I’m often asked which food-tracking, calorie-counting app is best. Or where you can find the best exercise videos online. Or what foodie Instagram accounts are the most inspiring. And of course, I have my opinions. I can rattle off a list of a good 5-10 for each and send you on your way. Technology has this amazing way of bringing people together, making the world feel a little smaller, and creating a superwave of information sharing that’s unparalleled.
But it’s a double-edged sword. While you may find the perfect app that doles out your calories and macros in just the way you want, you may also find yourself trapped by your device. Hooked to apps that tell you things like when, how, where, how much, and what to eat. You may find yourself deprived of the actual joy of eating, overcome with the desire to not exceed your daily caloric intake that the app has calculated for you. So how do we, in this technologically-driven society, find balance?
How can we use the tools at our disposal thoughtfully and mindfully to nourish all parts of our wellness?
Because it’s not just about calories and crunches. Our mind is a huge player in our wellness. Sleep, stress, sounds, and smells all contribute to our overall wellbeing. Harnessing the power to cultivate healthy habits with and without technology will certainly reap the biggest benefits.
1. Start investing your time and energy outside of the internet.
Looking for a good recipe or vegan diet plan? Check the library, ask a friend, or experiment in the kitchen. Begin by looking where most of us have forgotten to look. Creativity abounds when we are exposed to different people, ways of thinking, and trying new things. Invest some time in getting out and doing instead of clicking and “liking”.
2. Ask an expert.
There are so many people, accounts, and websites out there giving health and wellness advice. Many are simply sharing their experience with wellness and end up turning in to some kind of wellness guru with no training to expertise. You have one body, one mind, one spirit, make sure to invest in someone who truly knows what they’re doing and how they can help you.
3. Find a philosophy that works for you.
Some people are into strict diets, some juice cleanses, some ayurveda and breathwork. What works for one girl on Instagram may not work for you. So get out there and try a few things before settling down a wellness path. Journal for a few weeks, try meditation for a month, or finally ask your doctor about antidepressants. Give it a good go and then decide which is for you.
4. Be inspired.
Scroll Instagram, Pin your heart out. Spend time in those online spaces that inspire you to spend more on your wellness. But stop at inspiration. Don’t strive to be like the perfection you see - be inspired to try new things, eat new vegetables, cook in a new way, move your body, and nourish your soul.
5. When needed - detox.
When it gets to be too much and veers on aspiration or comparison, shut down the computer, delete apps from your phone (you can always get them back!), and get outside. Lift your head and see the world around you. Breathe it in. Be with yourself. Stop looking for something or someone on a device to show you how you should be well. Just being with yourself and connecting with yourself offline will show you what you truly need.
6. Cultivate mindfulness.
There’s a lot of hype about meditation, but the research backs it up as something you should consider incorporating into a wellness routine. Luckily, there are endless apps out there that help guide you through meditation whether you’re a beginner or an advanced meditator (although I think we’re all just beginning, no matter how much we practice). Headspace is one of my favorites, and many people love Calm. Having it in the palm of your hand is so nice when you find yourself with a few extra minutes to spend. You can pop in a meditation instead of scrolling Instagram… again.
7. Look beyond the scale.
I am not a fan of scales. I tell my clients in our first sessions to ditch it completely and walk away for good. A simple number on a scale doesn’t say much. If you’re wanting to find qualitative numbers regarding your health, I recommend using a tool like QardioBase. It reads important aspects of body composition: water, muscle, body fat %, and bone mass - numbers that are far more important to overall health than BMI or weight. If you can’t imagine not having a scale in your home, invest in one that shows the whole picture.
8. Use technology to workout - or not.
There are millions of exercise videos on the internet. If you’re someone who has a limited schedule, budget, and doesn’t love to leave the house, then click around and find some that work for you! But if not, don’t be afraid to try a group fitness class or simply join a gym. There are a lot of options out there and you’ll never know what works for you unless you try!
9. Keep the tech out of the bed.
Sleep is often overlooked when we talk about wellness but it’s absolutely something we all need to work on investing in more. One simple way is to dock your phone and other devices outside of the bedroom. Use a regular old alarm clock (there’s some really nice ones out there!), and don’t bring those harsh lights, social media scrolling, and stress into your sleep zone.
10. Set a schedule.
This is your time and your energy, and you need to make sure you’re investing it wisely. If you choose to invest in an app to help you meditate then sit down, meditate, and move on. Don’t get sucked into scrolling mindlessly and lose your meditation time. If you choose to invest in a techy scale or watch, use it, look at it, and move on with your day. Don’t let the numbers and the information eat away at you. Set boundaries with your time on when you’ll check your devices. Even if you’re using technology for wellness, you can easily click over to Facebook when you’re finished checking your heart rate and end up in a heated stressful debate with your great aunt. Invest your time and energy wisely.