When things are unstable, the best thing to do is to slow down and take a mental break, even if you cannot take a proper physical one. Technology increases our speed of lives and perception of time, while slowing down is all about reconnecting with your body needs and natural rhythms.
1. Don’t check your devices/news at the very start of the day. Instead, take time to wake up/stretch/have coffee. It helps to leave your device(s) out of sight in the space, where you won’t normally walk first thing in the morning.
2. Commit to spending at least 1 hour a day in the nature during the weekend walking. Even a short walk in the nature restores our attention and reduces cortisol level.
3. Choose not to eat in front of the screen, and savour the taste of the food or drink instead. Agree with your family on non-screens dinners and find one fresh topic to discuss that is not related to current household situation or negative news.
4. Notice if you are getting rushed or feeling stressed as you use your devices. Is your breath getting more shallow, or do you hold it?This may happen because your brain needs to process to much information or emotions at the same time and isn’t coping. Consider leaving Whatsapp groups you don’t really need to follow or using only one tab instead of multiple ones.
5. Just allow yourself to do less/don't push yourself for some time. It’s essential however that you consciously plan to do what you enjoy (even if the plan is to “do nothing”) when you go on a break. Make sure your time is structured in advance and marked in your calendar, and devices are only used if supporting your plan. Otherwise, you risk to default to keep reading “doomsday” news.
On the same note, fill your time with new experiences - it's the routines that make you feel that time is running fast.
6. Read slowly a good book – 2 pages a day (below some suggested reading). It’s one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Hope you'll have a good break!
Summer reading list on technology and humans:
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power By Shoshana Zuboff
Digital minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore