We’ve all been dealing with an increase in screen time with our multiple devices and platforms for a while now, and the effects of the pandemic have taken this to new levels.
Maybe you’re experiencing Zoom fatigue, or perhaps you’re addicted to your smart devices as a way to zone out or suppress stress and anxiety?
I’ve been hearing from clients, friends, and acquaintances about the various negative effects they’ve been experiencing, and have been giving them personalized recommendations to help. This prompted me to put together a guide to help you create your own customized recipe for releasing the negative effects of too much screen time. I hope this list gives you many creative ideas to make your own recipe so you can feel more vital and vibrant and in alignment with who you truly are.
Here are some of the top complaints I’ve been hearing, and some of the effects you may be noticing and experiencing:
- Headaches or migraines
- Fuzzy or foggy thinking
- Vision problems
- Depression or anxiety
- Loneliness or a sense of isolation
- Stiffness or tension from too much sitting
- Inability to exercise
- Weight gain and/or increased snacking or unhealthy eating
- Lack of motivation
Maybe you can relate to some of these?
This post is for you if:
- You’re a workaholic or find it hard to unplug and stop working at the end of the day
- You have Zoom fatigue with back-to-back meetings online
- You’re a solopreneur or freelancer and work from home
- You’re a student and have to adapt to online learning away from a more traditional in-person classroom setting
- You’re juggling family responsibilities alongside working from home
- You’re feeling isolated because of diminished opportunities for in-person socializing
This is a comprehensive list of 35 easy, powerful things you can do to improve how you feel while you’re working or learning online.
The healing tips, tools, and resources listed below offer an extensive range based on how much time you have and ways to best manage your time; ways to clear negative energy and bring more positive energy into your soul, mind, body, and outer environment; and suggestions so technology can actually help you cultivate more balance and inner/outer harmony. Let’s go!
7 Super Quick Ideas for 1-Minute Breaks
Need a super quick break between meetings, classes, or tasks? Here are 7 ideas that only take one-minute to do:
1. 1-Minute Dance Party
Pick your favorite songs and create a 1-Minute Dance Party playlist so you have fun songs already lined up and ready to go. Hit Shuffle for variety and spontaneity. Here’s a dance-party playlist created by one of my amazing clients.
Bonus: dance with someone (in person or online).
2. 1-Minute Shake It Up
Shaking resets our nervous system, releases excess energy, and gets us out of our heads and into our bodies. Shake your arms and hands, each leg, your head (you may notice it’s hard to relax and drop the head), and your whole body.
3. 1-Minute Pat Down
Patting or tapping is done in many martial arts practices like Tai Chi or Qi Gong and is another effective way to move energy. Start at the shoulder and use the cupped palm to pat down the inside of the arm down to the hand, then the outside of the arm. Repeat on the other arm. Next start at the hip and move down the outside of the leg down to the foot. Then the inside of the leg. Repeat on the other leg. Pat the top of the head 50 times lightly (this increases blood flow—notice if you’re able to think more clearly after trying this). Tap the chest (think Tarzan—you could do it with gentle fists), and then the backs of the upper shoulders (this is usually a much-needed place in the body).
4. 1-Minute Stretch
Reach up to the sky, reach to the left, then to the right, bend down toward your toes. Imagine any excess or negative thoughts emptying out the top of the head and releasing into the earth to be recycled. Roll up slowly. Think of your feet connecting down toward the center of the earth like the roots of a huge tree. Then bring your awareness to the crown of your head and imagine a string pulling you up toward the center of the universe. Lean very gently, almost imperceptibly, back into the spine.
5. Tailbone Circles
This is another Qi Gong practice: bring your awareness to the tailbone and make the tiniest circles you can with it. Several times in one direction, then the other. This will probably feel a little strange and quite deep as it opens up the energy in the entire pelvic basin and extends up the spine into the rest of the torso. It will bring energy into the first three lower chakras, or energy centers in the body, again helping to ground you.
6. 1-Minute Water or Tea Break
Staying hydrated is a good practice no matter what. Here are a few more tips. Make it a mindful experience, use your favorite mug or glass, try warming it in a kettle and notice how your body feels with the warm water feels vs. cold. Many healing traditions suggest warm water is best, and never to drink cold water so see what you notice.
