I am the kind of person that cannot sleep in and who finds it hard to fall asleep unless I am so exhausted my thoughts cannot even keep me awake. I go to yoga because it feels good but because I get a reprieve from my busy brain. You might think that this says creative and driven, but when the thoughts that spring me from bed each morning are ‘I have to…’ rather than ‘I want to…’, I know that it is overstimulation and burn out.
When we were camping, I realised something a few days in. I was heading down to the showers and I felt like I was on a time limit, even though no one was giving me one. We didn’t have time specific plans that I needed to be back for and I thought at first that I was still in work mode. Only when I was walking back did I realise that I’ve lived constantly with a mobile phone since I moved here 10 years ago. I used to be able to roam the woods during the summer at summer camp without a phone and have time off completely unplugged. We had radios for emergencies and planning across the camp but when you had time off, you were radio free and able to drift for two hours, the night off, or weekend without checking in before the expected time. People knew when to expect me places and no disasters arose from not being contactable 24/7.
I need to claw back the autonomy from the traceability that we have come to expect and rely on. I also need to shake the feeling that I am always behind or trying to catch up. A few things I am going to be doing over the next few weeks or months:
1. Getting back off facebook. I slipped on for planning something in May and have felt obligated to check it a few times a week since.
2. Saying NO to the ‘I need to…’ and ‘I should…’ thoughts even if they’re ones I place on myself. Aside from chores, I will not do the things I feel like I need to do (if I feel like I ‘have to’ blog or make a particular thing by a specific time, then it’s probably an indication that it is not bringing me joy but becoming an unnecessary burden).
3. Leave work on time whenever possible and leave it at the door.
4. Sleep or rest when I feel like my body wants it. If my brain will not calm, I will do gentle yoga or lay down and read. Taking care of myself after work or on the weekends is not ‘failing’ to do something productive. This is a deeply engrained habit/thinking pattern I’m still working to undo from my Ph.D.
5. Reduce the clutter-stimulation in my world: no social media (read instagram), googling or mindless scrolling of pinterest before 8am, or after 6pm. Times may be adapted. Do not play phone games that stress me out, while also working to not be wound up about whatever games I am playing.
6. Use airplane mode on my phone more often. Evenings when I am home, during the day at work (mentioned to Honey first so she knows I am not in danger if trying to contact me), and perhaps all weekend?
7. Work towards the goal of separating books from my phone or iPad, or at least seeing it as a digital book reader (airplane mode should help).