The unknown territory we’ve all found ourselves throughout this Covid-19 pandemic has prompted us to find new methods of connection and to search out a new version of a balanced lifestyle.

Since we can no longer physically connect with our friends, our loved ones, or our co-workers, we have had to find other ways to reach out. If the postal service wasn’t so swamped at the moment, I’m sure many of us might have reverted to writing each other letters again. Maybe a few of us still do. For the majority though, social media, phone and video calls are all we have as means of communication for the time being.

 

Finding a balanced lifestyle our new socially-distanced lives

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Of course, we can have socially-distanced chats, but we’re all still missing the freedom of not having to stand two metres away from each other.

At least online we don’t have to think about following the social distancing rules and can immerse ourselves in conversation. Hopefully, this pandemic will encourage the mindset of being present and taking advantage of those coffee house catch-ups. Not to spend half of the time on our phones. To soak up that face to face time with our friends or family. We’ll then finally achieve that balanced lifestyle between online and reality we’ve all been aspiring to since the internet took off.

It seems as though the balance between online and reality is hard to come by at this moment in time. How can we have a balance, when being online is the only way to stay connected with those we cannot see? Technology has been crucial in staying connected. Yet being online exposes us to a lot of chaos, misinformation, and pointless drama. Even scrolling through social media is enough to elicit negative emotion, through feelings such as inadequacy via comparison. It’s an Instagram vs reality conundrum wherever we turn, and we ask ourselves daily, is what we’re seeing actually reality? The answer is of course not.

Before the lockdown, tips for finding balance were things that need a level of freedom. If you were feeling overwhelmed by social media, the advice would be to put your phone down and go decompress with friends in ‘real-life’. In a global pandemic where people are self-isolating, that’s not as easy to achieve, especially with social distancing in place.

Yet, there are small, achievable things that you can do to prevent feeling overloaded by technology, without having to leave the house.

 

Rekindle your love for a hobby

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Remember the days before the internet when we would do a whole host of things if boredom set in e.g. play board games, read a book, bake a cake.

If you start to feel like the internet isn’t the place to be, step back and take up a hobby you’ve not had time for. Not only are hobbies good ways to stay creative and have fun, but they can be a great stress reliever and even a way to take out anger in a constructive manner.

 

Take in fun content away from your phone

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If you’re not feeling particularly creative, try a new show on Netflix or watch an old favourite.

Either way, you’ll feel a peace of mind from being away from your phone and social media. Never feel bad for spending time doing something you enjoy, everyone needs that at some point.

 

Mindfulness and meditation

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If your concentration levels are low and your mind is racing, the art of doing nothing might slow that down.

When was the last time you sat with your thoughts? Try it, it’s actually so energising to let your mind wander, race and tire itself out while you observe it happening. If you need some guidance on how to sit with your thoughts, try some meditation to get you used to it.

There are great apps like Headspace and Calm that have great guided meditations for beginners and for all sorts of moods, including to help with trouble sleeping or dealing with stress.

 

Digital detoxes

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Sometimes, it’s not as easy as just switching your phone off (because it’s very easy to switch it back on again). If you’re serious about having a day or so away from your phone, switch it off and give it to someone you live with. If you’re living on your own, lock it away and make a promise to yourself that you won’t check it until tomorrow. Out of sight, out of mind.

 

Listen to yourself

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If you can’t figure out what will help to deal with digital overload, a little bit of self-awareness will help you figure it out and come closer to a balanced lifestyle. I realise I’m so lucky to have the privilege of being able to keep in touch with my family and friends, but sometimes I feel a sense of guilt for choosing not to use that technology all the time. Listening to yourself and your own needs can help this clash of feelings. In a time when we may not have the everyday stresses taking their toll on us, you have the time to listen and respect your needs.

Next time someone asks you to video call and you don’t want to, or you’re scrolling through Instagram working yourself up into a panic, having that self-awareness of knowing what you need in the present moment will go a long way. Even if that means turning your phone off for a couple of hours, reading a book with no distractions or simply sitting with your thoughts. Do what you need to do to secure a balanced lifestyle.

 

Staying connected to others is important, but staying connected to yourself with a balanced lifestyle is vital.

 

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