3 Things That Will Make You Feel Better That Don’t Involve Screens
For so many of us, our days of work involve hours and hours of screen time. If I’m not on my computer, writing or answering emails, then chances are I’m looking at my phone, updating social media accounts or studying strategies. While I love what I do, I find that needing to be in front of a screen for so many hours at a time isn’t easy, mentally and physically.
While I, like many people, sometimes choose to engage with technology during my personal time, there is very little choice when it comes to work. And, because my home and office are one and the same, and because the lines between work and life get blurred constantly, my days are typically well over the eight hour mark. So much of it is required in order to get work done.
600 minutes of screen time each day? That simply can’t be good.
When I taught middle school, scrolling through my favorite blogs and binge watching Netflix were wonderful escapes and great ways to de-stress from a day of work. But now, even the thought of turning on a screen during my downtime makes me feel anxious.
Which has made me start appreciating new ways of unwinding, ones that make me feel great and that keep my eyes from feeling like two sand dunes protruding out of my head. So, while I love to read, I’ve been cutting back on that too, trying to give my eyes something a little bit further away to look at. (The pharmacist at Albertson’s swears this will make my eyes less red, achy, and, according to my son, “scary.”)
Here are the three ways I’ve been escaping from the current attack of the screens I’m facing. (A glass of wine to accompany any of these is, as always, optional!)
1. Walking Outside. While I love running, I find that I get competitive with myself, which means I want to know exactly how far I’ve run and how fast it took me to do that last mile. Which means I need a phone. Which means I see messages on my run. Which means I stop on the corner to respond because, yes, I’m a bit of a workaholic. So, I’ve been taking time to just walk, many times with a kid, or two, or three in tow to help slow me down and appreciate the little things, like the lizards and roadrunners that scurry across our path. While I’m not burning tons of calories, I am seriously de-stressing and giving my eyes a much needed break.
2. Doing Something in the Kitchen. Anyone who knows me knows two things: I’m not good at cooking and I’m the luckiest girl in the world because my husband makes dinner for our family. Every. Night. But, I do love baking! And making little treats like lattes and homemade chai. I try to get into the kitchen for a break at least once a day these days to give myself a break. The only rule is that recipes cannot be on phones or computers! So hello, cookbooks!
3. Gardening. My mom is a seriously talented gardener and is much more committed to her plants than I currently am. My husband is the same, which is why we have a sweet greenhouse he built for us on the side of our home. I, on the other hand, love to garden now and again, which doesn’t bode well for my plants. So, I’ve been taking time recently each day to do a little something outside or in our greenhouse. Things like weeding and watering are surprisingly relaxing and fun, which I swore to my eighteen year old self are two things I would never say. Oh well!
I have another favorite thing I love to do, but I thought you, this loyal reader who has made it all the way to the end, would laugh. So I’m sneakily putting it in here as a little bonus.
About three times a day I sit somewhere quiet, sometimes it’s a pretty spot by my window, sometimes it’s hiding in the bathroom so my kids think I’m going poop. There, I close my eyes and I focus on my breath. I count each breath, each inhalation and exhalation, until I reach ten and then I start again. I do this for five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes each time if I’m able.
Some call it “Zen Meditation”, but I just call it absolute bliss!
About the Author
Julie is a native New Mexican, growing up in the beautiful desert landscapes of the Southwest. A writer, teacher, and leader by nature, she has her B.A. in Secondary Education and her M.A. in Creative Writing. Julie has been working as an entrepreneur for the past five years, giving her the opportunity to work from home with her children and husband.