Ever felt so guilty about taking time out for yourself that you’ve Googled a way to stay ‘in the zone’ during time out? Lea Rice is here to tell you that you can’t hack your me-time.

I cannot believe the title of an email that landed in my inbox the other week. It was a link to a blog post entitled, “How to go on a digital detox – but still stay informed”. 

WHAT IS THE POINT?

I am already having trouble sleeping because, despite a dire need for a long, good-quality sleep, Donald Trump keeps waking me up in the middle of the night.

I worded that terribly and realise context cannot be overrated here – just to clarify; learning about what he’s doing as President is keeping me up at night. He’s not been tucked up next to me with his Ovaltine. Vom. Moves towards triggering Article 50 and Brexit are also having a similar effect on me.

hack your me-time american trump protest

Surely, in such worrying and uncertain times, the idea that anybody should stay informed during self-care efforts is an unhealthy thing to suggest? You are not duty bound to stay informed, so don’t. Prioritise you – there are some really good reasons why you should never try to interrupt that much needed peace.

Trying to cheat or hack your me-time is so bad for you

I’m talking both mentally and physically.

If you’ve ever suffered from high stress or anxiety you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say your brain is like a saucepan of water on the boil. The lid may have a little gap to let pressure escape, but really the key to not boiling over and ruining the stove is to control the temperature of the main pot. Give it too much fire and leave it that way, and all hell breaks loose.

The point of that soggy analogy is that you have got to exercise control over the stuff that consciously or sub-consciously worries you. Mental health experts have spoken endlessly about moderating time spent online – where you can compare yourself to someone’s seemingly perfect life and where you learn things you’d rather not – to benefit your mind. If you don’t, your thoughts all-too-soon become a flurry of terror.

As for the physical effects? The stress of information overload during uncertain times can affect so much you didn’t think possible. Just a few symptoms that you’re in desperate need of a break from everything include:

  • Sleep deprivation / over-tiredness
  • IBS-like signs (diarrhoea, digestive cramps)
  • Non-existent immune system
  • Eye strain, headaches and migraines
  • Nausea

No one wants these. Do the right thing for mind and body and switch off completely for however long you think you need to.

Reality check: You don’t actually matter

I mean, you do, of course you matter to those around you and the things you actively dedicate your time to.

But if you’ve lost an hour of sleep because you’ve checked up on Parliament’s latest instead, Theresa May and Donald Trump won’t pause on their next fuck up to give you a break.

The world will continue to spin – don’t sacrifice this precious, healthy time out just to catch up with a never-ending process. By the time your digital detox is over, last night’s political moves will probably be old news. You’re not really missing anything. Get back up to speed when your brain is good and ready to approach it mindfully.

hack your me-time girl doors

I feel bad for saying you don’t matter now. You matter to me and we’ll get through this together. Hugs.

This is how social media addiction starts

…And you know it.

Click to Tweet

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and internet addiction are real things often triggered by a relentless need to know every detail of what’s going on in the world. Stop instilling the fear – at the very least, put your phone down 30mins before bed to stop blue light interrupting a restful night’s sleep.

Replace check-in times with healing practices

I confess, my sleepless nights have largely been brought on by my usual habit of checking Twitter from my bed each evening, hence it’s more important than ever to properly switch off before going to sleep (even more important because I spend my entire day in front of a laptop screen). 

hack your me-time girl doors upside down phone and clock

Now, my routine goes something like this:

  • Pyjamas on
  • Wash face and brush teeth. Pee if I’m feeling fancy.
  • Spray my pillow with sleepy spray (I love the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray)
  • Read ten pages of my book.

Easy, low maintenance and involving no Trump stalking whatsoever. Bliss.

Is the world moving so fast that you feel guilty for disconnecting? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.

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