For kids it’s usually a form of punishment but for adults, in this day and age, I think it’s become a necessity!
When was the last time you completely switched off? No phones, no computers, no Ipads, no TV…just you, alone (ha! So to speak!) with your thoughts…if the answer is, ‘I don’t know’ then it may be time to re-asses and think about setting aside regular ‘timeouts’ for yourself and the kids. It’s not easy but if we’ve learnt anything over recent years, it’s that mental health is just as important as physical health.
So how do you go about it? Well I think it’s important to figure out what works best for you. For some people setting up a schedule and ticking it off their to do list works best, whereas for others (like myself) who prefer less structure, simply doing it when it feels right works best. It can be for as little as an hour or even a few days.
Nothing highlights the need to switch off for me more, than when I see our 1 1/2 year old whinging and crying because he wants to play with my phone. Children copy our behaviour so when he sees us with our heads down, staring at a screen of course he thinks that he should be doing the same. Not to mention the lure of the bright, flashy screen…it's like a moth to a flame!
I also think it’s important to keep in mind that taking a break when you need it does not make you lazy or incompetent or whatever those negative, guilty thoughts are that tend to creep in and take over. It’s not always easy to recognise, in ourselves, that something may be impacting on our mind and thoughts negatively until we hit rock bottom. Especially when you’re a parent and your usually already running on empty!
I know what you’re thinking, but what about my business? How can I afford to not be posting regularly on Instagram or blogging etc etc etc. Well my question is this, will your Instagram page still be there when you get back? Uh, I would say so! I’ve seen more and more people announcing on their Instagram pages (yes, this is obviously where I spend most of my time!) that they will be taking a short break to switch off and re-charge. I think the fact that this is becoming more common simply highlights the need to practice it and be more aware of when we need to do so.
So instead of scrolling Insta for hours as part of your ‘quiet time’ at the end of the day, why not read a book instead? Or go for a walk…or meditate...anything that helps clear the clutter and bring back those positive thoughts and balance. The endless scrolling is definitely a habit I would personally like to reduce, but I'll admit it’s easier to say and harder to do! Remember, baby steps!
So if my ranting hasn’t helped to convince you that switching off is not only beneficial but crucial, then maybe this cartoon from Steve Cutts will….