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Stop and Smell the Roses: Reduce Your Screen Time

Stop and Smell the Roses: Reduce Your Screen Time

Ah, the age-old debate: is technology a boon or a bane to our existence? While the internet has provided an incredibly powerful platform for connection, creation, and collaboration, it has also been a breeding ground for distraction and obsession. A 2016 study showed that the average person spends approximately 10 hours a day staring at a screen. RescueTime surveyed 11,000  of their active users and found that we pick up our phones about 58 times a day. Of course, screen time isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. However, extended screen time replacing meaningful human interaction can become a huge problem, particularly for young people on the internet. So how do we fix the problem? In our ongoing bid to help you achieve your New Year goals, here are some ways in which you can reduce your screen time: 


  • Monitor Your Screen Time: The first step to solving a problem is being aware of it, and assessing the extent of damage done. While most of us are likely to believe that we are in control of our internet usage, it would first be worth checking how many hours on average you spend on your phone per day. Apple phones have a ScreenTime function in the Settings App which can allow you to monitor your phone usage. Besides that there are several apps like RescueTime which help you self-monitor. 
  • Don’t Use Your Phone Before Bed: A 2017 survey found that, “social media use in the 30 minutes before bed is independently associated with disturbed sleep among young adults”. Blue light exposure can have serious long-term effects on your sleep. So keep your phone away from you before bed. If you are used to using your phone as an alarm, try switching to an analog alarm clock. 
  • Remove Unnecessary Application: As phone technology gets better, storage space increases, making you believe that every app advertised to you is worth downloading. But this will only tempt you to pick up your phone more often. Remove apps that aren’t necessary. For example, choose only one of two competitors for the same type of product or service. If you already have Hulu on your phone, then you probably don’t need Netflix too. 
  • Establish Tech-free Zones in Your House: Bathrooms, dining rooms, and cars should ideally be free of any gadgets and gizmos that may tempt you to increase your screen time. 
  • Don’t Always Take Pictures: Thanks to great technology, taking pictures has become easier than ever before. But a major consequence of this is being compelled to photograph or film everything we’re seeing in real-time. This impulse has been proven to interfere with our memory making abilities by several psychology studies. So try to take in the view instead of reaching for your phone. 
  • Find a Tech-Free Hobby: Life has become so fast-paced that any time we have a moment to ourselves, we reach for a quick and easy form of entertainment: our screens. Replace mindless browsing with a screen-free hobby of your choice. This can help combat your addiction and give you a better sense of purpose. 

  • Getting offline is one of the most common New Year's resolutions. However, it is incredibly tricky to put into practice, as pandemic life has forced much of our interactions online. Try your best to engage with the people around you, and make the most of what the world has to offer.


    References: 


    1. Rampton, John [2020]. 10 Strategies for Reducing Your Screen Time  

    Calendar Productivity Center 

    1. MacKay, Jory [2019]. Screen time stats 2019: Here’s how much you use your phone during the workday

    RescueTime 

    Good Gut Feeling: Take Care of Your GI Health

    Good Gut Feeling: Take Care of Your GI Health

     

    Good Gut Feeling: Take Care of Your GI Health 

    Here’s a surprising fact to kick off 2022: did you know that your immunity is invariably linked to your gut health? Keeping your digestive system healthy is key to preventing serious illness later in life. However, today’s world has made it easier than ever to cultivate unhealthy food habits such as late-night eating, stress-eating, unnecessary snacking, and consuming high fat or sugary products regularly. Thanks to the pandemic and WFH culture, many of us are slowly moving towards a more sedentary lifestyle, and have probably packed on a couple extra pounds. Though there’s nothing wrong with a pandemic body, it is important to note how your lifestyle changes may have affected your gut health. As part of our ongoing bid to help you achieve common New Year's Resolutions, here are some ways you can improve your gut health: 

     

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently: Smaller meals are easier to digest. Avoid overwhelming your GI tract by eating light during mealtimes. This might make you hungrier, so enjoy a healthy snack like soup or yogurt between meals. 

  • Manage stress: Anxiety is linked to the functioning of your digestive system. So make sure you find ways to manage your stress levels throughout the week. Yoga, meditation, and therapy are great ways to bring some calm and balance into your life.