There’s a famous Chinese proverb: “When you drink water, think of the source.” Where does your water come from? Give gratitude for this life-giving source as you think of everything involved through human effort and Mother Nature for this humble glass of water.
Bonus: Add flower essences to your water or tea (see below for recommendations for flower essences that can help with too much screen time.)
7. Use A Coloring Book
Coloring has been shown to reduce stress and it’s a fun way to practice mindfulness. Here are 25 of Oprah’s top picks for adult coloring books—there is something for everyone.
7 Ways to Soulfully Schedule Your Day
Experiment with creating different rituals to anchor your day; a ritual can be a powerful way to bring presence to your soul and connect to the world around you.
8. Start the Day Off Right
Pick something to focus you before you officially start your work day or study: journal, connect with your intuition by picking a Tarot or Oracle card for daily guidance, light a candle (safely!), say a prayer, pick an affirmation… just do something magical that helps you center yourself.
Bonus: I adore Alana Fairchild’s oracle decks to help me connect to my intuition. (Confession: I have her Wild Kuan Yin, Mother Mary, and Isis decks and they are all gorgeous and offer beautiful wisdom.)
9. Five-Minute Journaling
This has long been a client favorite and is a fast and easy way to change negative thinking and retrain your brain. Based on research in positive psychology, the 5-Minute Journal is a guided journal that helps focus your attention on the good in your life. I’ve been using it for years and highly recommend (and it doesn’t take even take 5-minutes).
10. Express Gratitude
I also create a Gratitude Jar to keep track of memorable moments each week. It’s one of my favorite annual rituals and is a simple way to cultivate gratitude and increase happiness.
11. Go On A Mindful Mini-Commute
Working or going to school from home? Try a mini-commute. Go for a walk around the block. Listen to your favorite music or make it more of a mindfulness walking meditation and notice the sounds, sights, and smells around you. Pay extra attention to nature—birds, trees, the sun, the sky…
12. Take a Lunch Break
This goes without saying, try not to work while you eat lunch. Set a time to eat, reset, move around, you know what to do!
13. Drink a Cup of Tea
The British were on to something with their afternoon tea time. Make a cup of tea as a ritual to reset at the same time each day. I love Tulsi tea (Holy Basil)—it’s referred to as the “Queen of Herbs’ in India, and is balancing and calming to the nervous system.
14. Close Out the End of the Day
Pick a time of day when you are officially done with work and do something to signify this. Take a walk, close your laptop, clean up your work area, do something to anchor that you’re done for the day. Hint: there are 35 ideas to choose from in this post!
7 Ways To Clear Negative Energy
Here are 7 ways to clear your mind and body of stress and negative emotions like frustration, impatience, anxiety, depression, self doubt, fear/worry, etc.
15. EFT/Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping
This is one of my all-time favorite stress relieving techniques (and you can use this as another one-minute reset). Tapping on these powerful acupressure points while venting about what upsets you, quickly resets and rebalances the nervous system. Working or studying at home is definitely a bonus in this case, because you can do this in the privacy of your own home. (Although I did see an Olympian use this technique on camera right before his race.) Here’s more info about what EFT is, how it works, and how to use it.
16. Take a Bath
This could become part of your end-of-the-day ritual. If you don’t have a bathtub, visualize the water during your shower washing away any stress, negativity, etc. down the drain. Or create a luxurious foot bath and massage your feet afterwards with lotion or massage oil.
Bonus: Add sea salt, Epsom salts, and/or essential oils as a powerful reset to release anything you no longer need.
17. Use Flower Essences To Unplug
Flower essences are different than essential oils or herbs; they don’t have a smell or taste, have no contraindications, and traditionally are taken orally. They are a vibrational healing system (similar to the way that Reiki works) and are a powerful yet gentle way to balance negative emotions.
You select flower essences based on how you feel, and how you deal with how you feel. You can take them orally and/or add them to a small spray bottle with essential oils if you like. Here’s more info on what flower essences are, how they work, the potential benefits, and how to use them.
