With more employees working remotely and more companies adopting flexible hours, the boundaries between work and play have all but disappeared. According to a 2021 McKinsey & Company survey on the future of remote work, 49 percent of employees reported feeling some level of burnout. This is especially true for women, who are even more burned out than they were a year ago. A recent Women in the Workplace report revealed that the gender gap in burnout is growing wider and that it has almost doubled in the past year. In 2021, 42 percent of women and 35 percent of men say they’re burned out
To help women struggling with work fatigue and burnout, Miraval Resorts & Spa partnered with Catherine Price, a science journalist, speaker, coach, consultant, and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life and Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food, to reassess our relationships with technology and redefine our goals and boundaries as we transition back to the office or to flexible hours.
Price, who has a new book, The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again, due out in December, worked with Miraval to create a weekly Digital Mindfulness series to share tips on how to be mindful of device use in our everyday lives. Here, she shares ideas for creating boundaries around technology.
- Set a bedtime for your phone. After a long day in the office, take time at the end of the day to relax and unwind. You should put your phone away 30 to 60 minutes before you go to sleep to recover from screen light and content stimulation. At Miraval, guests are encouraged to use phone sleeping bags to make this a mini ritual each evening.
- Set boundaries. Pre-identify specific times you will not use technology. For example, you can make it a point to not answer any emails after 7 pm or not use your phone during a lunch break. Make a rule that there are no phones during meals. To alleviate your own anxiety, set up an email signature or autoresponder that explains that you are stepping away, and provide an emergency contact during your absence.
- Create a speed bump. This is a mindfulness exercise designed to help you slow down and make a conscious decision about what you want to do next. Put a rubber band or hair tie around your phone so when you reach for it and encounter the band, you are reminded to ask yourself whether checking your phone is really want you want or need to be doing in that moment. The goal is simply to make sure that when you spend time on your phone, it’s the result of a conscious choice.
- Go old school. Instead of relying on your phone for taking down notes and recording to-do lists, keep a small notebook and pen nearby, and use it throughout the day and in meetings. At Miraval, journaling is encouraged, as it can be a great place to make a quick list if needed.
- Look Up. When you’re out in public, try to look up whenever possible, rather than staring down at your devices. It is better for your posture, allows you to experience your life more vividly, and helps you connect better with the people around you.