  • Eat more fiber: Fiber helps increase bulk in your stool, making bowel movements easier. This lowers strain on your GI tract. Get about 25g of fiber every single day. Including common sources of fiber like nuts, apples (unpeeled), pears, strawberries, lentils, beans, quinoa, and oats in your diet can work as a powerful gut health cleanse

  • Replace caffeine and alcohol with water: Water is among the best gut health drinks. Getting enough water is vital to gut health, so ensuring that you drink at least 8 glasses a day can help boost healthy digestion. Though everyone loves a cup of coffee in the morning and a drink at night, these may not be the healthiest practices for GI health. Caffeine and alcohol and stimulants which can hinder the digestive process. So try and limit the consumption of such beverages.

  • Try probiotics: Probiotics are live microorganisms that improve your gut flora. In other words, digestive probiotics are the “good bacteria”. The two main types of probiotics for digestive health are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Yogurt, sourdough bread, cottage cheese, tempeh, kombucha, buttermilk, and kimchi are some natural sources of these good bacteria. Otherwise, you can use probiotic supplements for digestive health.  

  • Talk to your doctor: If you seem to be experiencing frequent stomach problems, it might be time to visit your nearest healthcare practitioner. Tummy troubles are a sign of poor immunity, and can lead to further complications down the line. So don't put your GP visit off for later. 
  • Gut health is an often overlooked but essential component to healthy, happy living. If you’re looking to buy safe, natural, and effective gut health supplements, try HerbsDaily. We’ve got a wide range of products from vitamins for gut health, to fiber, to a potent gut health probiotic. Boost your digestive health as part of your New Year goals with HerbsDaily.    


    References:  

    1. Gunnars, Kris and Hatanaka, Miho [RDN] (2020). 22 High-Fiber Foods You Should Eat  

    Healthline

    1. Piedmont. 10 Tips for a Healthier Gut 

    Piedmont 

    1. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. Probiotics. (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/) Accessed 1/11/2022.
    Let’s Talk About Feelings: Create a Mood Tracker This New Years

    Let’s Talk About Feelings: Create a Mood Tracker This New Years

     

    Let’s Talk About Feelings: Create a Mood Tracker This New Years 

    Mental health has become a hot button topic in the last decade. But it is safe to say COVID-19 had a major impact on people’s mental health. Isolation, missed opportunities, and lost loved ones all contributed to our society’s emotional experience during the pandemic. Good new year’s resolutions this year should ideally focus on health resolutions. Hence, as part of our  ongoing series on helping you achieve a healthier new year, we thought it would be worth exploring the benefits of being mindful of one’s feelings. 


    All this can be achieved through a creating mood tracker, which is a chart that helps you identify your overall mental state on a particular day. Tracking your emotions, behaviors, and habits over a period of time can help you get a sense of your mood, a vital tool towards understanding yourself. Work stress and other obligations can make us easily lose sight of how we’re feeling over the course of a few months, so it is important to log how you're feeling, as well as how often you’re feeling it. Here are some parameters to keep in mind when creating a mood tracker.


  • Pick a Format: If you’re the kind of person who prefers a handwritten charting method, try drawing out a basic calendar and use different colors to track your habits. Otherwise, for our busier readers, using an online calendar or mood tracking app is also incredibly helpful. 
  • Choose Your Parameters: This will depend on your own personal new year goals
      1. Do you want to get more sleep? 
      2. Do you want to drink less? 
      3. Do you want to keep an eye on your temperament? 
      4. Would you want to figure out how often you experience anxiety? 
      5. What kind of mood booster pills, medications, or mood support supplements are you taking? 

    Set a few parameters for yourself to watch over. But make sure you prioritize your overall emotional state on a particular day.   

  • Create a Scale: Emotion exists on a wide spectrum. You are not likely to feel any extremes in moods day to day, which is why it is important to assign a scale of sorts to your emotions. Here’s an example of what your scale could look like: 
        1. 1- Extremely Depressed
        2. 2- Very Depressed
        3. 3- Somewhat Depressed
        4. 4- Mildly Depressed
        5. 5- Stable
        6. 6- Mildly Happy 
        7. 7- Somewhat Happy 
        8. 8- Very Happy 
        9. 9-Extremely Happy
  • Stay Regular: Make sure you track your mood regularly. Consistency is key, and spotty record-keeping won’t give you the most accurate results. Try and set a reminder on your phone to update your mood tracker at the same time every day until a habit is formed. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you skip a day or two in a month. 
  • Tracking mood is an underrated but integral part of recovering from emotional distress, anxiety, and mood disorders. It can also help you keep track of other wellness factors such as sleep, water intake, medication, and substance use. Therapy, exercise, meditation, social engagements, and supplements are all great ways to improve your mental health. HerbsDaily offers a wide range of mood support vitamins as well as herbal mood support to naturally and safely enhance your mood. 