18. 5 Specific Flower Essence Recommendations
While everyone deals with too much screen time differently, here are 5 of the most common recommendations for flower essences to unplug from too much screen time:
- Olive for physical fatigue and exhaustion
- Hornbeam for mental exhaustion, especially when you’re tired of doing monotonous work
- Walnut for major life changes such as a new schedule working from home, or going to school online
- Holly for frustration, irritation, and anger
- Willow for resentment, like having to stay home during the pandemic
Again, everyone responds differently to the stresses of too much screen time, so if you need help selecting the right flower essences, you can get a personalized recommendation as part of any 60- or 90-minute virtual session with me, or book a 15-minute virtual Bach flower consultation.
18. Try Rescue Remedy
Rescue Remedy includes the top 5 flower essences Dr. Bach (the creator of the system of Bach flower essences) put together for stress and emergency situations. It’s always a good place to start if you want to try flower essences, and it’s easy to find at most health food stores and some pharmacies.
My favorite brand is Healing Herbs, although it’s a little harder to find. You can purchase it here (it’s called Five Flower Remedy and it’s the same formula as Rescue Remedy). Among other things, Rescue Remedy can help with:
- loneliness, sadness, grief, and trauma (for example, dealing with the pandemic);
- anxiety or panic;
- feeling spacey, foggy, or ungrounded (for example, from being online too much);
- obsessive thinking or overanalyzing (again an example of too much energy in the head, and not grounded in the body).
19. Use Yarrow Environmental Solution by FES
Yarrow Environmental Solution is a flower essence blend created specifically to counter the negative effects of too much screen time. It was designed to protect and strengthen to better equip you to handle the hazards of a technology-dominated life, as well as other toxic environmental influences.
20. Go on a News Fast
Many people are very aware of the impact of what they eat and drink on their health, but may not be as conscious of the news and social media they imbibe and digest. Doing a news detox can help you become more aware of the effects of media on your physical and mental health.
This is not saying put your head in the sand and be oblivious to current events; it’s about finding balance and seeking ways to be informed without unnecessarily amplifying fear and anxiety. See what you discover.
Bonus: Subscribe to The Good News Network. I also highly recommend social activist and spiritual teacher Terry Patten. His work helped me discover that reading long-form articles that go in-depth with an exploration of nuance and complexity, works better for me than the nervous-system triggering headlines of watching the news or getting news alerts.
21. 25 Additional Ways to Get Grounded
Technology amplifies the energy in the head, and can make it harder to fully inhabit your body. Give yourself a foot massage (or getting someone to give you one) or use some of the DIY reflexology foot gadgets. Here’s a list on 25 easy techniques to stay grounded in the mind and in the body, using the power of nature and certain foods, etc. This list is especially useful if you’re an empath and find yourself easily taking on the feelings of others.
7 Ways to Energetically & Soulfully Enhance Your Environment
Our environment can greatly influence how we feel. When we spend more time working and studying at home it’s even more important to take good care of the energy of where we live. Here are some ideas to try:
22. Use Essential oils
Our sense of smell is the oldest part of the brain, and it’s a fast way to change our mood and emotional state. Make a spray bottle and spritz it periodically to enliven your workspace or overall home, use a roll-on on your temples or pulse points, or go for it and get a diffuser. I like Eden’s Garden because it’s high quality and budget friendly. Focus, Focus, Focus & Study Buddy essential oil synergy blends are both safe for kids (and yes, I use them on myself!). Here’s useful tips on different ways to use essential oils safely.
23. Decorate Your Workspace
Have something pretty or inspiring to look at in your workspace. Get fresh flowers or a little plant. There’s been a fair amount of research on the relaxation effect of looking at flowers (even if it’s a photo). Get a candle or put some twinkle lights in a mason jar. Get creative and freshen things up by periodically making changes to your workspace or home in general, perhaps related to the current season or a holiday.
Bonus: Keep the oracle card (mentioned above) where you can see it for inspiration throughout the day.
24. Best Crystals For Grounding
This counts in the something-pretty-to-look-at category, but crystals can help ground us (after all, they come from the Earth). Some specific crystals to counter too much screen time include: shungite, selenite, and black tourmaline, but the most important tip is to pick stones that you’re drawn to (rather than what you read specific crystals are good for). Shells or regular stones, particularly from places you’ve been to, can be wonderful and grounding as well. I like these online crystal shops:
Voice of the Stones (they can also be found at a fabulous seasonal flea market in Woodstock, NY)
Rock Star Crystals (also a shop in NYC)
25. Music To Work By
Some people find background music helpful, while others need complete silence. If you fall into the later category, listen to music during breaks. You can create playlists for different moods, time of day, or specific tasks: Wake Up, Background, Cool Down, Dance Party, Focus, Create, etc.
