Staying connected during the pandemic; The Challenges; Gadget Guidelines
A vital connection for many of us whether working or keeping in touch with friends and family across the world.
Connecting is such an important aspect of our lives enhancing our physical and mental health. We have an innate need to be involved with other people which in turn has a positive impact on our security, sense of belonging and self-esteem. A 1938 Harvard University study explored, “What is it that makes us happy?” The outcome was relationships and embracing community over wealth, fame and working hard. (1) Successful relationships provide one of the most rewarding stimuli for humans. With each positive interaction, we experience a pleasure response, a burst of dopamine neurochemical. (2)
Staying connected during the pandemic:
Loneliness and isolation:
Loneliness has for some time been recognised as a significant threat to physical and mental health. When we feel lonely and rejected, brain regions associated with distress and rumination are activated. Whilst during this pandemic, the “true social presence” is missing, the likes of online meet ups have united many. We have been able to remain connected with loved ones in care homes and friends and family across the globe. (3)
During the pandemic and bubbles of lockdowns, some schools manage to continue offering all important education to children online. Teenagers maintain their social links via online games. Parents remain in touch with children settling into Universities and Colleges.
A plethora of learning has been more available. Learning is like a “mental exercise” whereby we are not making new brain cells, rather we are strengthening the connections between them. The positive effects of learning include healthy behaviour, emotional resilience, better physical and mental health.
Professional services and business:
Business has not been quite as usual but has been possible thanks to technology. The likes of online doctors’ consultations have gone ahead. Whilst this poses some limitations and regulatory challenges, people have been assessed. Online Mental Health support and Apps available – a lifeline to many.
“Communicating via technology does, however, contribute barriers to traditional ways of connecting. Whilst we may appear to be more connected than ever, we need to continually redefine ways to genuinely connect and be aware too of the pitfalls.”
Nowadays impossible standards set expectations high via friends on social media. Curating the perfect life, known as a highlight reel, which conceals struggles is easily done yet can have such a negative impact on self esteem and feeling good about one’s self.
In a world where we are trying to use our personal energy resourcefully, what better way to drain energy through the distraction of technology. Take our mobile phones for example: checking this device close to 100 times a day – are these check points all credible or habitual? (4)
We are in the midst of a global crisis so of course we are going to watch news updates to keep us informed. Limitless airtime and continually checking what you may have missed becomes problematic and fuels anxiety.
Screen time before bed is a researched contributor to insomnia and sleep disturbance. The light emitted inhibits the sleep hormone but not only that, is the content we are reading setting you up for a good night’s sleep?
Being online with back to back meetings for 8 hours is not feasible. The online interaction requires us to really concentrate on deciphering non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone, and pitch. Relaxing into conversations can be difficult and allowing for natural silences becomes harder, not to mention the fact that we now watch ourselves interacting.
Just a few guidelines for you to consider more balance between technology and human experience.
Download: Gadget Guidelines
Thanks for reading and stay well,