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Are You "Always On"?

The term “always on” refers to the phenomenon of constantly being connected through technologies.  We live in an interconnected world, in which we can connect with people via cell phones and the web 24/7.  Most people have a lack of boundaries when it comes to technology use; it is not uncommon to receive a text or email and feel that it needs to be attended to right away.  People are constantly taking out their phones in the middle of a conversation to look something up, or to take a picture. Unfortunately, in this day and age, work often follows people home; they might have an idea in the office and then search the web and add to it later, or receive a work related email during the weekend.  Technologies have also made the workplace different, and some experts argue that it is now easier to be distracted in the workplace, as workers are often attending to several tasks at a time as opposed to focusing on one urgent task.

While being connected through technologies certainly has advantages, the constant connection is a sure cause of stress.  

Research shows the connection between technology use and stress.  Dr. Nancy Cheever, lead researcher on the relationship between cell phone use and anxiety at California State University states, “The more people use their phone, the more anxious they are about using their phone.”  Her research suggests that phone-induced anxiety operates on a positive feedback loop: the phone keeps one in a state of anxiety, yet the only relief from the anxiety is to look at one’s phone. While the long-term effects of phone-induced anxiety are not yet known, it is known that anxiety in general can lead to other mental and physical health imbalances.  We also know that screen time promotes a more sedentary lifestyle, which has negative impacts on mental and physical health. Also, blue light exposure from technology screens interferes with the body’s natural production of melatonin (“sleep hormone”); many people lose sleep due to blue light exposure. In fact, research shows that most people are now connected to technologies (cell phone/web) for more hours daily than they sleep.  

People are seeking a break from being “always on”.  A study conducted with The Future Laboratory found that when people have awareness surrounding being “always on” and connected, they are more likely to manage a work/life balance.   There are even apps available, such as “Moment”, which monitor your smartphone usage. You can setup warnings to alert you when self-imposed limits are breached.  

Do you feel like you are “always on”?  Try limiting your technology time and seeing how you feel.  Along with being “always on”, comes a sense of loss of connection.  Some research shows that people feel less connected to friends, even though they have more contact via technologies.  While it can be nice to connect with friends via cell and web (especially helpful for friends who live afar), it lacks the deep social connections that come from meeting in person with other people.  One of Edye’s top reads of 2019, “Braiding Sweetgrass,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, touches on the power of truly connecting to the natural world around you. Robin Wall Kimmerer is an indigenous botanist whose writing speaks of the importance of tuning into the lessons of nature.  An over reliance on technologies hinders our ability to slow down and learn from our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the world. So, put your phone and emails aside, make a cup of tea, and read “Braiding Sweetgrass”. The book is so good you might want to tell your friends to read it along with you and then have them over for a book club to talk all about it.  

Edye’s Naturals strives to support you in living a holistic life.  One way to slow down from being “always on” is to practice self massage using Edye’s Organic Face and Body Butter Edyes Organic Face and Body Butter can be used from head to toe to treat all types of skin issues. It absorbs quickly into your skin, leaving it soft and silky.  

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