The last few weeks have been cray. From hosting a steady stream of impromptu house guests, connecting with potential clients, interviewing, working my gigs, coming to terms with the end of a complicated situation, and navigating the stress and family fallout from my grandfather dying, whoooo girl. It’s a lot for one person to deal with and still make time for wellness. I took a lil break.
So what happens when you decide to limit your “engagement” with non-essential people and things? Well, people fuck with your peace. Folks will hunt you down. When you don’t respond to an entitled person’s DMs they’ll message you on FB. And, when they see the little check that lets them know you saw their message and didn’t respond, they will message you again (and if you’re me, you’ll forever not respond just to be an ass).
When you respond to emails telling someone you can’t work on the raggedy project they’re trying to dump on your lap because you’re grandfather just died and you’re dealing with family stuff, in an asshole-ish manner they extend condolences, and still email you the details of the raggedy ass project like you give a mother fuck. People will text and call you with the dumbest of shit (“my boyfriend keeps leaving the toilet seat up”). Your anxiety will reach, “leave me the fuck alone before [insert very bad thing here]” levels. You might consider blocking people just so you can have peace. What’s up with these people who want unfettered access to you? Assholes.
But some good stuff happens too! I had time to take more indulgent baths with my favorite lavender salts. Hell, I even went into the bathroom without bringing my phone! (Somebody pat me on the back for this please). I started going to bed earlier and got used to waking up feeling…omg, rested! Who knew that it was possible to wake up without bitterness in your soul because you’re functioning on 2 hours of sleep? Being too plugged in was responsible for my 3 a.m. bedtimes, not night owl-ism.
During this “off” time I’ve cooked more meals (well, I made a lot of sandwiches. Same thing.). I visited my local library and remembered how good it felt to be in a quiet place with real books. Books on topics that can’t be condensed into 10 Reasons Why Blah Blah Blah posts with cute gifs. And you know what else? I don’t know the latest happenings in celebrity gossip, hotepery, or racism-still-exists-Twitter. Oh, the serenity.
The point of me scaling back wasn’t to be productive either. I didn’t work on my podcast, or non-essential commitments that don’t pay my bills. We don’t need to only carve out time to do more work; being intentional about putting a little joy back into your life is more important to me.
There are a zillion and a half articles about FOMO, how cell phones are screwing up our sleep, and how we don’t know how to have F2F conversations with other humans because we’ve turned into digital dipshits. We already know this. But knowing it intellectually isn’t the same as feeling it in your spirit. And I feel so different. My head isn’t clouded. I’m not bombarded with every manner of idiocy, outrage, or critical analyses. I don’t feel pressure to keep producing.
I’ve taken digital breaks before, and I’ve always felt better after. Every time I take one I’m all, “that’s it, I’m limiting my Twitter use to x number of hours a day/week. I’m taking my life back!”, and of course I’m back to getting them tweets off (and I will be getting them off again soon because, come on, it’s fun).This time feels different though.
I’m setting limits on my email response hours, daily hours of twitter usage, putting DND hours on my phone, and ignoring private messages that ain’t really about shit. You might wanna give it a try and see how much more joyful life is.