Weekend Read: How do we stop inviting the trauma in?

This is not an anti-social media post. This is a PRO-self investment post! Get on the comment feed and tell me what you do to reengage with the world and reconnect with yourself – I can’t wait to hear from you! Happy reading!

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[If I asked you “what brings you joy?” what would you say?]

We live in a hectic world. You wake up to breaking news, you have your day interrupted by tragedy, you might even stay up late reading about problems in the world that are erupting everywhere you turn. Eventually, you emotionally burn out. You put the phone on the table and look up. But then what?

**

You are sitting on the couch or in bed at the end of the day and you are exhausted, strung out, fatigued.

The TV flicks on and you binge on violent, explicit, dramatic, angry and intense shows and movies. At the same time, Facebook gets pulled up and you scroll mindlessly across people’s lives, their joys, fears, anger, stress, holidays, posed and filtered photos… once you hit content you have already seen, it’s straight to Insta… then Twitter… then Snapchat… and on it goes.

You look up and its 9, 10, or 11pm. You are exhausted but you haven’t moved in hours. You feel strung out and like you need to move but you are falling asleep where you sit. You sluggishly make your way into your bed (if you aren’t there already) before realising that you are now wired and couldn’t possibly sleep.

You sit and scroll past ads or reviews of books you wish you were reading, you click ‘interested in’ events you know would love to attend but know that you never will, you feel jealousy at others on their beautiful holidays and feel trapped even though you have all the control around your own actions which then makes you angry that your actions aren’t “better” somehow.

You look up from your phone into the darkness of the room. You are bleary eyed, confused, maybe a little hungry, trying to work out what happened. Then you see the time. Shit. Now you are stressed that you are only looking at four hours of sleep before the alarm is going to go off. You are meant to be waking up to go to the gym/meet a friend for breakfast/do your mindfulness/write in your gratitude journal/get a head start on a busy work day and all of a sudden you feel a sense of panic wash over you.

You are going to be exhausted. You are going to be cranky! So you turn your alarm off or push it back to your regular wake up time before falling asleep in a slump of exhaustion. You wake up feeling lost and out to sea and when you sit down at your desk all you can think of is what you were supposed to do that morning but you slept through instead. Now you’re mad at yourself, you’re even weirdly mad at everyone on Facebook, as if you were forced to scroll. You are sad that you never make time to invest in yourself.

You get to lunch and when you sit down your phone comes out and the cycle starts repeating itself, this time it’s ahead of schedule and you’re going to be distracted all afternoon after seeing a horribly violent news story in your Facebook feed.

**

WHAT ARE WE DOING TO OURSELVES?!

[If I asked you “what is your hobby?” what would you say?]

When we are constantly letting other people choose what we see (people sharing videos and news articles and algorithms spitting out what you are predicted to like) we feel out of control because we are. We aren’t choosing what we see, we are just being exposed to things that others have pushed towards us. It is not empowering, it is not even particularly engaging.

**

BUT JANE, WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME?!

I want to encourage you to reclaim your hobbies!! Maybe that is movie watching – but can you make it through a movie in your house without looking at your phone? But maybe your hobby is drawing. Maybe it’s jogging. Maybe it’s woodworking – I don’t know, it’s your bloody hobby!! But if the scenario above resonates with you, and you feel hollow and empty at the end of your night, I can tell you for a fact that reclaiming some time for yourself will go some way towards filling yourself with joy.

We choose how we engage with the news. With other people. With ourselves. So let’s have respect for ourselves, for others, and for our time. When you see someone’s holiday photos you should be able to feel joy for them, not jealousy, because you have filled your own time with things that make you feel joy.

**

Last year I realised that I was not doing something that has always brought me intense joy: reading and writing.

I have always written diaries. I have always devoured books, sitting for hours and hours just churning through stories. Thinking about it, I realised just how much time in my day I was spending staring blankly at a show I’m not that invested in. Just how long I spend scroooolling scrolling scrolling down my social media feeds.

So now, about an hour before I want to sleep I stop engaging with my phone, wrap up what I’m  doing, go do the nightly routine and make my way to bed. Then, once in bed, I read until I feel relaxed and sleepy, then without checking the time I turned the light off, roll over, and relax until I snooze.

Bliss.

I sleep better. I wake more relaxed. I feel like I empty my mind of my worries and get carried away in a story not my own off into my dreams.

**

[If I asked you “are you happy with how you spent today?” what would you say?]

 

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2 Replies to “Weekend Read: How do we stop inviting the trauma in?”

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