Digital mindfulness: A new solution to connecting 

As we adjust to the new normal, Technology is helping us in unimaginable ways. It’s keeping us in touch with our loved ones and helping us stay connected with our work, teams, with our local libraries, shops and many volunteer services. According to Rachana Shrivastava, Head of Workforce planning at TCS, Australia and New Zealand, it’s equally important that we are mindful about how we’re using digital technology and how it’s changing our lives. She details it out below.

A digital solution

Technology is helping us to manage the changes in our work and personal lives as well as support others. Video conferencing and cloud solutions are helping people seamlessly switch to remote working while our customer interactions are also being frictionlessly digitised. 

At home, technology is playing a much bigger role as we use devices more and more to interact with our loved ones, do our shopping, learn, share and even participate in exercise and other social activities. Virtual reality is new lounge room, enabling us to explore the animals of the African jungle or take a virtual tour of the canals of Venice all from the comfort of our home.

Technology is helping us to adjust to our unique circumstances in many positive ways.

With digital tools empowering us to stay productive in new working conditions and remain connected with our loved ones, we can support each other through these changes.

"Being digitally mindful is about taking a moment to pause and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. It helps us to build resilience to cope with our unusual circumstances and the impact it’s having on our physical and mental wellbeing," says Rachana.

What is mindfulness and how does it apply to technology?

Mindfulness can give us some calm as we embrace using technology more to make the best of our circumstances. Mindfulness is a psychological technique that involves maintaining a consciousness of your thoughts, emotions and your surrounding environment in a non-judgmental and nurturing way to help improve your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Rachana states that "In a technology sense, being “digitally mindful” is about being aware of the new role of technology in our lives and how it’s affecting you in different ways."

Are you digitally fatigued?

Sometimes it can be frustrating or stressful adapting to the complexities of our new normal. Our accessibility 24-hours a day and the constant flow of information and communication in our work lives can be tiring.

At home, video is keeping us connected but it doesn’t replace our inherent need for togetherness. Games and social media also often absorb us for longer than we planned.

Being aware of the signs of digital fatigue empowers you to be more proactive about looking after yourself. Here are some of signs that you might need to slow down:

• Mental fatigue
• Irritability
• Frustration or losing patience
• Loss of motivation
• Energy loss
• Resisting technology use
• Stress
• Anxiety or depression

There may also be physical signs of digital fatigue including:

• Headaches
• Shoulder or back pain or stiffness
• Muscular pain

"Being digitally mindful will help you better manage your use of technology in a more positive and healthy way," adds Rachana

5 digitally mindful practices

Feel safe and empowered to take a step back when you need to, to refocus on the present moment and reconnect with your purpose.

Rachana shares five mindful practices you can implement today:

1. Take frequent micro-breaks

Here’s an easy practice:
- Move away from your device
- Breathe in and out deeply and slowly
- Centring your thoughts on your purpose
- Scan your body to tap into the awareness of how it’s feeling
- Use your breath to imagine any tension you feel being released.

Tip: set up reminders on your phone to do this several times a day

2. Give yourself some digital rest.

Set limits on the amount of time you spend using technology such as restricting your use in the bedroom or outside certain hours. Engage your family and friends in helping you stick to your goals, as well as supporting them too.

3. Take up hobbies that don’t require using technology

This might be learning something new using your hands, gardening, sewing, doing puzzles, playing board games or cards, reading or drawing. All these activities are a great way to relax and give yourself a break.

4. Move your body every day

Exercise has an enormous impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. It can boost our energy levels and help us sleep better. Keep up with your exercise routine, do some stretching exercise throughout the day, take a walk or run (within safe distancing rules), yoga or pilates.

5. Practice a mindfulness meditation

This can give you some peace of mind and help you stay emotionally and physically healthy. You can train your mind to be resilient when it comes to adapting to the changes around us as well as support each other throughout this period of uncertainty.