In continued celebration of National Wellness Month, Ofosu and Leah (and some special guests) want to help you make wellness a priority in your life. So each week in August, they’ll announce a new wellness challenge for you to try with them.
This week, Ofosu and Leah talk with productivity expert Jessica Holsman about how to set healthy boundaries with your phone and social media. They also discuss how following a tech-free morning routine can help reduce stress and boost productivity, and they reveal the third Wellness Month challenge.
Tune in next Monday to hear how the challenge went for them, and don’t forget to share your experience, too. You can email a voice memo to email@example.com . Or you can participate when prompted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, or you can even tag @balance on a post on your personal account. The more you participate, the more you increase your chances to be featured in next week's episode!
More about Jessica:
Jessica Holsman is a best-selling author, content creator, entrepreneur, and speaker, specializing in helping people maximize their productivity and enhance their well-being. You can learn more on her website — www.studywithjess.com — and you can order her new book here: https://amzn.to/3PK25hD
Well Balanced is co-hosted by the expert meditation coaches of Balance. Balance is a highly personalized meditation and sleep app that's been named Google's App of the Year and Apple's App of the Day. Completely free for the entire first year, Balance is helping 3 million+ people around the world improve their stress, sleep, focus, and mood. Unlock your free year of Balance today by downloading it from the App Store or Play Store: https://balanceapp.sng.link/Arat1/h3qp/icji
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OFOSU: Hey, what's up. I'm Ofosu Jones-Quartey. I am one of the meditation coaches on the Balance app, along with Leah Santa Cruz. And this is our weekly show, Well Balanced. Today, we are reviewing how last week's wellness challenge went for all of us and our guests. Jessica Holsman is gonna give us our next wellness month challenge, which is all about how we can use our phones more mindfully.
So. You're just hearing my voice right now, because unfortunately Leah's got the flu. Let's all send Leah some healing vibes right now. I know she needs it. Feel better, Leah!. We miss you. So it's gonna just be me for the first few minutes here, but fortunately, we recorded our interview with Jessica Holsman before Leah got sick.
So we're gonna do some time traveling later and you'll hear Leah's voice again. To get y'all up to speed, August is National Wellness month and every week we're giving ourselves and you a new wellness challenge. So these will be quick tasks, things that can help you change your behaviors, uh, and that can help make wellness a priority in your life.
Last week, we had a money themed challenge from a Danetha Doe. Y'all should go listen to that. If you wanna hear more about it, the challenge was sit down and map out how you would spend $300,000. Now you have some caveats here. You couldn't use it to pay off debt. You'd have to spend it on experiences or things that make you feel happy and bring you joy.
So before we go into how this went for me, a lot of you told us about your experiences and I want to give you a sampling of what you came up with. Alright forgive me from the front end if I mess up your username. But I'm gonna try to shout out your username and some of the things you shared with us all.
So from data, Charlotte says, I would open a business and get an apartment to secure myself and my little boy, heart emoji, single mom. Oh, all the feels! Jr. Dean 82 said invest. Now we got a lot of invested. So if you said, invest, just know that Jr Dean 82 is channeling you. We got another one from Alfonso ELO who said travel around the globe, globe emoji, opening my eyes and heart to other cultures and people.
Yeah. I mean, that is what travel is all about. I love that we got a lot of payoff debt, so I'm skipping those, but you are heard. And we get it, especially the ones who are paying off debt for your parents and your loved ones. Like just yes. Um, oh, Joelle, Aji, I think is, is the name here? I would help teens and young adults in order for them not to deal with tough mental health that is near and dear to my heart.
I love that. Uh, another one from Sergio LD, PJ, it may be enough to buy a small house in my happy place. Yeah. I'm just getting like, the big dream vibes and that warm feeling in the middle of my chest, reading these another said a spa day for myself. And can you imagine what a $300,000 spa day would feel like? It would be the best day ever!
