Regular readers of Postworksavvy know that I’m taking a week off from radio, TV, social media and reading. Partly because I’ve saturated my brain with CBC, popular magazines, online diversions and reading novels during recuperation from hip surgery along with the usual hibernation and cocooning that comes with living through a Canadian winter and partly because I want to make sure that I’m not totally addicted to external stimuli. I’m still writing my blog posts as the writing is mental output and not input.
At the midway point, I am surviving but have yet to experience real benefits. I compare it to those days when I went on crash diets and expected a svelte body after a few days of near starvation. I can’t count the number of times that I have consciously stopped myself as I glanced at a newspaper headline, or picked up a magazine, or glanced at my email inbox. I have cooked from memory as I don’t want to start reading from my recipe book collection. I took my Sudoku puzzles to a physiotherapy appointment so that I wasn’t tempted with the stale-dated reading of the waiting area. And I’ve asked my husband to tell me what he found interesting in the morning newspaper — like whether the groundhog saw its shadow.
What do I miss?
Most of all I miss reading in bed before going to sleep. My usual habit is to read for 20-30 minutes before lights out. This technique helps to get my brain into ‘neutral’ and lulls me to sleep. No matter how tired I am, even reading a couple of pages or a couple of paragraphs serves as a reliable sedative. So now I toss a bit and do my mental gratitude lists.
I feel slightly guilty for not reading — it feels like missed opportunities to learn.
Listening to CBC is a close second. It’s a habit to turn on the kitchen radio — kept permanently turned to CBC — for company while I chop vegetables, cook meals, do my baking, or tidy up after meals. Steel cut oats takes about 30 minutes to cook and that’s a lot of stirring before breakfast without any diversions. I’m thankful for not giving up coffee in my quest to cleansing my brain.
I also miss the evening news and some of the public affairs TV. I have found myself walking slowly past the family room when my husband is watching these programs — just to hear the headlines. So far I’ve resisted but it isn’t easy. There’s been a big snowfall in Toronto today and I’ve had to ask my husband for information about the weather forecast rather than getting this information from the media.
Email deprivation has been the biggest challenge and I’ve sneaked a peek at my screen and even looked at a couple of emails that seemed urgent — of course, as soon as I opened them I realized that these too could wait. I have not stopped using my computer as I’m still posting on my blog and writing future posts. Writing is more difficult without doing the usual internet research.
Diversions and Time Fillers
From my journal, here are some musings on how I’ve filled my days:
Day 1 — a long afternoon nap; some serious yoga time; tidied my desk; looked through a couple of hobby drawers; played the piano for an hour (stiff fingers); spent most of the evening on the telephone catching up with friends.
Day 2 — physio in the morning; spent the afternoon on errands; began work on an abandoned embroidery project in the evening.
Day 3 — slept in; spent most of the afternoon cooking; sorted the household CD collection in the evening after finding about 300 abandoned discs — some un-opened and started playing long-forgotten music; more yoga today with incense to refresh my brain!
As I write this, the description sounds quite mundane — just 3 ordinary days. But there is a quiet that is beginning in my head and I feel strangely more alert with greater capacity to concentrate. I have a feeling — though vague and perhaps irrational, that other benefits will arise — just as long as I can stay with the challenge for the rest of the week. Wish me well!
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