Technology can be pretty amazing. Between emails, text messages, phone calls, carrier pigeons in times of real desperation, we’re able to get in touch with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Through social media, we can keep tabs on everyone from Aunt Beulah to Megan’s-boyfriend’s-sister’s-niece-you-met-that-one-time. Nearly anything you could ever wish to know can be found out with a quick Google search. Armed with a trusty iPhone, we quite literally have the world at our fingertips.
The not-so-amazing flip side of being able to contact anyone, anytime? They can contact you, anywhere, anytime. Brunch dates with friends get interrupted by persistent text messages and alerts. A long day at work gets even longer when the ping! of an email reminds you of an impending deadline; “off the clock” is no longer relevant. Convenient, when you need an answer from someone ASAP, but being available and on the receiving end of relentless carrier pigeons can be exhausting and overwhelming, to say the least.
So why don’t we just silence the phone, unplug the laptop, ignore it all? For one: the expectations. We’ve become so used to this 24/7 availability, it’s like there’s a taboo in shutting off. God forbid, someone has to wait on a response. And two: the FOMO. We’re so afraid of missing out on something important, or falling out of the loop on the latest news (or gossip, admit it).
Expectations and FOMO be damned; here is your unofficial permission to unplug from all that external noise. Give yourself a break from it, at least for a few minutes each day. I guarantee: nothing terrible is going to happen if that text message sits unread for an hour or two. And while you might be last-to-know on the latest scoop, being so caught up in everyone else’s lives might be causing you to miss out on some of the important things in your own life.
When was the last time you really took some time to check in with yourself? To see where you are and what you’re feeling – physically, mentally, spiritually? This is what gets lost when we’re so tuned in to what’s going on around us; we tend to tune out the internal messages and alerts.
At the beginning of each yoga class I teach, I invite my students to “find what feels good” in their practice. I mean this physically, but mentally as well. For some people this is the only time during the week they get to reconnect with themselves and tune in to what’s going on internally. During yoga class, away from the digital distractions, it’s easier to do so. Without the influence of external sources, we can more clearly listen to our thoughts and opinions. We have the chance to acknowledge and feel any emotions we’ve been ssshhh-ing all week, and we can notice any painful or achy body parts that we’ve been willfully ignoring.
Outside the yoga studio, it’s a little bit harder to find that same connection. It can be hard to find a quiet moment to ourselves amidst a busy workday. Shutting off all the devices might not an option, so we have to try a little harder to tune in to our inner frequency. But listen closely, and you’ll hear whispers from your body; letting you know when it’s tired, hungry, flu-ish, whatever. Notice these sensations while they’re still whispers, and they won’t have to turn into loud wails of exhaustion, hanger, and illness.
It’s important to check in with yourself mentally as well, of course. Sometimes we set aside our true feelings because we’re “too busy to deal with that right now”, but we’re not doing ourselves any favours by bottling up that emotion. Like the physical body, your mind can only whisper for so long before it has a hissy fit. Make a habit of noticing what’s going on in there, and let yourself feel whatever feelings come up. Stay true to yourself. You’re only human; you’re allowed to be sad, happy, angry, all of it!
I have more I want to say about this, but the words aren’t flowing from my brain to fingers right now. Check back and I’ll hopefully have another blog update soon…?
Namaste, much love, all the good things