I recently went camping in a place that has no cell service for 4 days. We returned home around noon on a Sunday, and I chose to just keep my phone off until 8:30 the next morning. A bold move in this day and age. felt a significant decrease in my anxiety from being outside and away from my phone all weekend, that I wanted to keep that feeling as long as I could. So, instead of jumping back on resuming life onscreen again, I simply just laid in the sun and read my book, rode my bike without headphones, drove in silence, and noticed my thoughts. Having that dedicated awareness to my own experience while going about my life, undistracted or reliant on external stimulus was incredibly grounding. It has reframed the boundaries I already had with technology.
I recognize the irony in that the only space I have to share this with you is online. And I'm not criticizing being online, I'm merely acknowledging and suggesting that time away from it, is good too. Since this is where we get to connect, I want to share my recommendations for activities that bring balance to screentime. Best of all, these are at no additional cost to you.
1- Create bed-time settings on your iPhone. Mine kicks me out of everything except a few apps at 8pm, so when I mindlessly gravitate to something on there that isn't productive or calming for me (goodnight, words with friends), I'm reminded that I'm working on new habits.
2- Carry a book with you. When you are taking a break from work, or waiting for your takeout food, instead of staring at your screen to kill time, why not bring out a novel instead? Not into reading? This same principal of not-taking-your-phone-out-at-every-spare-moment can be applied to one of my other favourite past-times: people watching. Not intended to be as creepy as it sounds, but isn't it nice to have a little more situational awareness? You might even notice someone walking past that you haven't seen in a while and have a nicely distanced, human interaction. Books I've read/listened to lately:
- Recommended Reads/ Fiction
- Recursion - Blake Crouch
- The Push - Ashely Audrain
- Sober Curious - Ruby Warrington
Transcendent Kingdom - Yaa Gyasi
Recommended listens / Non- Fiction
- Yearbook - Seth Rogan
- Greenlights - Matthew McConaughey
- Think Again - Adam Grant
- What Happened To You? - Oprah Winfrey + Dr. Bruce D. Perry
3- Refine your morning routine to include a moment for yourself. We all have different schedules and responsibilities, and not everyone is a "morning person" but making space for 5-20 minutes of undistracted me time helps to make me feel accomplished in my day right away. Here are a few simple suggestions:
- 5 -10 minutes of meditation
- walk around the block without your phone. Notice the flowers blooming, birds chirping.
- journalling for 10 minutes about nothing and everything. Simple stream of consciousness writing.
- Instead of drinking your coffee and scrolling social media or checking emails, schedule a FaceTime coffee date to connect with a friend or family member
4- Explore a park that you haven't visited before. Use Google Maps to search for parks, trails, outdoor tennis courts, and beaches in your area.
5- Make these coconut coffee scrubs and enjoy a long bath or shower
6- Bake something. It's incredibly satisfying and soothing to create something with your hands. The chemistry of baking fascinates me and the reward when you get to sit down and eat the pizza from the dough you just made, or use that same dough for cinnamon buns, or make someone a birthday cake (see below), is tangible and delicious! Bonus if you use an actual cookbook instead of a recipe from Pinterest.
7- Try something from this blog post of ours from last year: 12 activities to take care of yourself during a pandemic
I hope that there was at least one thing here that intrigues you :)