Digital wellness tips for online workers

October 10, 2023
Digital wellness tips for online workers

What is digital wellness?

Digital wellness, often called digital wellbeing or digital health, is all about having a healthy relationship with technology. Being an online worker, like a virtual assistant, has its perks, such as working from home, avoiding long commutes, and setting your own hours. But it also brings its own set of challenges. As an online worker, you spend a lot of time in front of screens and using different tech tools. It's crucial to take care of your digital wellness. As we celebrate World Mental Health Day today, we wanted to share some helpful tips for virtual assistants and online workers to stay healthy and happy while working online.

Here are some digital wellness tips for online workers

Get to know how you use your tech devices.

To boost your digital wellbeing, it's essential to have a clear picture of your tech habits. Start by examining when and how you use your various devices.

Many smartphones offer insights into your usage patterns. Check out your daily screen time, the number of notifications you receive, and how frequently you unlock your phone. This serves as an excellent starting point. You can also review the time spent on different apps to identify which ones are consuming most of your time.

Make simple adjustments to your screen.

Simple tweaks to your screen settings can make a big difference in your digital wellness journey. Here are some effective ways to achieve this:

Streamline your home screen

Eliminate distracting apps from your Home screen to maintain better focus on your tasks.

Organize your apps

Reduce clutter by minimizing the number of app pages and create a folder for apps that tend to distract you.

Try grayscale mode

If you are easily distracted, switching your screen to grayscale reduces the allure of colorful apps, helping you concentrate better.

Ditch unnecessary notifications

Remove those pesky red dots or notification indicators from apps that you don’t intend to check to curb the temptation of checking those apps when it's not your intention.

Close unused tabs and apps 

When working online, it's easy to bounce between documents, apps, and folders, leaving a trail of open tabs and apps. This can lead to a cluttered and overwhelming workspace. To regain clarity and efficiency, simply close any apps and tabs that you're not actively using. It's a quick way to declutter your digital workspace.

Create digital boundaries for yourself

While digital platforms help us perform a lot of tasks, they can also be addictive. To maintain digital wellness, it is important to make sure that you create digital boundaries for yourself . Here are some ways that you can establish digital boundaries:

Set limits on certain apps and websites 

Setting limits on certain apps and websites can prevent endless scrolling. You can even make some apps and software inaccessible, such as signing out of Twitter on your computer.

Disconnect fully during downtime

Ensure complete disconnection during your breaks. Go for a walk and leave your phone at your desk.

Take control with Ad blockers

Installing an ad blocker is a proactive way to regain control over your online experience.

Optimize notification preferences

Make use of notification preferences like 'mute' or 'snooze' to better manage when you receive notifications.

Declutter your inbox

Unsubscribe from email lists that no longer align with your interests and goals.

Choose user-friendly digital tools

Select digital tools that are user-friendly and enhance your overall productivity.

Set availability hours

Establish specific availability hours to let your clients know when you'll be online and accessible.

Use daily timers

Implement daily timers for specific apps or websites. Once the timer expires, pause the app or website for the remainder of the day.

Disable autoplay

Turn off autoplay on video platforms like YouTube to resist the temptation of continuous viewing. This enables you to intentionally choose what you watch and stop when you're ready.

Leverage out-of-office and auto-reply features

Utilize the out-of-office and auto-reply features on email and communication platforms to inform others of your availability and response times.

Create device-free zones

Designate specific times or areas in your home as device-free zones. Having a central place to keep your phone can reduce the urge to constantly check emails and notifications.

Automate repetitive tasks

When you find yourself repeatedly tackling tasks that consume your energy and time, it's wise to explore automation solutions. Here are some examples of how automation can enhance your digital wellness:

Streamline time tracking

Automate tasks such as timekeeping, making it more intentional for your digital wellbeing. Tools like Toggl Track can automatically record your work hours, allowing you to effortlessly generate reports for your clients without manual data entry.

Client frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Create an FAQ document for your clients to address common queries. This eliminates the need for manual responses, as you can easily share the FAQ document for quick reference.

