Remember, you are the author of your own experiences. You have the power to design your own digital reality, reshaping it to meet your needs and desires.
Making three small tweaks to your technology use today, (or after your detox has ended) can help you begin to own this power…
1. Choose solid sources
Proactively choose the platforms and places where you hang out each day, (which may be new places than before) and make sure they give you a good cross section of the info you need.
This should include a small handful of reputable, unbiased sources for daily news, (Facebook should not be one of those sources) a few sources for news related to your profession, and a few sources where you can get personal news and information, have fun, etc.
2. Mute your triggers
Create distance between yourself and anything you regularly engage with online that feels unhealthy or unhelpful. If that means the whole Internet, then so be it. Go on a full detox if you haven’t already, (the prep projects in this eCourse will help you get started).
Otherwise, just like you may be using quarantine time to deep clean your home, deep clean your Internet and spend time muting, unfollowing, or unsubscribing. If something’s not adding value, or in line with your values, GIVE IT THE BOOT.
3. Accentuate the positives
Use technology to feed your spirit or soul, rather than only seeking out news or escapist fare that gives you a break from reality. Intentionally seek out apps, resources, and tools that enable you to create or consume art, connect to new people, or engage with content that will keep you laughing, inspired, helpful, or hopeful.
Because the algorithms that run the Internet will automatically offer you more of what you’re seeking, making small shifts each day will lead to big changes over time.
Balance the content you consume
After you’ve controlled the incoming flow of info, it might also be a good idea to assess and organize the rest of the content you regularly consume to determine if it’s healthy and helpful for you or not.
To do that, we’re going to use the idea of a Media Pyramid.
While the Mental Food Plate we discussed last week looked at the composition of your daily “digital diet,” the Media Pyramid looks at the sources of where that “food” comes from.
As it notes on the original chart, how this info is organized — and the idea itself — is abstract and subjective, (I’m not sure I even agree with all of it) but it’s a good starting place for our explorations.
According to this chart, seek (in descending order of importance) to consume content for…
- Actualization: content and activities that overlap with the wellness paradigm presented in Week 10, and fuels/grounds you.
- Edification: content that stimulates thought and delights/exercises your brain.
- Participation: content you actively engage with, which may allow for opportunities for action or creation, (e.g. taking photos).
- Interaction: content that “allows for or requires interpersonal communication.”
- Consumption: content you graze on and passively consume. Some of it may be helpful, but some of it may also be damaging, inflammatory, erroneous, or hurtful.
- Info-toxic-ation: content/propaganda that “brokers in falsehoods,” and can lead to discord, harm, and even violence.
This week’s exercises
- If you’re up for it, tackle the three “grounding” projects. What are some steps you can take today to choose sources, mute triggers, or accentuate positives? Think about how you get your daily news & info, if you trust it, and if you want to subscribe to anything new. Spend some time “spring cleaning” one or more of your social networks or email accounts. Download new apps or set up subscriptions for content or communities that bring you joy.
- Consider your personal media pyramid. What is the breakdown of the content you’re currently consuming? Do you feel like your pyramid has a strong foundation or are you wobbling unsupported with few resources to keep you grounded right now? If so, how can you shift your habits in the coming week to compensate for that?
- Complete the fourth and final week of your digital detox (if you want to/are able to). Continue to layer in quarantine-friendly activities like trying new hobbies, making time for deep thought/self-reflection, spending time in nature/exercising, or having virtual hangouts or making phone calls to people who may be struggling during this transition.
- Hang in there. Be careful of going too far down the COVID-19 rabbit hole each day. Feed yourself a daily diet of hope, too.
Next week we’ll talk about hitting the reset button — how to use this time of intense transition we’re all in to make some serious shifts in your daily life.
(As you may have noticed, I’ve shifted the focus of this course over the past few weeks to better address this moment in history. I hope you find that helpful. If so, I will continue to check in with you each week as long as I am able.)
As always, thank you for stopping by.
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