More silence and time alone seem extremely daunting. It’s so tempting to cram our days with devices and any activity to distract us and fill the ‘waiting time’. In our current ‘isolation ‘ we are more reliant on devices and distractions then ever. It may be a means to occupy our kids, a time-filler or merely a distraction from what’s happening at this time in the world. But failing to give ourselves time-out, we are all at risk of losing the ability to reflect on who we are, the values that we hold and what’s important to us.
In my every day I use distraction as a coping mechanism to better manage my pain. However, over time I realised that I needed to incorporate more solo activities in my routine to ensure that I remained grounded. My regular yoga sessions or listening to an audiobook are definitely ‘time-out’ activities. However, I know that I also need time in my regime where it’s just me and my thoughts. Going for a walk or riding my trike or meditating – are three activities that I see as essential in making sure I reflect.
Devices are also a massive part of my newfound lifestyle. Technology is how I have adapted my needs to communicate and connect with the world. My iPhone, laptop, orcam reading device and iPad are also vital to use in my working life. But I have become too reliant on these at times. It’s when I’ve left my laptop charger or a certain device at home that I’ve actually felt unreasonably desolate and stuck.
During this pandemic, there’s an added need to spend time on devices (i.e connecting with others on Zoom or FaceTime). However, it’s vital for our mental well-being that we weave in ‘time-out’ to think. Cramming our days with devices is also robbing us of a loss of slowness, contemplation, reflection and solitude.
Today I went on a trail trike ride. I was dumbfounded to realise that it was a relief to be alone. Just me and my thoughts. Initially, perplexed at my need for silence when in my newfound ‘isolated’ world I had so much solo-time. After reflecting on this I became aware that the unstructured silence was such a big relief. It was even more empowering that I’d made the choice to be in isolation.
Whilst we want to ‘kill time’ especially when experiencing uncertain paths, we also need to incorporate time-out in our day. How can we learn from the difficulties we are facing without incorporating this time to reflect? Perhaps rather than jam-pack your life with activities and distractions, try to incorporate some stillness in your routine. Time without a set task and device helps us to remember and reflect on our thoughts and purposes. It also is essential in sparking our creativity, playfulness and innovation. Let’s start by spending just five minutes in silence without any external stimulation.