    PLEASE NOTE:

    HerbsDaily is not a crisis resource. If you or a loved one feel suicidal or have self-harm thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).  

     

    References: 

    1. Gibson, Cameron [R.C.C] (2020). How to Create a Mood Chart for Yourself WikiHow
    You Do You: Practice Self Care This New Years

    You Do You: Practice Self Care This New Years

     

    You Do You: Practice Self Care This New Years 

    In a world of hustle culture, endless meetings, and an environment that seemingly rewards round-the-clock work, we often forget to take the time out to care for ourselves. Self care isn’t just about mental health, but also physical health. Neglecting your body’s needs will eventually take a massive toll on you, and it's better to prevent than cure a disease caused by forgetting our own requirements. But everyone knows that in theory, self care is important. The question is how do you practice the art of self care in your day-to-day life? This New Years, we at HerbsDaily want to help you achieve realistic self care goals, and help you be the best possible version of yourself. Remember, self care for men is just as important as women’s self care. Looking after your needs has no gender. Here are some ways in which you can inculcate self care: 


  • Get Moving: Yes, a cliche, but getting active plays a huge role in taking care of your body. Physical activity does not have to be intense two-hour workouts every single day. Start small, with daily walks and light exercises for about 30 minutes thrice a week. Increase according to your comfort level, but don't be afraid to push yourself. Exercise increases your metabolism, helping you burn calories even when you’re sedentary, which is especially important for those working from home. Of the many self care items to have in your arsenal, consider investing in good workout equipment particularly if you don’t have access to a gym. 
  • Eat More at Home: Ordering out has become easier than ever, making it increasingly difficult for busy moms and working professionals to eat healthy. But cooking at home is an essential life skill, and encourages you to be more in control of your diet and caloric intake. Home-cooked meals are delicious and give you a huge sense of pride. So don't be afraid to grocery shop and try a new recipe at least once a week. 
  • Spend More Time Outdoors: The pandemic has left us more or less homebound for the last year. So try and get some fresh air every now and then. Even if it's a small walk or just some time on your terrace or balcony, a little sunshine can do wonders for your mood.  
  • The Art of Saying No: There is so much joy and power in saying no to something you truly don’t want to do. That’s not to say you should stop going to work just because you don't like it; setting healthy boundaries for yourself is an absolute self-care MUST, be it at work or with friends and family. Social media allows us to buy into the narrative that if you’re not out doing spectacular things with a big group of people all the time, then you might as well not exist. Candidly speaking, it's totally okay to cancel plans, take a break, and sit at home watching your favorite shows for a day. If you try to devote all your time to other people, it will only make you more anxious and irritable. Make sure to be confident but polite when turning someone down. If they truly care about your betterment, then they definitely won’t hold it against you. 
  • Establish a Regular Sleep Cycle: An unfortunate by-product of hustle culture and working from home is ruined sleep cycles. We often hear people humble-brag about how little sleep they get. “I worked till 3am last night”, or “I got only 2 hours of sleep” have oddly become synonymous with “I work hard”. It should be noted sleeping less can have serious long term effects on health. If you find it difficult to sleep at night, then consider creating a de-stress night routine. Know what time you will go to bed and wake up, and stick to it no matter what. Make sure to turn off all screens one hour before going to bed. Stay away from caffeine and sugar at night. If you want to unwind after a long day, some aromatherapy self care products like candles and diffusers are a great option.   

  • Self care is not selfishness. If you can’t take care of yourself, you will be useless in taking care of others. So don’t be afraid to put your needs on a pedestal. Looking to build a self care kit? HerbsDaily has a wide range of products to help you destress and keep your body healthy. Be it aromatherapy products or workout supplements, we’ve got you covered with the best self care brands at pocket-friendly prices. 


    References: 


    1. Davis, Tchiki (2018). Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself

    Psychology Today 



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