I read something somewhere and because I read it on two different social platforms I’m going to lie if I tell you I can remember where. But what I can tell you is that it stuck. It also struck me hard when I realised I was part of the problem.
What is the first thing we do when we open our eyes? We switch off the alarm ringing on our phone and immediately we are bombarded by notifications and communication. It is information and graphic overload and we haven’t even gotten out of bed yet. It makes me think of a youtube video from Motiversity titled You only have 24hrs. https://youtu.be/fLeJJPxua3E.
What am I spending my time and energy on? Who am I spending my time and energy on? Is it rendering any good fruits or does it leave me feeling like less of an achiever at the end of the day? Less of an achiever and I haven’t even touched the ice cold tiles yet!
So the analytical side of me comes to town to play hop, skip and jump and point fingers all knowingly at the evidence. I set up Samsung wellness on my phone and I start to allocate what I think should be enough time to spend on my phone. Because I have 24hours in a day right and I should use them wisely. I allot myself 12,5% of 24hours which is 3hours of my day. I also tell myself that somethings like watching my youtube motivationals or listening to music the entire day needs to come from other devices because it racks up hours which I wasnt really on my phone if that makes sense.
We have only the present and we should be present therein. I hear Eric from Motiversity say: The difference between Operah and the person that is broke is that Operah uses her 24hours wisely. So I think to myself what would I do with the rest of the time. My Atype personality immediately wants to start getting busy making lists of all the improvements I can do in the many facilities of my life. But a little voice from inside is begging me to use the time to do the things that set my soul alight like writing, gardening, reading, spending time with people I care for and most importantly spending time doing nothing in pure happiness. Because doing nothing for someone like me is like asking Hans Solo to stop flying the millennium falcon!!!
So I start a new morning ritual. I switch off the alarm without looking at the rest of the icons on my screen. I lay in bed, eyes closed and give thanks for the things I have and for the things I have asked for and haven’t acknowledged as received yet. I listen to my affirmations for 10minutes and then I get out of bed. And my day starts…. Kettle on, child up from slumber, pack lunch, give dog tugging at my gown sleeve attention and feed said attention seeking dogs. Take son to school, get ready for the work day ahead. All the while my phone is on its new do not disturb setting until 8h30am and calls may come, sure you ask yourself, what if its an emergency, a long lost friend calling or your son’s school? What if this and what if that to justify clinging onto the misconception that the world needs you more than you need yourself.
We have always had the rule that dinner time is spent at the table together where we talk and eat and connect. No cellphone may be on the table, near the table, under the table or even close by the table. I think you get the point. No TV switched on for background noise either. We connect with the people closest to us. The ones we choose to spend our every day lives with. The ones who are literally there for us when the camera lens of the world is switched off and the pretty filters have gone to bed.
So new bed time ritual for mother dearest once said son is put to bed…. no more falling asleep in front of the TV waking up with red lines on my face and drool on my chin at 2am. None of that! It is replaced with a reminder from Samsung that my bedtime is due and I should start my evening ritual. Glass of water next to bedside check. Some self care rituals check. Read two or three pages of a story book while soft mist fills my lungs check. Eucalyptus and lavender mmmmm calming to my hyper drive senses. Self care makes me feel calm and loved as I shuffle under the covers. Night time gratitude check.
And so this continues for the period of a week. During said week; I’ve swapped out rushed night time showers for 20min bath sessions with luxurious oils instead of plonking myself in front of the tv after a long day. I’ve been able to write more than one line and I’ve been reading and tending to my pot plants as winter rolls in. I have watched less TV and been happier this week. Instead of 30min of Facebook surfing I’ve spent afternoons walking the dogs while chatting to my son about teenage life for those 30min. All the things we tell ourselves we work hard to enjoy but never get to enjoy because we are tired or the most loved phrase: there isn’t enough time in a day. I’m one of the phrase loving patrons!
What came of all this after a week? Samsung sent me a notification saying I’ve spent 11hours and 47min less this week on my phone than last week. Can you imagine?! So almost 60% of my day was consumed via my cellphone. Sure I can justify it to say I’m listening to YouTube music via the tv, I’m reading a hard cover book instead of a kindle version, I’m banking from my laptop instead of my cellphone. I’m a very productive person that never sits still even for a moment. I would have never guessed that 60% of whatever I’m doing is on one little device. What would our tvs or our computers say about us if we made ourselves aware of these habits we have? Of always needing to stay connected and never appreciating our own silence or surroundings?
My little science project was for me. Solely to check in on myself and become aware of my habits instead of being an exhausted mom on autopilot. I’m not saying what worked for me will work for you necessarily. I am not financially rich as Operah yet, but this week I was richer in happiness than the prior week. What I am saying is awareness is a beautiful gift that reminds us our time is precious. Reminds us our bodies need rest to restore and our minds need a break so sleep won’t elude us. It reminds us that we can’t go to bed wondering if our lives will ever change if we don’t start to make small changes in our habits, our thoughts and what we spend our time on.