A Balancing Act: When do you know it's too much? Some reflective thoughts

  • Jun 30, 2023

"In all things, moderation, and in moderation, perfection." - Terry Tempest Williams

In today's fast-paced world, it's crucial to recognize the delicate balance between use, abuse and overuse. Whether it's substance abuse, overworking, or excessive reliance on technology, overuse can profoundly affect our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By understanding when something has become too much, we can take steps to reclaim balance, nurture ourselves, and lead more fulfilling lives.

Recognizing the Signs of Overuse:

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

                                                                                                  -William S. Burroughs

Overuse often manifests in physical and emotional exhaustion. Persistent tiredness, irritability, and a lack of enthusiasm indicate that we have pushed ourselves beyond our limits. Recognizing the signs of exhaustion allows us to prioritize self-care and recharge when needed, preventing burnout and promoting overall well-being.

In our competitive world, excessive usage frequently presents itself as the goal of achievement. The glorification of long working hours and unrelenting commitment to one's job can lead to overwork and burnout in those susceptible. Although having a strong work ethic is admirable, having an unhealthy obsession with achieving achievement may be detrimental to both one's physical and mental health. The symptoms of burnout include persistent weariness, a drop in productivity, and an overall feeling of emotional depletion. It has an effect not just on the persons involved but also on their interpersonal connections, their performance at work, and their general quality of life. Establishing boundaries, making self-care a top priority, and cultivating a good work-life balance is critical for preventing burnout and sustaining a level of achievement that is sustainable.

Balance is not something you find; it's something you create.

 - Jana Kingsford

Diminished productivity and a decline in the quality of our work can be clear signs of overuse. When we stretch ourselves too thin or neglect self-care, our efficiency and effectiveness suffer. Overuse can also take a toll on our relationships and social connections. Neglecting loved ones, prioritizing personal desires over their needs, and feeling isolated are indicators that we have become too consumed. Finding a balance between personal pursuits and maintaining strong relationships is vital for our happiness and sense of belonging.

Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live 

- Jim Rohn

Neglecting self-care and well-being is another consequence of overuse. Sacrificing meals, exercise, and sleep to accommodate our overindulgences can severely affect our physical and mental health. Prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, and practicing mindfulness is essential to nurturing ourselves and maintaining a healthy balance.

Reflection 1: While I know all of this and talk about it to every one of my coachies, I must work towards getting this done for myself as well. Practice what you preach, as cliche as it may sound. 

"Disconnect to reconnect. Take a break from the digital world and discover the beauty of the present moment." - Unknown

The digital age has revolutionized the way we live, work, and connect with others. However, excessive reliance on technology can lead to its own set of problems. Overusing digital devices, social media, and online platforms can contribute to various negative effects, including decreased productivity, sleep disturbances, mental health issues, and diminished social interaction. The constant need for validation through likes, comments, and followers can foster a sense of insecurity and self-doubt. It is crucial to set boundaries, practice digital detoxes, and engage in activities that promote real-world connections to prevent technology from taking over our lives.

Statistics reveal a staggering increase in digital engagement among Indian teenagers. According to a 2020 survey by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), 24% of Indian teenagers spend more than six hours per day using digital devices, with the majority using social media sites and playing online games. Additionally, a study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) indicates that 60% of teenagers in India use smartphones for at least five hours a day, while 37% experience digital addiction symptoms.

Teens with internet addiction have mental health difficulties. Cyberbullying, online harassment, and unrealistic social media standards can cause anxiety, sadness, and low self-esteem. IPS research found that 65% of teens who abuse digital gadgets have anxiety, and 35% have depression. Comparison to meticulously managed online identities may sometimes cause inadequacy and alienation. Teens' physical activity decreases as they spend more time online. Only 33% of Indian teens get enough exercise, according to an ICMR survey. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other lifestyle-related health issues can result from inactivity and sedentary behaviour.

Screen usage might also hurt schoolwork. Online distractions, multitasking, and alerts can impair learning. According to NIEPA, excessive screen usage significantly impacts cognitive development, resulting in lower attention spans and knowledge retention in kids.

Reflection 2: It hurts to be told by your teenage son ..” Mom, you don’t understand me; these days, everyone is using technology, you are the only one creating such a hullabaloo out of it.” But ironically, it pays to be a tough nut !! Keep going, Vasundhara is what I tell myself every day. 

The greatest fear every parent should have is that your child is part of the statistics mentioned above. Parenting is not about winning popularity matches. 

"Finding balance is not about dividing your time equally among all the things you love. It's about giving each thing the time it deserves at the right moment." - Unknown

Striking a balance between use and overuse requires self-awareness and a commitment to evaluating our behaviours and their impact on our lives. Recognizing signs of overuse, such as exhaustion, strained relationships, diminished productivity, and neglecting self-care, is key to reclaiming balance and well-being. By actively setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and reassessing priorities, we can prevent burnout, nurture ourselves, and lead more fulfilling lives. Remember, balance is a continuous journey of self-discovery, self-care, and making choices that align with our overall happiness and well-being. Also, what is balanced for one need not be the same for all - so think for yourself.

Contributed by

Vasundhara Kaul

Founding partner & Chief innovation officer

Carpediem Edpsych Consultancy LLP

Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of photo by Schäferle on Pixabay

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