How much time do you set aside to be quiet?
I mean properly quiet, TV off, phone off, computer off, quiet. There was a time when the only devices people had were books, conversation, and maybe a deck of cards or craft project. Feels kind of unnatural, huh? Would you try it anyway?
Research is beginning to show that being inundated by glowing screens well past sundown is actually harmful. It agitates the brain and interrupts our sleep patterns. That’s why many phones now come with a blue light filter you can set to come on in the evening. Fine, but what if you just park your phone for the night? That idea feels pretty unnatural, too, doesn’t it?
One of the things I’ve noticed since beginning to work for myself is that it’s really important to set boundaries. It’s hard for most of us to switch off as it is, I know I struggled with it even before I left the nine-to-five world. Now, it’s like there’s always something more I could be getting done tonight.
This is why I’ve set myself a new challenge: Peaceful Evenings
Now, I tend to go all in when I get going on something that’s for my betterment, so I start out in Drill Sergeant mode. I make sure my phone is switched off -yes, I turn it off, no, I haven’t missed a damn thing- before 5PM. Bear in mind, I am not a doctor, on call all hours, nor am I a mother (unless fur-babies count), plus, we still have a landline. (If I’m going out, of course my phone stays on, too.) I get it if turning your phone off doesn’t appeal, but like I said, park it. Set up a docking station in your home office/kitchen/entryway and once you put it down there, that’s where it’s stays for the night. Focus on switching gears when you get home at the end of the day.
When evening rolls in create an ambience of peace. Light a few candles, prepare a lovely meal, gradually delete your distractions as you wind down for the night. Try spending an evening just reading a book – I know of a good one! Spend time with the people you care about, spend time caring for yourself, but most importantly, just find ways of cultivating peace. It might feel odd to be quiet, alone with your thoughts, but I promise it’ll be okay. It just takes practice.
When the urge to pop the computer on and do just a little bit more work on something comes up, or when I get the nagging thought that I could be doing x, y, and z, I remind myself that I have done enough today. It helps to keep a notepad and pen handy, in case I come up with new ideas -which happens when I’m not so distracted. I’m not 100% used to it yet, but I know I feel really good, and that means I’m on the right track!