Bonus: Share playlists with your friends and loved ones as another creative way to connect and provide variety.
26. Sound Healing with Binaural Beats
Create a healing field of high frequency and vibration through music and mantra. Binaural beats or hemisync is a powerful way to relax the mind and body after work or study.
Brilliant hypnosis teacher and musician John Overdurf has created some amazing music using binaural beats.
27. Sound Healing with Sacred Mantra
Here are 3 of my favorite healing mantras:
The Love Peace Harmony Healing Mantra
This powerful mantra is offered as a free app or download. It’s also a Feng Shui transformer, and can create a healing field in your home.
I have it playing at very low volume or on mute 24/7. One of my clients is a first-year teacher for students with special needs. She’s been playing it in her classroom at very low volume and shared this feedback: “I love the Love Peace Harmony mantra! Some of my coworkers have come into my class and said ‘it feels good in here.’ One of my students who has autism said she ‘feels comfortable here’ and sometimes doesn’t want to go home at the end of the day.”
White Tara Mantra
This Tibetan Buddhist mantra is associated with compassion and protection.
Om Mani Padme Hum
This is one of the most widely used mantras in the world.
28. Cultivate Hygge
Embrace the Danish concept of hygge, which the dictionary defines as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”. Key elements of hygge–candles, twinkle lights, comfy socks, soft throws, warm sweaters, hot drinks–basically anything that makes you feel cozy.
I liked this book by Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge.
7 Ways to Use Technology to Care for Your Soul, Mind, & Body
There are many ways we can use the power of technology to help us with self care:
29. Stop Staring
I got this idea from a therapist who found that creating a similar set up to the way he sat with clients in his office worked well online and helped avoid Zoom fatigue. In his office he positions his chair diagonally at an angle from his patient.
We make eye contact with each other periodically during a conversation; we’re not usually sitting super close, face-to-face directly staring at one other. Turn your laptop (or other device) at an angle so you’re not facing your screen directly head on. I’ve been doing this with all my client sessions and find it helps mimic an in-person set up and is less tiring.
30. Use Your Devices To Remind You To Take Care
Set a reminder at the same time every day. It could be to take a deep breath, to have a 1-minute dance party, to make a cup or tea or get a class of water—use it for any of the tips shared in this post. And here’s a guide on ways to optimize your phone for productivity, focus, and longevity.
31. Free Weekly Virtual Group Meditation
The healing benefits of meditation are amplified when we meditate together, and I started a free, 15-minute meditation for grounding and balancing emotions (9pm EST on Thursdays). Don’t worry no one will see or hear you–you’ll only hear my voice guiding you and you can access by phone or the internet.
32. Create a Virtual Nature Backdrop
Turn on a crackling fireplace or play nature shows on your TV. For example, Amazon Prime has different nature scenes; sounds of waves, spring rain, and waterfalls; and beautiful forest bathing that play for 8 hours, and other streaming services have similar content. Here’s one on YouTube.
33. Use the Insight Timer for Daily Meditation
I love this free meditation app with hundreds of guided meditations, or simply use the timer. Join the 365 Days Together group and commit to a daily practice–even if it’s only for 1 minute a day, that counts. (They give you gold stars for meditating!) You can also listen to healing music; check out the Solfeggio frequencies for deep balancing of the brain.
34. Listen to Hypnosis Recordings
Uncommon Knowledge offers an extended list of hypnosis downloads for a range of issues. They have hundreds of recordings for releasing phobias and negative behaviors, amplifying peak performance, there’s even one for digital detox (basically if you can think of an issue, they likely have a recording for it). While recordings aren’t able to be as personalized as a one-on-one hypnosis session, it can be helpful between sessions, and to prolong the effects of your one-on-one sessions.
35. Schedule a Virtual Hypnosis or Distance Reiki/Tao Hands Session
Need additional support? Schedule a Virtual Hypnosis or Distance Reiki session. And even though the session is virtual, I promise it will be very different from a business meeting or class lecture via Zoom (for one, you probably don’t get to lie down with your eyes closed and relax deeply). Some clients prefer phone so there’s no need to use Zoom for the session–it’s up to you. Discover how virtual healing sessions can be more potent than in person.
