On each of the last three consecutive days I have had a different close friends say that they feel the urgent need to start taking better care of themselves, to work less, and to create more time for self-care. They each came to this conclusion as a result of different stimuli: mysterious or serious health downturns, life transitions, being in a healing process, and more.
We spoke about working less and making life less full by planning less time with others and doing less for others, balancing that with doing more of what is currently deficient: planning more time with oneself and doing more to care for oneself. We spoke about the things we enjoy most: time alone, having dinners at home with friends, working out, simply sitting in quiet; So many things that we enjoy that often end up at the bottom of the list, sometimes months going by in between occasions.
It hurts me to see my friends’ bodies and spirits taking the toll from the constant strain of Handling-It-All and the stress that comes from being in a steadily running state of making-and-doing. I know this all too well myself, as I am a classic Maker and Doer. Productivity has been bred into us. I know that all of these dear friends of mine are likely in their particular states because of their unique and impressive capacity to achieve and accomplish at super-high levels. They are admirable in it all, and even moreso for their ability and commitment to create the necessary cure…
In conversation tonight with one friend, and reflecting on the internet fast I did a month or so ago, I got the idea that we all need to join in a pact together to make our lives the healthy, balanced place we want to live in…
My idea: I think we all need to make a pact to have one day (or at least a half-day; if that’s scary start with 4 hours) per week of Zero Screen Time (ZST).
That means no computer screens, TV screens, cell phone screens or windshields. Time when no one can contact us and we make serious choices about if we will choose to contact anyone else (likely choosing not to, as this is time just for us). We are magnificent, efficient and committed schedulers. So we simply schedule ZST for ourselves. We choose us.
We consume no internet or media.
We use that time instead to do the things we speak of “never having time to do.”
We draw in sketchbooks.
We take walks to look at flowers or bugs or clouds.
We stretch our bodies, joints, tendons and muscles.
We read old dream journals.
We think about how we want to spend the next 5 years or 5 months.
We make up and sing silly songs with little kids.
We lay outside on the grass and stare at the sky because we know the season will change soon and we won’t be able to do so as comfortably.
We repair bicycles.
We paint, however horribly or messily it may be because we are out of practice; we ease into it.
We make lists of places we want to visit.
We do things we haven’t done in years.
We do things we don’t normally get to do.
We do things we have never done before.
We bake pies.
We allow ourselves to feel bored or restless.
We listen to CDs instead of Pandora because Pandora involves a screen and it’s too easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of the interwebs while looking up some new artist or album we just thumbed-up.
We listen to silence.
We just sit and look out the window and think.
We appreciate our own precious company.
We absolutely DO NOT WORK.
If we love this experiment, we may find ourselves choosing to schedule some ZST each day. I hope so.