The Benefits of Reading
According to a study by the University of Sussex, reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Researchers found that reading works better and faster than other methods like going for a walk, listening to music, or having a cup of tea. Scientists believe that the brain is forced to concentrate on reading and processing, and the distraction simultaneously eases muscle tension. Reading can be a welcome and healthy escape from the stresses of everyday life. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed but don’t have a lot of time, try grabbing a book and reading a few pages.
Resource: Mindlab International, University of Sussex 2009.
Social Media in Moderation
How much time do you think you’re spending on social media? Recent statistics may surprise you. The average time spent on social media every day is just under two and a half hours for all users between the ages of 16 and 64 across the world. If the average user continued this trend—not considering that the time spent on social media increases year after year—then they would spend 5.7 years of their life on social media!
There are certainly benefits to being connected. It’s easier than ever before to stay in touch with friends and family around the globe. You can build and sustain relationships anywhere that wouldn’t have been possible just a few short decades ago. You can leverage social media to network and find jobs.
Of course, it’s always best to keep all things in moderation. If you feel hooked, less productive than usual, or maybe you just want to take a social media breather, there are plenty of resources to help.
Try monitoring how much time you’re spending on social media. Apps like Moment and Offtime are free and can help you set and stick to boundaries by notifying you once you’ve exceeded your chosen time limit. Some platforms such as Instagram have implemented internal features to track and share how much time you’re spending, browsing, and swiping.
Resources: Data Reportal Digital 2020 Report; Backlinko Social Network Usage and Growth Statistics 2021.
Let’s Grab Lunch
Millions of people are still adjusting to working and learning from home, and for many, this change is permanent. While there have been some upsides, like reduced commute times, a recent study found that Americans spend over 45 extra minutes a day working than before the pandemic. Even before working from home was the “norm,” nearly two-thirds of Americans either worked through lunch at their desk or skipped their lunch break altogether. Practicing mindfulness around real breaks throughout the day can boost your mood, productivity, and overall happiness—starting with lunch!
Resources: National Bureau of Economic Research, Collaborating During Coronavirus: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Nature of Work, 2020. The New York Times Magazine Work Issue, 2016.