We speak to Erin MacNeil, the director of wellness at Asaya Hong Kong, on how we can work to lower our digital-induced stress

Issues like insomnia, vision problems and eye strain have been linked to the overuse of technological devices. Paired with the vicious and never-ending news cycle, especially related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it can leave us feeling stressed and anxious. 

Erin MacNeil, the Director of Wellness at Asaya Hong Kong, says a digital detox is the answer to lowering our digital-induced stress. "It's really about creating boundaries and awareness with the devices and platforms we use every day."

What are the health benefits of having a digital detox?

The first step to a digital detox is setting boundaries with your devices. This is important because it can give you a feeling of having more control over your life and provide a sense of freedom, MacNeil says. 

“Creating screen time limits can immediately improve sleep, increase energy, provide more cognitive presence, decrease feelings of anxiousness and of course give time for yourself and the ones you love,” says MacNeil.

See also: Mental Health & Reducing Anxiety From Social Distancing

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Above Erin MacNeil (Image: Rosewood Hong Kong)

What are some tips for those trying their first digital detox?

MacNeil’s two most important tips for your digital detox are to “set your 'Out Of Office' notifications—this advises your colleagues you are unavailable. The more you practise and hold these boundaries for yourself the more others will learn to follow them.

“The second one is unfollow! If what you're seeing on social media leaves you feeling upset, angry or questioning your worth, you need to unfollow those accounts and personalities. You have the power to decide what you see on your social feeds and empower yourself to only associate with what makes you feel good,” says MacNeil.

See also: How To Have A Spa Day At Home

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What should people be aware of or take note when undergoing a digital detox? 

As a society, we have grown comfortable with filling time and space with our technological devices and it has gotten to a point where sitting by ourselves without a phone, TV or laptop can actually produce feelings of anxiousness and restlessness. MacNeil recognises this as a hard part of sticking to a digital detox.

"But give yourself the opportunity to sit through the discomfort, [to] feel it, observe it and let it go to make room for new habits and behaviours that help you become more aware and present in your one precious life.” 

See also: How To Meditate Daily & Observe Mindfulness, According To Psychotherapist Lena Franklin

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