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The Healthy Dose 004: Digital Wellness & My Health Beacon

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Craig Bidiman, a Health Education & Promotion Specialist at the university, writes a regular column about health and wellness. 

Social media is great! Social media is also the worst.
The absolute worst.
I’m all over social media—I don’t hide it. I use it to keep so many aspects of my life under control. It’s even to the point where most of my life is truly controlled by social media and my digital devices.
This is both fun and troublesome.
Like many folks in our global society, I’ve become quite accustomed to relying on my digital devices to keep me functioning in the world.
Alas, there are many psychological and mental health issues at play when we develop such an adherence to our digital life.
So I’m here to discuss the idea of digital wellness.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you commute. And while you commute, you’re flipping through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, news articles, cat videos, “How It’s Made” videos, record shopping on Amazon, or sending snaps of people on the train using whatever new snap filter was released that day.
All of this digital exposure can take its toll on our brains, distancing us from the real world around us.
Digital wellness encompasses a couple of things. First, in order to maintain good digital wellness, you need to step away from your devices for a little bit. I know this might seem scary, but seriously. Put the phone away during class, during meals, or during your commute. Instead, pick up a book or have a conversation with someone.
With social media as the epicenter of our digital lives, the existence of FOMO (or fear of missing out) often permeates our lives. This fear is what many people latch onto when it comes to believing that their friend’s lives are better or more interesting than their own.
In reality, the majority of what people post online are highlights, the extravagance, or even a perception of extravagance. Ultimately, it’s important not to get hung up on any of that stuff. It will only stress you out further, causing anxiety.
My suggestion is to make sure you recognize that regardless of what you post or read online, your life matters and you have value. Don’t get caught up in the perceptions that your friends or celebrities present on social media. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Or, Photoshop and filters, I should say.
Now, the other component of digital wellness is taking care of the content you create and share on the internet. The reality of today’s society is that what happens on the internet stays on the internet.
This can be a scary thing to process, so I’ll give you a minute.
Are you back? Okay.
Truthfully, I can’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t share on the internet. I wouldn’t want to do that. However, I have done a lot of research on social media, and one of the biggest regrets many students express about their online presence is that an embarrassing picture came back to haunt them. Or a tweet they sent years ago wound up being misconstrued in some way and they were declined a job or internship.
Job recruiters check that stuff these days, so it’s important to be aware of your online presence.
You can’t control the internet, but you can control what you contribute to it. So think before you tweet/post/share, and that will greatly benefit your digital wellness.
Yet, since we have become the generation of digital devotees, it is important to consider the advancements that benefit the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
One of those innovations is the creation of My Health Beacon—a fully online registration and account management system through University Health Services (UHS) here at UMass Boston.
My Health Beacon online portal was introduced in January as a way to improve user experience with the resources at UHS.
The My Health Beacon portal allows you to schedule or cancel your appointments with University Health Services, send secure messages to your health care providers, view and print your immunization information, and complete any necessary forms or surveys. All of this is meant to make your experience with UHS much simpler and accessible for your busy lives, and to make sure that you have as much time with your healthcare provider as possible.
Also, if you haven’t been over to UHS (Quinn Administration building, second floor) in a while, you can check the sweet new iPad self-check system that allows you the ability to self-check in for appointments, capture insurance card images, complete compliance forms, surveys, and visit questionnaires.
Be sure to check out the My Health Beacon portal on the UHS website, and use your digital skills to take of your wellness!