Streamline client onboarding

Optimize your client onboarding process with automation tools like Dubsado or HoneyBook. These tools can handle tasks such as sending contracts, proposals, and payment links, making the process more efficient and stress-free.

Manage email communications

Leverage the out-of-office and auto-reply features in your email and communication platforms to keep others informed of your availability and response times. This simple automation step can help set clear expectations.

These are just some examples. A lot of tools nowadays allow you to automate tasks. If you can’t find native automations within the tools that you use, explore tools like Zapier.

Practice mindful social media usage

Whether you're a social media manager or simply use social platforms for personal reasons, adopting these digital wellness strategies can help:

Curate your feed

Selectively follow accounts that share positive and valuable content while unfollowing or blocking those who consistently post negativity. Your social media experience should uplift and inform you.

Evaluate group connections

Review your memberships in social media groups and associations. Ensure they have a predominantly positive impact on your life. Don't hesitate to disengage from groups that foster negativity or stress.

Set time limits

Recognize that most social media platforms are designed to captivate your attention. To maintain control and avoid endless scrolling, set specific time limits for your social media usage.

Limit notifications

Reduce the distraction factor by customizing your notification settings. Only receive alerts for the most important updates.

Schedule posts

If you use social media for work, consider scheduling posts in advance using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. This minimizes real-time engagement and helps you maintain focus during designated hours.

Remember, your relationship with social media should enhance your life, not dominate it. By being intentional and implementing these tips, you can strike a healthier balance between the digital world and your well-being.

Take breaks

Incorporating breaks into your daily routine is a powerful way to boost your digital wellness. Here's how you can make the most of these rejuvenating pauses:

Scheduled breathers

Take custom breaks whenever you feel the need, temporarily stepping away from your current task. Intentionally establish boundaries between work and downtime. Concerns about reduced productivity can be eased by keeping these breaks short, typically around 5 minutes per hour. You'll find that these brief respites can actually enhance your overall productivity.

Lunchtime breaks

During lunch, make it a habit to step away from your computer. Avoid eating at your desk, and consciously create space for 'offline' time. This separation from screens during meals promotes a healthier work-life balance.

Evening tech detox

Prioritize creating distance from your devices at night to foster relaxation and improve sleep quality. Utilize features like 'Bedtime Mode' or 'Sleep Mode' to quiet unnecessary activities during nighttime hours. Grayscale functionality transforms your screen to black and white, while 'Do Not Disturb' silences notifications, ensuring you enjoy a restful night's sleep.

Set boundaries for work notifications

Give yourself the freedom to step away from work-related notifications when needed. Creating this separation allows you to recharge, even while away from the office.

Remember, taking breaks isn't just about resting your body; it's about recharging your mind and maintaining a balanced digital lifestyle.

Protect your eyes from strain

Prolonged screen time can lead to eye strain, but you can take steps to prevent it. Here are some effective ways to safeguard your eyes:

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

Adhere to the 20-20-20 rule, which suggests that for every 20 minutes spent staring at a screen, take a 20-second break to focus on an object at least 20 feet away. This simple practice reminds you to take regular breaks, reducing the risk of eye strain from prolonged screen use.

Consider computer glasses

Invest in computer glasses, which are specially designed to reduce the strain caused by prolonged screen exposure. They can help alleviate discomfort and fatigue. Blue light blocking glasses, in particular, have specialized coatings that filter out a portion of the harmful blue light emitted by screens. Blue light can contribute to eye strain and disrupt sleep patterns. Blue light blocking glasses can help reduce these effects.

Natural eye exercises

If you have access to a window, occasionally shift your focus to a distant object, like a tree or the clouds. This natural exercise can help relax your eyes, particularly if your work involves constant screen usage.

Adjust screen brightness

Reduce the brightness of your screen to a comfortable level. Excessive brightness can strain your eyes, so find the right balance that suits your environment.

Choose eye-friendly fonts

Opt for fonts that are easy on the eyes. Sans-serif fonts like Arial or Calibri are generally more legible on screens and less likely to cause eye strain.

