I admit it. I am completely addicted to my cell phone; don't tell anyone, but Candy Crush is my guilty pleasure. Logically I know this is unproductive, but like any addiction, it's hard to quit cold turkey. Not to mention the poor example I'm modeling for my fourteen year old. How can I expect her to put the phone down and pick up a book if I won't?
We're living in a world of information overload. Whether it's TV, radio or Facebook, we are bombarded with information all day long. Most of the time it's the same information over and over. And don't get me started on the stuff that's just plain ridiculous, like this Tide Pod craze. It's hard to imagine a time without electronics, text messaging or social media. But for hundreds and hundreds of years, our ancestors survived just fine without a Facebook profile.
In the early 1900's technology started to change the way people listened to music. The invention of the player piano, and later the Victrola, made it possible for people to listen to music in a more passive way. But before then, people would gather around the piano or in the parlor to sing and play music. We had a taste of old fashion entertainment this past holiday season when we had a few piano colleagues over one rainy, cold evening. Ray built a fire in the fireplace, there was hot cocoa on the stove, and everyone was gathered around the piano playing and singing Christmas carols. It was a welcome change of pace.
Music was just one of the ways the people of a time gone by spent their leisure time. Reading, dancing, or visiting with friends were some other ways they stayed busy and connected. When I think about it, it sounds quiet and peaceful, something I crave when I feel overwhelmed with too much information.
I'm hoping this year we can all try to spend less time on the phone and more time doing things that will challenge our bodies, minds, and spirits. Here are five of my favorite cures for information overload that I have been trying to incorporate little by little!
1. Read a Book. One of my favorites. Just like the internet, you can find a book on anything and everything in book form! Make a cup of something hot and yummy and curl up with a good book.
2. Get Some Exercise. Nothing makes me feel better or cures my information overload like getting some exercise. I like to go for long walks and do yoga, but the choices are endless! Find something you and enjoy and commit to doing it three times a week.
3. Have a REAL Conversation with a REAL Person. When I get busy, I will often opt for a quick text to check in on friends instead of calling or meeting face to face. Nothing can replace having lunch or coffee with a friend and just talking. Text a friend today and make a lunch date for this week!
4. Volunteer. Whether it's at a school, church or local community organization, spending time helping others is good for the soul.
5. Learn Something New. Finding a new hobby or learning something new, especially something you enjoy, can help relieve stress. It's also an opportunity to meet new people who enjoy doing the same things you do. The possibilities are endless; you can learn a new language, take a dance class, sign up for a cooking class, or dare I say - learn how to play the piano!
What are some ways you unplug from information overload?