I hear that, I hear that underscore LMG four says open a cat sanctuary. We had a couple of cat themed responses. So we've got some cat people in the Balance family. Um, and we had a really sweet one from Lucy Bicks 1021 who says I would buy a car to replace my 13 year old one. I'd pay for one roommate to reline his denture. And get good glasses. Wow. I mean, I love the thinking of others. So the altruism that is coming through in so many of these dreams, these dreams include buying houses, helping family, traveling the world, helping animals, starting businesses, careers, setting your kids up, investing for me. I did this with my wife and, you know, both of us really thought a lot about travel and one thing that I really loved was to be six months on and six months off. I would start that pattern in my life. Like, you know, mid-size retirement. The fun thing that I noticed about this conversation was that it didn't have that kind of drudgery to it that money conversations can tend to have. Instead there was focus on our network of friends and all of their kids, and to spend the time off being with the people that we love and just imagining doing that was such an uplifting experience.
So I loved that. We were able to sort of dream big and maybe when we don't do that, we kind of move through things aimlessly, and we're just kind of plugging away one day at a time. But to give ourselves a little bit of a north might incentivize us to adjust our relationship with ourselves eachother money, et cetera.
So I love this exercise. Thanks so much to Danetha for this prompt and huge thanks to all of y'all for all of these amazing answers. It was great to be able to hear and even recite some of your big dreams. All right. So now it's time for that interview with Jessica Holsman, which actually recorded before Leah got sick.
So we all get to hear her wonderful voice. She'll be there. And I'll see you on the other side of this chime.
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OFOSU: Every week in August in celebration of National Wellness month, we are giving a new challenge to ourselves and to the Well Balanced community to encourage us to live more balanced lives. And this week, our challenge is coming from a friend, Jessica Holzsman.
LEAH: That's right. You might know her as Study with Jess on YouTube and social media.
She's built a reputation, helping people study more effectively and that's evolved into helping people of all types, whether you're in school or not to learn more practical ways of being productive. She's the best selling author of the High School Survival Guide. And her new book just came out. It's called Work-Life Balance Survival Guide -
How to Find Your Flow, Stay and Create a Life of Success.
OFOSU: I am so excited to hear about Jess’s challenge for us. So welcome, Jess.
JESSICA: Thank you both so much for having me on again. I'm so excited to be chatting to you about some of the things that I am just really loving, discussing lately, especially with my new book coming out. I feel like I'm just living for all things, work, life balance.
LEAH: So just the big question is. What's your challenge for us?
OFOSU: Drum roll…
JESSICA: And my challenge for both of you and listeners out there right now is I challenge you to not check your phone for the first 60 minutes upon waking.
OFOSU: Dun dun dun!
JESSICA: I feel like people are gonna hear this challenge and immediately start freaking out. It's easier said than done.
OFOSU: I feel this challenge in my body. The moment you say this, like I, my chest is a little tighter and there's a little bit of heaviness. It makes you wonder what did we do before we had our phones?
LEAH: Oh my God!
JESSICA: Do both of you check your phone upon waking or within like the first 30 minutes of the day? What does your phone checking behavior look like from the get go?
LEAH: I set my alarm on my phone. And whether or not I actually wake up to my alarm. I pretty much check the time on my phone right away when I wake up.
But it also is the urge for me to like, look at my emails and my phone and to check my messages because I'm living in a time zone where most people I connect with are messaging me in the middle of my night. So I'm kind of excited to see what's come in. Uh, and so it's a, it's very tempting for me to just kinda like jump on the phone and like check everything and then dive into my meditation and be my practice because I noticed sometimes if I don't check the phone first, then I'm like, I'm feeling the, the urge to want to do it but while that’s not a bad thing it's just an interesting energy to meditate with.
OFOSU: I noticed when I was on retreat, my surroundings were very, very simple and my wifi was pretty much non-existent except for in the common area. But I did have this very kind of bootleg extra data that I could get once a day.
And the question of how am I spending my data ended up translating to how am I spending time and my mental energy, it made me really question like, well, how much of my checking is, is necessary and how much of it is just a symptom of an overall social media and device addiction, for lack of a better word.
