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 have 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.  
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. 
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 question doesn't need an answer.  Sometimes we have to just let our mind experience quiet.