If you’re feeling a little extra stressed lately then you won’t be alone. With the change, uncertainty and confusion of recent times, it’s perfectly understandable that stress levels and mental health concerns are on the rise. Though things may feel out of control in the world right now, there are plenty of ways to take back control at home. Whilst checking the news too often won’t help to quell worries, technology can still be your friend. Here are a few ways that tech could help you to unwind, maintain control and create a stress-free environment at home.
Enjoy a mindful moment
The world has suddenly been faced with a whole lot of new challenges. Whether you’re struggling to work from home, finding it tough to balance childcare or just feel bombarded by constant news updates, there are many reasons that your mind might be racing. Taking a moment to breathe, ground yourself and focus on the moment can help to reduce panic and stress. Mediation and mindfulness can help to clear the mental clutter, offering a moment of tranquillity to regroup and reprioritise your thoughts.
Luckily there’s no need to venture further than your front door to unlock the healing powers of meditation. There are plenty of helpful apps available, which offer guided meditations, soothing mantras or gentle soundtracks. You could take a moment for yourself with headphones-in or connect to a smart speaker to amplify the effects and share the calm with your household. A few examples of apps include Headspace, Calm and Portal, many of which will offer free trials, or free material to get started with.
If meditation isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for extra support, there are other apps that can help you keep your mental health in-check straight from your smartphone or tablet. From sleep schedule apps, to daily journaling and even e-therapy, there’s a world of resources right at your fingertips.
Keep fit, keep track
Fitness trackers, watches and other forms of wearable tech can encourage physical activity and motivate movement. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your walk, cycle or quick trip to the supermarket with handy step counters, heart monitors and timers. Fitness trackers include a range of features that can help keep you healthy. It’s no secret that exercise is good for our minds as well as our bodies, with physical activity allowing us ‘time out’ to think, as well as releasing endorphins which combat stress.
Popular brands include Fitbit, Garmin and Apple, but there are a wide range of makes and models available, with equipment to suit all fitness levels and needs.
Escape for a night
If you enjoy getting lost in the fantasy of the big screen, you can bring the cinema home. Though you won’t be paying over the odds for your popcorn and drinks, you can recreate the parts that matter. What better time is there to invest in the home cinema set-up you’ve been dreaming of?
A regular movie night could help you to unwind and relax, as well as letting you recreate a piece of normality on a Friday night. From soundbars, to widescreen TVs and even 4K UHD projectors, there are plenty of ways to upgrade your cinematic experience, whatever your budget. Even if it’s just a bag of popcorn. Thanks to tech, you can also turn your movie night into a social event. If you’re streaming through Netflix, then try out ‘Party’ mode which lets you sync playback on movies and TV with your friends, wherever they are.
With all the distractions of modern life, keeping in touch with friends and family can be a challenge at the best of times. It’s even harder when you can’t pop in to check up on your nearest and dearest. Keeping connected can help to boost your mood and keep spirits high, even from afar. Though they can’t replace true face-to-face contact, video calls can help. You can host and join video calls through mobile devices, tablets, laptops or Desktop PCs.
There are even specialty technologies like PORTAL from Facebook, which will take your video call to the next level, using smart technology to adjust with the action and connect with messaging services.
Spa where you are
For many of us, our go-to reaction to stress will be to picture ourselves on a tranquil trip to the spa. Under normal circumstances, it’s as simple as booking a weekend away to indulge in a bit of ‘me time’. Whilst that sadly isn’t possible right now, you might just find some home tech to tide you over. From luxury foot spas to electronic massagers and automatic aromatherapy diffusers, you can add a touch of relaxation to your everyday. Complete the experience with a relaxing spa playlist playing from your smart speaker.
Drown out the noise
Working from home, or even trying to gather your thoughts in a busy household can be tough, and with the whole family home, it can be even harder to focus. For those meetings that can’t be interrupted, the bursts of concentration that simply have to happen, or even the 5 minutes of peace you need to feel human, you could use tech to drown out the external noise.
Listening to music, podcasts or relaxing soundtracks whilst you work, or study can help to focus your attention and boost your productivity. According to a 2019 study, one third of survey respondents felt that they were able to work harder when listening to music. Two thirds of those that worked from home said that they would struggle to concentrate without background music. If that sounds like you, or if you think it’s worth a go to boost your home-office productivity, then give yourself a head start with some noise cancelling headphones.
Outside of work hours, they’re also a perfect way to immerse yourself in a gripping audiobook, or really sink into the relaxation of a guided meditation. On the other hand, if it’s calming silence you’re in need of, a new set of earphones could be the perfect gift for those in your household whose lockdown hobbies are causing a noisy nuisance.
Even if you’re already fully equipped with the right tech to keep you going, gifting technology at this time could make all the difference for those without. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your parents aren’t quite as clued up on joining video calls from their phones, or maybe you’ve got relatives who’ve already exhausted their bookshelves and can’t make it to the library. The gift of technology could mean expanding somebodies’ horizons, keeping them busy and making sure they can stay connected. Surprising a loved one with an eReader, or audio-book subscription could uplift their mood and keep their minds active. Sharing the connectivity with a device for video calling could keep them from feeling lonely. At a time like this, the gift of technology could mean a lot to those in isolation.
Mental health matters, and now more than ever it’s important that we all look after ourselves and each other mentally. There are plenty of ways to maintain a positive mindset and environment. Whilst technology is by no means the be all and end all of self-care, it could mean all the difference for some. If you’re in a position to upgrade your environment, or give the gift of connectivity to somebody else, then it could be a small gesture that goes a long way.
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