And I found that it was easy for me to not reach out when I had an alternative. And when. I had like an actual consequence, like your data is gonna run out instead when I woke up and I would just read like a passage of poetry or read a couple pages from a book by Thich Nhat Hanh. it really changed how my morning flowed. But now that I'm back in the real world, I'm right back to checking my phone, as soon as I wake up checking my phone in the middle of the night, etcetera.
JESSICA: Yeah. I, um, first of all, I just, I loved hearing both of your experiences of checking your phone. So just that mindful consumption that you're talking about, um, and how it really can change the way that we begin our day, or just how we set ourselves up for you know, more mindful or, um, productive, successful sort of day. So I wanted to share something with you before I get into tips on how to control the technology that we're consuming. But when I was starting off on YouTube and I was signed with an agency that was based in the states - I live in Melbourne, Australia.
So the time zone is completely different and a lot of my work opportunities would come through by email. In the middle of the night, I had my phone right next to me on the floor of our bedroom, and I would wake up in anticipation and check my emails. 6:00 AM. I don't even get up at 6:00 AM. I'm more of a 7:00, 7:30 AM riser.
So I would be starting my days off getting straight into work mode, jumping straight into work mode and not allowing my mind to ease into the day. But something that I've become aware of is when I jumped straight into work mode, first thing in the morning, or I'm just consuming technology, our phones are the source of three ends news, noise and negativity.
So whether you are jumping onto your phone for work or just to see -
OFOSU: Hold. Rewind, I wanna say, say those three ends. We need to hear those three ends again, Jess. What are they?
JESSICA: Okay. So I can't take credit for the three ends. I actually learned about this from J she wisdom coach. So the three ends are news noise and negativity.
So news, self explanatory, you know, hopping online, seeing what's happening in the world. Current affairs. Noise could be text messages that come through missed calls that you've got, um, comments on your social media, you know, just even seeing what other people are posting and then negativity that often is something that we consume via the news, because fear sells.
Or from things like self comparison. When we see a lot of people posting their highlight reels on social media and we think, you know, hey, why does their life look so awesome? And why wasn't I invited to that party? You know, anything like that. So it's really important to realize that our phones and technology absolutely serve a purpose.
But they can also be the source of some really harmful things, especially when we are exposing ourselves to that first thing in the morning. Yeah. But there are studies out there, one in particular that I read while researching for my book. And, um, I think it's by Pardon Chelsea? Pardon? She surveyed over 95,000 people over several years and found the act of checking your phone jolts your brain into a wave of high stress when you check it first thing in the morning, and that wave of high stress is linked to increased feelings of worry, irritability, paranoia, and even a weakened immune system. And I cannot afford that right now. I don't think any of us can afford those things right now.
OFOSU: Wow. I'll be perfectly honest with you. Those three things, news noise and negativity. They are so compelling and they are for lack of a better words um, sweet and juicy and fun and addictive. They just keep you in this loop. I remember just the other day I woke up and I was like, okay, well I'm on vacation, that means I don't necessarily have to get up and sit and meditate and then shadow box and then eat oatmeal and just do my normal routine. Like maybe I can just get up and just like, look at what's happening in the world. But I found that I spent like two hours in a loop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram cycles.
And it really was a little perplexing. I was like, oh man, I'm really addicted to social media. And to this phone, it wasn't that hard for me to put it away when I was on retreat. But coming back into the groove of everyday life, it was so easy and seductive to get back into the cycle of addiction. So I'm curious, Jess, do you have any tips for somebody like me who really struggles to not reach for their phone?
JESSICA: Oh, so many are coming to mind. Um, you know, look we can, we can think about you know, refraining from using our phone within the first hour of the day, but these tips are also gonna translate into the rest of your day, whether it's in the middle of your work routine or what you're doing outside of work as well.
So, you know, first thing I wanted to mention is rather than creating a negative goal, something you wanna stop doing, let's try and create it in a more positive. Framework and say, well, what do I want to start implementing within the first hour of my day? Wow. For me, I've researched. I'm all about the morning routine.
It sets you up with a greater level of control, stability, and even a sense of accomplishment. One of the things that I like to do is my morning skincare routine. And as I do each step in my skincare, I look in the mirror and I recite a positive affirmation. For other people that could be making a cup of tea.
