This week most of us are back into the daily grind and the energy of our new year resolutions are beginning to fade. It's that time of the year when the grey, cold weather and the thought of months ahead of the same can sap your energy. It's also that time when we especially need our sleep and energy to face the demands that lie ahead. But how did you sleep last night? This morning I received an email from a client- she'd slept well throughout the holidays but last night was tossing and turning all night thinking about work. I didn't ask but I did wonder if she'd taken a sneaky peak at her emails before getting into bed.
At the end of last year, research from Direct Line showed that technology is the one thing we can't do without. Last week the Allen Carr Addiction clinics also published disturbing data regarding the technology behaviour of teenagers and claiming that they are even more in 'the grip of technology' and that a generation of 'tech addicts' is being created.
I recently did some work in a local secondary school with almost 500 teenagers aged 13-15 years, where smart-phone ownership is almost ubiquitous at 97%. My data also suggests there is cause for concern as a number of them complained of sleep problems and feeling exhausted. Of those who complained almost 80% were on their electronic devices at night in bed. Furthermore, bad habits are already being formed; with more than 30% admitted they would feel anxious if separated from their smart phone for a day.
What do we do?
As an adult and a parent I think it's time we start to model the behaviours that we want our young generation to follow. I'm just as guilty of obsessively checking my devices from time to time but one of my resolutions - and one that we have agreed on as a family - is to bring more consciousness into our use of technology.
Technology is here to stay and it's only going to get more speedy, seductive and accessible. We need to stop applying old skills to how we respond to it and to start thinking more deeply about how we create conscious connection rather than mindless, constant connection.
As a family we're going to try the following strategies as part of our Conscious Connection New Year's resolution:
1. Rituals - no technology at meal times
2. Engagement - if we decide to watch a family movie there will be no dual (or triple!) screening. We watch, we engage.
3. Sacred Spaces - areas of the home where technology is banned at least most of the time and especially in the bedroom.
4. Nature - nature provides the perfect grounding antidote to the wiredness created by technology. Spending more time in nature and getting back into the body has even been shown to improve sleep quality.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, we have to 'be the change'; if we want to create a safer and healthier future for next generation, we need to think about our behaviours. When better to do so than at the beginning of the year when reflecting on our resolutions for 2015?