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Uppkopplad och avkopplad
Åsa Engström, Mari Runardotter and Päivi Juuso, researchers at Luleå University of Technology. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Connected and relaxed - a challenge for many

Published: 28 November 2019

We are awash with information and the requirement to always be available can be a difficult balancing act, both in private and in working life. How do you do to unwind and relax? For many, nature serves as an important method of relaxation. Mari Runardotter, Päivi Juuso and Åsa Engström, all researchers at Luleå University of Technology, held on November 20 in an appreciated discussion about one of our greatest challenges for well-being today.

There are many benefits of digitization. Many social functions and even the home are controlled by digital solutions and we have made the most of efficiency. We can now perform tasks that we previously had to perform at a particular location. Digitization has helped people to stay in sparsely populated areas and also attract more people to move outside the cities. Social media has made it easier to stay in touch with family and friends.

But as with everything else, there is a back side. Many people find it more difficult to distinguish between working time and private life, there is a greater demand to show a "perfect" life on social media and some feel lonelier than ever. Sleep difficulties have increased. About one million people live in digital exclusion and are no longer able to do certain things themselves.

In the midst of this informational stress, many are looking for animals and nature for increased well-being. Some feel good about a weekend in the cottage, others activate themselves with the help of their pets or through a trip in the mountains. It has even become a tourist attraction to go to places without connection. Research shows that those who spend time in nature have a greater sense of good health. The rhythm of nature can support our sense of health and we get a healthy relationship with light and darkness instead of just running in the digital world.

How, then, should we have a more positive relationship with our connected existence? Mari, Päivi and Åsa were able to conclude that everyone has a responsibility. It is not up to a person, organization or company to solve it. Employers, of course, have a responsibility and need to clearly communicate what is required of employees, but you as a private person also need to set limits for when you should be available. We can become our own head protection officer.

This year's Christmas gift - the phone box - may not be so stupid anyway? Let your guests put their phone in a box when they come to your home, and then hang out without distraction.