I saw one person on Instagram sharing their morning routine, and she'd go out to the garden and pick a flower every day and pop that on her desk, which I thought was beautiful. Even if you don't manage to steer clear of your phone for an hour, if you can first prioritize your morning routine - which is prioritizing yourself and allowing your mind to ease into the day.
Then once that's done, if that's 20 minutes or that's an hour or a luxurious hour and a half morning routine, then you can start going on social media or picking up the phone or opening the laptop. But we have to put ourselves first.
OFOSU: Yes. Okay. Now what if first thing that you do in the morning is listen to Leah and Ofosu on the Balance app, is that a loophole?
Is there, you know what I'm saying? Like, are there loopholes?
JESSICA: So the loophole is if you're using your phone or technology in a way that serves you and is assisting or building on your mental wellbeing, then you can use it. But I would suggest keepung your phone on, do not disturb, silent. Okay. Um, don't open those unread text messages.
Don't call someone back if you have a missed call and definitely if you have, if you have all of your apps, like emails and social media on the first page of your phone, when you unlock your home screen, then move them across. So have the apps that serve you as the ones that you're gonna see when you open your phone first.
Okay. For me as someone who has, you know, and I feel like I can, um, really empathize Leah with what you were saying at the start about, you know, checking your emails, first thing, and social media, it got so bad. I went and got a second phone for work. And I have all of my social media apps and email apps on my work phone, which I keep turned off outside of work hours. It's in my bag in a cupboard because otherwise it is so tempting.
LEAH: That's like a good standard of dedication. I, I appreciate that.
OFOSU: Yeah. I applaud that.
JESSICA: We forget how many people are working behind the scenes to make these platforms the most addictive as possible. But one thing I wanted to briefly mention as well as another way of, you know, not letting technology rule your life is to think about your external cues and environment and also the triggers.
So there can be internal trigger. Which are things like, oh, I have a craving. I really wanna go and check my phone. I wonder if so, and so has responded to an email or a text and there's external triggers, like, oh, I see my phone. It's right there. That's really tempting. I want to go on it. So if we can even control our environment with external cues, like removing our phone.
So it's out of sight out of mind when you're working, you know, putting little barriers into place, it makes the world of difference.
LEAH: Wow. Well, that's giving me some ideas. Definitely. I just recently in the last week got one of those big fridge magnets that you can write on like a whiteboard. So I put my whole schedule on there, so I don't have to look at my schedule on my Google calendar or my phone first thing in the morning.
And that's been helpful. But, um, I love your tips and this has been a really great conversation. I'm gonna think about doing the second phone thing, to be honest. And I love the challenge. I'm gonna, I'm gonna really try to do it every, every day, this week. And I'm gonna hold you accountable too Ofosu.
OFOSU: Yes, please do. I'll hold you accountable too. We'll be each other's accountability partner. First thing in the morning, we will hold each other accountable one hour after we get up like, hey, did you do your hour? Um, well, hey Jess, thank you so much for joining us and, um, for all of this practical and important advice and information, we really appreciate it.
LEAH: Yeah. Thanks
JESSICA: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on again.
OFOSU: All right. We'll see you later. Thank you so much. You can order Jess's new book, at the link in our bio. And just like in today's episode, we'll be sharing how this challenge went for some of you next week. So email us a voice memo, sharing how avoiding your phone for the first hour of your day goes for you. Or you can submit a response to us via social media.
We're gonna be putting out a post during the week on Balance's Instagram story, Facebook and Twitter asking you to share. So look out for that and be sure to submit your responses. You can find our handles and email in the show notes. If you wanna stay up to date with our show, you can listen and follow wherever you get your podcast.
We are literally everywhere, Apple, Spotify, Amazon music, and more. We'll be back next week with our last wellness challenge. It comes from Joe Zaya Frazier, who you might know as ‘guy with the hair’. He's gonna be challenging us to work on rhymes to help us endure hard things. I think I know a little bit about that until then.
Please remember to be kind to yourself. Also happy birthday to me and we'll see you later. Bye!
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