There are so many ways to unplug and make working from home or learning remotely work better for you. Again these are my top 35 ways to balance your energy, reconnect with your soul, and disconnect from your devices. Mix and match and experiment with ones that you’re drawn to or intrigued by. You’ll create your own unique recipe for unplugging. (And just like you would get tired of eating the same meal over and over, you can revise and update as needed.)
Know someone who’s struggling with working or learning remotely? Share this post.
One of Master Usui’s Reiki precepts is “Just for today, do not worry.” Easier said than done, right?
But what is worry? If you think about it, worry doesn’t DO anything–if you fix what’s bothering you then you stop worrying when you start fixing it, and if you can’t fix it, then why worry? Anxiety relief is nearby.
Often when you worry your worst case scenario is totally off and your instincts are wrong, and if your worst nightmare happens it usually doesn’t feel as bad as when you worried about it–let’s call it the “wild imagination factor.”
Worry doesn’t prepare you for anything–watching TV and reading the news, then feeling bombarded by fear–it’s a distraction. It doesn’t allow you to be in touch with your own freedom, power, and true self.
Well, Maybe Worry A Little
Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Coyote Medicine and a physician who combines Native American healing with traditional medicine, suggests keeping a Worry Diary. Make a list of worries for a few minutes each day and ask yourself if what you’re worried about will matter in 10 days, 10 years, or 100 years from now. And then be done with it for the day.
His Cherokee grandmother couldn’t write, so instead of making a list of worries, she set aside a certain time each day to think of everything that worried her, and when she couldn’t think of any more worries, she said a prayer, and worrying was done for the day.
Our minds can be free of worry and fear—just for today.
Your Next Session
Can you feel anxious when you’re getting a Reiki, Tao Hands, or hypnosis session?
You can try, but the session should help jump start your body’s own self-healing response–assisting the body in releasing deep-seated tensions, aiding in detoxification, improving organ functioning, and balancing mental and emotional states.
Alleviating anxiety is one of the top issues my clients face. In addition to the Reiki, Tao Hands, or hypnosis session itself, I love showing them self-hypnosis strategies they can do on their own to eliminate anxiety. Ready to book a session (no matter where you live in the world) to see for yourself? I’ve been offering virtual sessions since I started my healing arts practice in 2008.
I was recently visiting with my grandfather. I love our talks: a retired professor of engineering, he always shares his perspective thoughtfully, and with humility and grace.
I asked him about how he deals with uncertainty and worry. At 95 years old, I figured he would have some words of wisdom to share. He told me this story:
Five years ago, he was sitting at the bar of one of his favorite local restaurants; a young man sat down next to him and seemed eager to chat. A bit bluntly, he started the conversation by stating that he was an atheist, and asking my grandfather how old he was.
My grandfather tends to take things in stride, so he simply told the young man his age.
The young man then asked: “Aren’t you afraid of dying?”
My grandfather replied: “No, I don’t worry about things I can’t control.”
Easier said than done, but I’ve seen him apply this in his daily life.
The system of Reiki offers precepts, or principles to live by. One of my favorite is:
Do not worry, fear is distraction.
It’s such a good reminder. After all, worry doesn’t do anything. If you can take action to help the situation, you’re doing something, you’re not just worrying about it. And if it’s out of your control, why worry about it, it’s distracting you from living your life.
I think this might be the secret to my grandfather’s longevity.
Receiving Reiki sessions, can help you learn to worry less, feeling more centered and balanced in your life.
What’s one worry you can let go of today?
I hope everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy is doing as well as possible under the circumstances. I thought about writing about ways to stay calm in a disaster, but who am I kidding, that’s way beyond my scope. If you don’t have the basic necessities like food, water, and shelter, it’s pretty hard to offer any words of wisdom.
So I’m scaling it back, and offering the Big Belly Technique–the easiest way I know of to let go of fear and help you relax in under 5 seconds.
The Big Belly Technique
When we’re frightened, anxious, or stressed, our breathing is much more shallow, residing in our upper chest. Want to change that in under 5 seconds? Here’s how the Big Belly Technique works (and yes, I love that name, and no, it won’t make you have a big belly permanently!):