Light and dark mode usage

Use light mode and dark mode settings appropriately on your screens. Dark mode can be less straining on the eyes, especially in low-light conditions, while light mode may be more suitable in well-lit environments.

By incorporating these practices into your digital routine, you can effectively reduce the risk of eye strain and promote healthier screen usage habits.

Be kind to your posture.

It is important to observe proper posture that will keep you healthy and prevent future posture problems. Here are some examples of ways of maintaining proper posture as you work remotely:

Ergonomic workspace setup

Create a workspace that is ergonomically designed to support your body. Ensure your chair, desk, and computer setup promote good posture. Here's how:

  • Comfortable chair. Invest in a comfortable, supportive chair that provides proper lumbar support. Adjustable chairs allow you to customize your seating position.
  • Standing desk. Consider a standing desk to vary your posture throughout the day. Alternating between sitting and standing can help reduce the strain on your back and neck.
  • Monitor position. Position your computer monitor at eye level, about an arm's length away from you. This helps maintain a neutral neck and spine position, reducing strain on your neck.
  • Ergonomic accessories. Consider using ergonomic accessories such as a keyboard tray, monitor riser, or footrest to further enhance your workspace's ergonomic features.
  • Proper keyboard and mouse placement. Ensure that your keyboard and mouse are at a comfortable height and distance from your body. Wrists should be straight and relaxed while typing and using the mouse.

Regular breaks and stretching 

Avoid sitting for extended periods without breaks. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up, stretch, and move around every 30 minutes to an hour. Simple stretches like neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and wrist rotations can alleviate tension and prevent discomfort.

Maintain good posture

 Be mindful of your posture throughout the day. Sit or stand with your back straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. Avoid slouching or hunching over your desk.

By implementing these posture-friendly practices, you can reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal issues, enhance your comfort, and promote overall digital wellness.

Safeguard your online security

Protecting your digital well-being also involves ensuring your online safety. Working online can expose you to a lot of online and cybersecurity threats. Here are some of the ways that you can safeguard your online safety to maintain digital wellness:

Regular password updates

Change your passwords at least once every 90 days for your online accounts. Utilize strong, unique passwords that combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Consider using a reputable password manager, like LastPass, to securely store and generate complex passwords.

End-to-end encryption

When sharing confidential information, opt for apps and software that employ end-to-end encryption. This ensures that only the intended recipient can access and decipher the shared data, enhancing your privacy and security.

Permission settings 

Be diligent about permission settings when sharing information online. Verify that your data is set to the appropriate level of privacy, especially when sharing on social media or cloud storage platforms. Avoid oversharing personal details with a public view.

Access revocation

Once the purpose of granting access to shared information has been fulfilled, revoke access promptly. Regularly review the permissions you've granted to apps, websites, and individuals, and remove any unnecessary or outdated access.

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Implement 2FA wherever possible. This additional layer of security requires you to provide a second verification step, such as a code sent to your mobile device, to access your accounts.

Regular software updates 

Keep your operating system, apps, and security software up to date. Updates often include patches for known vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of security breaches.

Beware of phishing

Be cautious of unsolicited emails, messages, or links from unknown sources. Phishing attempts can trick you into revealing sensitive information. Verify the legitimacy of requests before responding.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) 

Consider using a VPN to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data when browsing on public Wi-Fi networks.

Secure backups

Regularly backup your important data to a secure, offline location. This ensures that you can recover your information in case of data loss or cyberattacks.

By adopting these practices, you can fortify your online security, reduce the risk of data breaches, and promote your overall digital wellness.

How Runnovate professional community members maintain digital wellness

We asked Runnovate professional community members how they maintain digital wellness while working virtually. Here are some of the responses:


One mental health tip I find helpful is taking health breaks in between work and I become intentional about it.


I try working outside the house/ on the balcony as frequently as I can. I also take a 30 mins walk in the evening to connect with the universe.


I try to catch up on social media with what's happening. On weekends, I also try to engage in social activities and do regular walks with few loved ones.


I like watching a show, taking a walk and catching up with the socials.


For me when I am overwhelmed and experience burnout, grabbing a cup of coffee and watching a documentary is therapeutic.

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