Friday, March 1, 2013

Reducing Infobesity

While my rheumatoid arthritis seems to be under control now, I am suffering from a new disease.  It's called infobesity.  I am constantly been feeding my mind with new information that will help my one on one tutoring students, my classroom students, my family's crazy schedule, and life in general.  On top of that, I have discovered tons of awesome blogs and websites that I enjoy visiting.  I also have a podcast addiction.  I listen to them whenever I am alone in the car, which is often, and on walks with Izzy.   In addition, I'm constantly checking and reading emails and Facebook.  Luckily I don't use my Twitter account!  MY BRAIN HURTS.  I have consumed way too much information and it is time for a diet.

I have been reading Mark Sisson's new book The Primal Connection, which I highly recommend to everyone whether you follow a primal diet or not.  In this book, Sisson gives practical ways of getting back to our  primal connections while living in a modern world.  He says,

You are hardwired to be keenly aware of your surroundings.  
Modern Disconnect:  overwhelmed with distractions
Primal Connection:  power down, unplug, and be present in the moment.

During the month of February I started making some changes to rid myself of some of the distractions that were making my brain fuzzy and left me feeling disconnected.  These changes are small, but very powerful.
Limit time online 
While I love posting, emailing, and checking in on Facebook to see what is going on with friends, it has consumed too much of my time.  Once I started limiting my time online, I realized how much extra time I have in my busy schedule. Plus, it is nice to look my kids in the eyes when they are talking to me rather than at a computer screen.  
Move!  
Now that I am away from the computer more, I find myself moving more.  At first I had to make a conscious decision that I was going to move more during the day, but once I did I found I am more efficient at getting chores done around the house and my mind feels less bogged down. 
Meditate
In the past I relied on meditation when I felt really stressed out.  As of February, I have incorporated it into my everyday routine, even if that means only five minutes a day.  This may sound hippy dippy, but this small change has made all the difference in how I experience my days.
Quiet time 
Before I had a smart phone that allowed me to check emails wherever and whenever I wanted and before I discovered pod-casts, I would get into my car after a class and drive home in silence.  This quiet time allowed my brain to process all that happened in class before adding on new information.  I need that time. I also need that time on walks to hear birds sing, the wind blow, and other sounds of nature that soothe my brain.  The quiet time also allows me to connect in a better way with my border collie Izzy.   
Read Books 
To add to my quiet time during the day, I am reading more.  This kind of reading does not involve the computer, but real books.  I don't want to sound old fashioned, but reading a book or newspaper does something different to your brain than reading online.  I think it is the fact that you are more focused.  You know with a book you can't get distracted and go searching for ten other things related to the topic you are reading about.  Plus, laying on the couch with a good book allows you to easily doze off for a little bit.  In addition, I am taking a book with me to work.  I have a thirty minute break between classes and find that reading, rather than searching the web on my iphone, really relaxes me for my next class.
Allow luxuries throughout day
Rather than spending my small amount of free time on the internet, I am now giving myself small luxuries throughout the day.  In the past I might run home during my hour and a half between schools to make dinner and check emails and Facebook.  Now, I put food in the slow cooker in the morning or plan a quick easy meal and spend my time at home doing things like talking with my family or relaxing in the bathtub with Epsom salt.    

Does all of this mean an end to my time on email, Facebook, pod-casts  and my blog?  No way!  I love all of these and feel they bring good things to my life. I have just learned that for me, there is a limit and I have been abusing it.  It occurred  to me the other day that life is like meditation.  You might have a thought, but you have to just let it pass.  Not every thought needs to be explored. Every questions doesn't need an answer.  Sometimes we have to just let our mind experience quiet.  
   

16 comments:

  1. Tell me about it - I'm an internet addict! My internet was broken for 6 weeks and on evenings when I had no plans I found myself wandering about the house, cleaning, reading, doing DIY. Time seemed endless! Haha. I need to learn self control - how do you stick to your limits??

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    1. Squirrel, I can't say honestly that I always stick to my limits, but more and more I am feeling like I want control over my life again rather than feeling like a zombie on the internet. :) I think a six week break would probably be good. Growing up, our TV broke down and my mom didn't replace it for several years. During the time, our family really connected and we learned to do a lot of cool things - sew, cook, time outdoors, etc.

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  2. As always, your post is filled with not only wisdom, but practical things that we can take away (no wonder your students must love you!). Like many things, sometimes we need to take a step back and assess our priorities and how/why we're spending our time. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Carla, thanks for reading and commenting. I think with the internet, it is easy to forget how much time we have spent with it and how little time we have spent with our family.

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  3. I tried to comment but I don't see it here. I have tried diet and exercise to help with my RA and it makes a difference. I'll try most ideas out once anyway, just not cleanses

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    1. Annette, I am with you on the cleanes. Not my thing.

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  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to incorporate this in my everyday, but I'm going to try. Even as my social media time has increased in the past few weeks by necessity. Something's got to give. I think meditation is being moved to the top of the list.

    I can't wait for spring and the weather getting warmer. During the winter, I work to nonstop, but in the summer, I often take an hour outside with book or sometimes, to sitting quietly and listening. I miss that.

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    1. Lene, some days are definitely harder than others. But when you have a day free of social media and electronics, it is amazing how freed up your brain feels. Like you, I am looking forward to warmer days when I can lay in the sun reading.

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  5. I love these ideas. :)

    I notice a direct correlation between my overall happiness and stress levels and the amount of time I spend online or watching television. The smartphone is definitely a culprit! I have gotten a bit better at shutting off the computer and taking time to myself, but I've still got a ways to go.

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    1. Thanks Helen. I agree about the smartphone. It takes up a lot of my time and energy.

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  6. I know what you mean about infobesity. I take so much information in that I wonder how much more my brain will hold. I say I want to take a break from blogging and social media but I never do. I love your suggestions especially the quiet time. Sometimes, it is just nice to hear yourself think.

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    1. Hi Lana. I often wonder how my brain holds it all in too. Perhaps the stress on my body is my brains way of saying it can't handle anymore. And yes, just hearing yourself think is such a nice thing. :) I hope all is well with you.

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  7. Cathy, I was not familiar with the term Infobesity before seeing this post. I learned something new. I am planning on spending more time away from the computer this year but unlike you doing constructive things ... I'm going to do some storm chasing and just going to ride mostly. I enjoy the time spent online but I feel better when I am outside.

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    1. Have fun with those storms Terry. Being outside just seems to be good for the soul.

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  8. I have never heard of it as well until today. Same here, I would like to eliminate extra hours away from the internet and do something useful. Lately I have been very unproductive and internet steals my hours away.

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    1. It definitely does steal our hours. I sit down and hours later realize I am still online. Some days are better than others at being productive and staying offline. Good luck.

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