Do you remember a kids’ TV show called ‘Why Don’t You?’. It encouraged children to get up off the sofa, spend time away from the TV and do something real with friends and family instead. There’s a lesson there for adults, too.
Always On and Always On Call
Imagine you’re a baker on holiday with your family. In the middle of a meal your boss calls and asks you to make him a couple of loaves. It would be ridiculous, right? But for many people, getting after-work texts and emails from their employer is a regular occurrence. Even when they’re at home, they’re at work.
Yet research suggests that psychological detachment from work – getting your head out of the office – is important for one’s health and wellbeing. The French understand this; labour laws there now say that employees mustn’t come under pressure to respond to work messages outside of hours. Shouldn’t the UK follow suit?
The Blue Screen Blues
According to a recent survey, nearly 60% of people in Britain are sleep deprived and up to 91% of us are exposed to disruptive blue light. And where does this light come from? Smartphones. While we’re using them in bed to browse the Web and watch videos, they’re affecting our melatonin, a hormone that helps us get to sleep.
While feeling a bit dozy in the office might not seem too bad, chronic lack of sleep is associated with depressed moods, memory and concentration problems, as well as gaining weight, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer. Make a start on sleeping well – turn off those phones and tablets at least two hours before you go to bed.
Killer Sofas & Static Families
These days it’s possible to do almost everything from the comfort of your sofa, whether that’s keep in touch with friends on Facebook or play football online. Unfortunately this means we’re more sedentary than ever before.
This is especially bad news for children: studies show that only 51% of kids aged seven to eight are getting the recommended hour of physical activity each day. In turn, children today are weaker and less able to do physical tasks than previous generations.
It’s great that we’re able to stay connected with people. It’s fantastic that we can work remotely and have immediate access to the Web in the palms of our hands. But perhaps we’ve fallen in love with technology a bit too much.
So don’t answer work emails at home. Take a break from your nightly Game of Thrones session in bed. Drag your kids off virtual football pitches and take them to a real-world park. Let’s step away from our smartphones and step into the light.