Last Sunday I decided to have a genuine slow day. I didn’t even check the emails although I will confess to posting a few tweets and looking at facebook. But to me that’s fun!
It was a sunny day so for the first time in months one could sit outside and soak up some sunlight whilst reading a book. It occurred to me that we used to have a hammock but it must have broken and ended up on the council pick up. Failing that I lay down for a snooze on the trampoline. Not quite as comfortable as a hammock but you make do with what you have.
It was at this point that I started wondering what people did with their time in days gone by. Days before you could be entertained by switching on the TV or radio let alone days before the Internet, mobile devices and social media.
Were days just full of work and drudgery? No doubt people worked longer and physically harder than today. Yet much work nowadays is mentally tiring. This can be more taxing that physical tiredness.
The other thing that gets tiring is the constant bombardment with things that don’t actually affect us but that so many of us feel the need to have an opinion on. Arnold Schwarzenegger has released his autobiography. Surprise, surprise, he fesses up to various affairs. Are we supposed to be shocked? Are we supposed to care? I suspect that we are supposed to buy the book.
Meanwhile offensive comments made about the Prime Minister by a “shock jock” at a ticketed event gets blanket coverage. It got more media mentions than any other story this week! Do we really need to know? Is widely publicizing such comments going to make them less hurtful to the person concerned? I don’t think so. But it does mean lots of people build up a head of steam and raise their stress levels.
I have rarely seen so many people frothing at the mouth. And the (to me anyway) hilarious thing is that those who took the most umbrage often made comments equally as derogatory in return. Go figure.
In years gone by we really only found out about events that directly affected us. Happenings in other towns, let alone other countries would not be on our radar. There is no turning back time. The Internet has made the whole world an oversized village where we can all know everyone’s business.
So what can be done to reduce our stress levels particularly about that which is not our business.
The “trick” then becomes selectivity. We need to be more selective in what we read, watch, follow and indeed what we get involved in. As part of a health regime nowadays a news blackout where you just don’t read, watch or listen to any news can be a worthwhile exercise. This is to reduce your exposure to stress and negativity.
A week’s blackout may be a bit extreme for some but could be the modern equivalent of getting away from it all whilst not going anywhere. Failing that just tune in only to that which actually interests you or have mini blackouts of a day now and then if you don’t want to go a whole week. The other alternative, if you can manage it, is to practice detachment. Follow events but do not emotionally engage. Simply be the observer without making any moral judgment.
We all have busy lives. Our health is impacted when we get overloaded. The twin strategies then are to actively manage how you respond to that which does not involve you and, to go back to the beginning, making time to just do nothing.