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Community 5 June 2024

The Wellness Side of the Run the Internet Challenge

By Marsema TarikuGuest AuthorDirector, Translations, Internet Society Foundation

Our mission has never been more challenging as we advocate for an open, secure Internet for all. Today much is at stake—we must continue to connect the world by bringing the Internet to everyone, everywhere, while defending it from growing threats. Our collective goal is to remain focused on growing, maintaining, and protecting a healthy Internet because it will get bigger and stronger when we all do our part. 

Starting today, 5 June, with the “Run the Internet” 7-day challenge, we shall not run in circles! Let’s make it a simple and stress-free fun way to engage in a healthier week—prioritizing a state of multifaceted well-being.

Here are seven things to keep in mind as you take part in the challenge and set the journey on the right track. As you read through the following reflections, ask yourself: Does this characterize my current actions? Whether your answer is a Yes! or a No! the exercise will bring insights and intentionality in auditing your personal wellness habits for bigger and stronger mindfulness.

1. Get Physical

As you focus on your body and the physical aspects of life, you may get curious about the physical backbone of the Internet itself. A good relaxed reading recommendation—Andrew Blum’s “TUBES: A Journey to the Center of the Internet,” for a fascinating dive into the basics of how the Internet runs and its physical world from behind the scenes.

This week, go out of your comfort zone—try new sports, ideas, routes, places…

2. Take Regular Mental Breaks

We all know how computers or electronic devices experience temporary issues that resolve themselves without intervention or simply restarting the system—just like the Internet, which goes faster once the too many windows we have up and running are closed.

The same goes for our minds, where rebooting resets our focus. Limit your screen time, restart, reset, and refresh your mind regularly for better mental focus and clarity, mostly to recalibrate your digital and real-world lives.

3. We’re Wired for Connection

During this challenge, introverts and extroverts unite to mindfully carve out time to reach out and create a sense of community and enthusiasm to protect the Internet of opportunities and preserve it for the next generation.

Human beings are social animals. We thrive in authentic, meaningful relationships and must be part of something bigger than ourselves. Social connection gives our lives meaning, purpose, and direction, so wisdom would be to keep those authentic, beneficial, and mutual ones closer. The same goes for our online contacts.

Together we can keep ourselves and the Internet a force for good!

4. Use Your Senses

The secret to being more present and enhancing mental health is to focus fully on the here and now by embracing the emotions involved. If you struggle to focus, the amazing guidance in the book “Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin will help.

Just as you would not set out running without your proper gear, prioritize your safety and privacy online with the best practices of encryption.

Forewarned is forearmed!

5. Say No Without Guilt

I found this quote by Steve Jobs best explains the secret to focus:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

This is none other than the concept of opportunity cost in action.

During this challenge week and beyond, carve time for reflection and review to think carefully about what you’re doing, why you are doing it, and what you’re trying to achieve with that. You’ll be amazed by the results!

6. Be a Positive Presence

Choose to be the change you want to see. Advocate for the Internet’s resilience by embracing a positive presence online. You can ensure you contribute to the good by posting only what you deem useful, accurate, reliable, and relevant. Do your due diligence to verify that you are not part of the misinformation and disinformation out there.

No technology is inherently good or bad—it is just a tool, depending on how we use it. Advocate and lead by example for a moderate and responsible use by everyone.

7. Be Playful

Remember to have fun. Research shows that being playful is crucial for well-being at all ages. It empowers creativity, positive attitudes, and relaxation, allowing us to get more out of life while we take it easy.

An example of how I love being playful is by artists who imagine the Internet as this beautiful garden or park through which we can take a long walk, taking time to admire each tree and smell the flowers on the way.

During this “Run the Internet” challenge week, slow down and walk through our website, savoring the moment while strolling through impactful stories.  

As part of our distinctive goal, let’s couple the personal challenge of self-care with our collective responsibility of keeping the Internet of Opportunity up and running as a balanced force for good for everyone.

Now is the right time to mobilize ourselves worldwide to protect the Internet as we know it. This campaign is a special opportunity to run for a bigger, stronger, more inclusive Internet for a better future. Join us on this journey:

  • Sign up to “Run the Internet” today and feel the goodness of hitting your first PR!
  • Be part of our community of positive change by cheering each other up, sharing your moment as a story, feedback, and/or pictures, and retweeting, liking, and sharing it with your social networks.
  • Donate or help us raise funds through your network.

Together, we can!

Image © Marcel Ardivan on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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