Today I stumbled upon this article in the Wall Street Journal:
“Once a week, members of a Wellington, New Zealand, book club arrive at a cafe, grab a drink and shut off their cellphones. Then they sink into cozy chairs and read in silence for an hour.
The point of the club isn’t to talk about literature, but to get away from pinging electronic devices and read, uninterrupted. The group calls itself the Slow Reading Club, and it is at the forefront of a movement populated by frazzled book lovers who miss old-school reading.
Slow reading advocates seek a return to the focused reading habits of years gone by, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans. Many of its advocates say they embraced the concept after realizing they couldn’t make it through a book anymore.”
The article depicts with a very clear example how life has gotten ahead of us: we hurry from one appointment to the next, we eat fast, we cut down information into tiny little snippets so we can take in as much as possible. The world is racing by while we try to adapt our habits to keep up. The result is discussed in magazines all the time: stress, burn out syndrome, depression. Neither the body nor the mind is capable to live the life we force upon it.
I have a regular 9 to 5 job and I work in Public Relations which means that I have to be on high alert to keep up with my job’s demands. In addition I own/work on three websites that need content, clicks and an identity. As a result I have to battle several of the typical stress syndromes such as migraine, anxiety, insomnia.
Still, I enjoy my life and I enjoy all the challenges my job and my different projects offer me! The solution is a rigorous schedule that I’m slowly trying introduce into my high-speed life.
Here are a few key points:
- Take the weekends off.
No hobbies, no blogging, no work. Visit the family, take a walk, read, etc. The weekends are yours!
- Leave work at work.
This is actually a good strategy I’ve learned during University. I was lying in bed, trying to sleep but I was constantly going through dates, battles, names (I studied History), which kept me from sleeping. No matter what’s on your mind, let it go the minute you arrive home. Your work is done. Pick it up the next morning when you enter the office again.
- Turn off your phone.
My work and hobbies are so dependant on social media, and in addition I have accumulated some friends overseas with whom I can only talk to via Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp. It’s very hard for me to stop checking my timeline. My advice: turn off the phone completely. Some phones also have “extreme energy save modes” which only end the internet connection. Another good method is to put your phone into another room. Try one disconnected hour per day, so you can focus on real life.
- Start working out.
Working out is such a great stress reliever! A good alternative is to take long walks. I started taking walks during my lunch breaks and it’s very energizing.