All of us are surrounded by digital devices, and many of us spend a good portion of our day using the internet on our smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Yet our digital wellbeing isn’t something we often think about. Digital technology can impact our health and relationships and shape the society we live in.
Digital mindfulness is about taking charge of your wellbeing and balancing your use of the many devices in your life. Noticing and understanding how you spend your time online and the feelings this produces is an essential part of building a positive digital identity.
For me, I can become sad, depressed, and often times very angry reading and/or viewing images for hours. It shows in my responses to various posts.
I don’t know the town, the state, who the speaker is, what police department or what the crime was. But the dialog is worth listening to.
We often do so much for others that taking care of ourselves individually goes untouched. I’m not talking about getting our nails and hair done – those are things we do to keep our masks shining. The concept of self-care is deceptively simple: making time to take of yourself for the benefit of your overall mental and physical well-being. But if you’re human who exists in this world – the real world, where burnout, depression, anxiety, pain, illness, trauma, oppression, shitty families, violence, tragedy, breakups, divorces, death, unemployment, addiction, and good old fashioned bad times exist – you know that “taking care of yourself” is never a simple thing.
There is no denying that alcohol and other mind-altering substances give the user some type of pleasant sensation. Even if the “high” does not constitute a state of euphoria, it is at least a respite from unpleasant sensations of anxiety, tension, and depression, and awkward self-consciousness. The use of such chemicals is nothing other than the pursuit of contentment.
There’s a frustrating misconception that anything that is not 100 percent selfless is selfish. But taking care of ourselves and caring for and considering others are not mutually exclusive. In fact, taking care of our own health and well-being empowers us to be better friends, partners, coworkers, bosses, family members, and humans. Without doing the essential work of showing up for ourselves, how can we expect to be in any shape to show up for others? As the old saying goes, you have to put your oxygen mask on before you can assist anyone else.
One of the most common criticisms of self-care is that it’s unfair and unrealistic to put all this pressure on yourself to be in charge of your own well-being. And that’s absolutely true—there’s nothing more annoying than the old adage that you can “choose happiness,” as if you’ve always had the power to zap away your misery and have just been squandering it. None of us has the capacity to soothe all that ails us on our own. Self-care is as much about opening yourself up to the many ways others can help you as it is about taking care of yourself. It’s educating yourself on resources, giving yourself permission to access professional help without shame, and asking for what you need.
We have options we can attend self-care groups or twelve-step groups, we can try therapy and we can stay stuck. One thing I’ve found out is that I must stay centered with God in my life before I attempt any outside intervention.
1, Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:26-30 MSG
2. When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, GOD! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
Picture it: You’re the body’s military commander, and you’re reviewing your protective forces. Immune system? Check. Stomach acid? Check. Beneficial gut bacteria? Check.
Don’t forget to include your skin: it’s one of the most important bastions in the fight against disease, keeping harmful organisms and substances from getting inside the body.
Unfortunately, our skin weakens as we get older, and it requires more effort to keep it healthy. That job can take a back seat if you’re busy tending to other health issues or you’re unsure of how to care for your skin.
With infection on everyone’s mind, it’s time to refocus attention on the skin and strengthen your defenses.
The skin consists of three layers:
- The deepest layer (subcutaneous tissue) is made of connective tissue and fat, and provides insulation, energy storage, and shock absorption.
- The next layer (the dermis) contains collagen and elastin, blood vessels, nerves, sweat and oil glands, and hair follicles.
- The topmost layer (the epidermis) is built to be a barrier. It consists of five different layers of its own, each with cells constantly rising to the top part of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum — the skin we can see and a major part of the body’s defenses.
Within the stratum corneum are up to 30 layers of flat, dead, protein-filled cells that mix with fat and water to create a sort of brick-and-mortar matrix. It keeps moisture in the body and protects us from toxins, ultraviolet rays, and bacteria.
A number of factors can weaken the stratum corneum. One is aging. “The skin gets thinner, and the cells get flatter. Older skin has a lower water content. Fat diminishes and shifts, so everything is less vigorous and strong, particularly in areas of sun exposure,” explains Dr. Kenneth Arndt, a dermatologist and a prior medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Skin Care and Repair.
Dr. Arndt says heavy use of certain medications — such as topical, oral, or inhaled steroids — can also thin the skin. Inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), can reduce the amount of fat in the stratum corneum, weakening the skin barrier.
And frequent hand washing or exposure to cleaning solvents or alcohol found in hand sanitizers can dry out and damage the skin surface. “The skin gets dry because soap can wash away fats in the skin,” Dr. Arndt says.
In other words, what we need to do to protect our health in the COVID-19 pandemic simultaneously threatens the health of the skin of our hands.
Dry, thin skin is more permeable than plump, healthy skin, and it can crack or tear easily, like tissue paper. “Any time the skin splits or is excessively dry, that’s an avenue for an organism to get in and cause problems,” Dr. Arndt notes. He says the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is not contracted through the skin. But other types of bacteria can make us sick if they breach the skin barrier, such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes.
These bugs may cause a type of infection called cellulitis in the skin tissue. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, causing fever or swelling, and increasing the risk for sepsis and hospitalization. Fighting back requires powerful antibiotics.
Rally the troops
Before you find yourself in the midst of battle, try fortifying your defenses. Dr. Arndt says the best way is to lock in moisture. “When you add moisture, the skin gets fatter and more flexible,” he says. “The trick is keeping it that way.”
He recommends moisturizing your skin right after you’ve bathed or washed your hands (which adds water to your skin). “Petroleum jelly is excellent at sealing in water, but it’s aesthetically not pleasing,” Dr. Arndt points out. “Creams contain water, oil, and emulsifiers to keep the ingredients mixed together, for ease of use. But things that aren’t greasy don’t work as well or for as long.”
Show some love – cashapp – you will be blessed