Walsh College

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Nov 27 2013
Cut Back Your Digital Calories This Holiday Season
By: Duc Abrahamson Category: Alumni


By Guest Blogger:

Mark Ostach,  MSIS '09, COO of Digerati Inc, Founder of Digital Diet Guy

Mark Ostach

With the holiday season upon us, lots of delicious food and festive parties will be happening.  During this time of cheer, we often consume more calories in a weekend then we would in an entire week!  I’m not going to tell you why you need to exercise more this December.  And I’m sure not going to tell you to cut back on those holiday cookies. Instead, I want to talk about ways to trim your digital calories and start the New Year digitally fit.  

Did you know the average teenager consumes upwards of 12 hours of digital and multimedia stimulation a day!  Moreover, adults are connected to their smartphones and laptops upwards of 8 hours a day.  This shared devotion to our digital world is creating a society that is becoming digitally obese, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and an overall disconnectedness from our friends and family.  Here are three ways to decrease your digital calories this holiday season.


1)      Get an actual alarm clock.

A recent survey showed that over 82% of people use their smartphones as alarm clocks.  This prompts you to check-in with your digital world before you’ve taken one foot out of bed!  Let’s face it, the digital calories we consume from aimless Facebook updates and random Instagram photos aren’t doing our digital health much good.  These sources of screen time are equivalent to eating chocolate cupcakes and drinking beer first thing in the morning.  I suggest you ditch those empty calories and start your day off with a morning meditation or a brisk walk outside.  First you have to get a new alarm clock. Check out these modern alarm clocks here.

2)      Put your phone away at meals.

A research study indicated that 72% of employees eat their lunch at their desk.  As we continue to speed up our lunch breaks and stay connected to our screens, we are risking our body’s ability to rest and digest the food we are consuming.  When we watch YouTube videos while eating our meals, we tend to ignore the fact that we are eating.  By creating digital boundaries during meals, we will eat our food slower and allow our eyes and minds to take a break from our screens.  This can decrease headaches, aid in digestion and improve our breathing patterns -- all from leaving our phones behind while we dine.  A great way to accomplish this with your friends is through the Phone Stack Challenge.

3)      Tell stories with your eyes, not your I’s – iPhone, iPad, iTouch.

I’ve noticed lately that I struggle to tell a story without using a recent picture or video from my phone.  Essentially, my phone has become a prop to my conversations.  At times this can be impactful and showcase the actual experience which I had.  Unfortunately, it can also end up distracting people from digesting my story.  This common behavior violates the core elements of communication.  By removing my eyes from the listener and shifting them to my phone, I’ve lost the body communication required when delivering a good story.  Moreover, I may spend a few minutes searching my phone for that picture I took 4 months ago.  By the time I get back to the story, I may have forgotten what I was talking about. Nothing is more impactful than eye to eye contact and completing our thoughts when sharing your stories.  I challenge all of us to leave our phones in our pockets as we partake in friendly dialogue.


Let’s be clear: I’m not saying counting our “digital calories” is any easier than counting actual food calories.  However, I do believe that if we don’t pay attention to our digital health, we may find ourselves feeling fatigued, irritated and disconnected from our mind, body and relationships.  What’s one digital habit you need to change this holiday season?

For more ways to strengthen your digital health, visit digitaldietguy.com.

Be a guest blogger for the Walsh College alumni blog. The alumni blog is a platform for alumni to inform readers, share knowledge and give advice in their field of expertise. Contact Duc Abrahamson, Alumni & Student Relations Manager to submit a blog entry. Entries will be reviewed by the Walsh College Alumni Association Marketing & Communications Committee.


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