The Post-Social Media World

What has been happening in the Oh Waily world a month and a bit after throwing off the social media shackles?

It has been a wonderful time of not scrolling, checking-in just in case there’s something new, or thinking about every day events in terms of being possible “posting material”.

Surprisingly I have suffered absolutely no withdrawal symptoms, no jitters or urge to rejoin the social media world. The only issue I have found is just how ingrained the habit of entering “Face….” in to my browser address bar was.
It took a few weeks for the finger hovering, almost typing of the address to die down. It’s a testament to just how frequently and habitual my choice of junk browsing was.

No more.

If you are thinking about abandoning the social media world in favour of gaining more time, more interests and more sanity, then I can highly recommend the DELETE option. You will likely not miss it, except in a mindless, habituated way. When bored you might find your fingers hovering over your browser address bar, ready to type the dreaded “F” or “T” to start your journey back to scrolldom. But you will soon catch yourself and realise just what sort of grip the habit has had on you, and what sort of automaton you have become to the infinite scroll and other people’s lives.

WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH ALL THAT EXTRA TIME?

My original goal once I hit the final delete was to resurrect my hobby of cross stitch. That hasn’t totally eventuated yet, but an interesting sideline opened up as a result of that aim. I spent some time and went through patterns, books, fabric and threads in my stash. I threw out a bunch of items that were no longer “my taste” or which I had no use for. Then I set about re-arranging the remaining items in to more user-friendly storage. This set in motion a train of clearing out and cleaning my areas of our bedroom.

In the past month, following that initial effort, I rediscovered and fully embraced an old interest in minimalism. And thanks to the weird, voyeuristic, yet inspiring, world of YouTube minimalism and home cleaning channels I have used my free time to begin to transform our home.

I am the person in our home who has the lowest tolerance for mess, clutter and did I mention mess? So for the past month I have taken the metaphorical bull by his horns and have begun going through the house area by area. I have reorganised my clothing storage and finally donated items that were long, long overdue to leave the house.
I have also been a good little Minimalist-in-process, so far, and haven’t attacked anyone else’s areas or their belongings, just my own.

Recently though I stepped in to our main shared area – the open plan living, dining and kitchen. I removed everything that wasn’t furniture from the living and dining areas and all manner of items from the Expedit bookshelf between them; cleaned everything down and then carefully brought only a few items back on to the shelves. The change was nothing short of wonderful. Like opening a window and letting in gusts of fresh, fragrant air.

Right now I am about two thirds of my way through the kitchen. In a burst of energy I have removed a bunch of unused utensils for donating, cleaned out all of the drawers and a few cupboards. I’ve also re-arranged how we store things. It has only taken three plus years but I think our kitchen storage may now match up with how we use the space. There is still plenty left to do in the kitchen, and around the house, but the gains are coming. Incrementally the house is beginning to feel lighter, cleaner and easier to live in.

At this point I can clearly see the connection between my digital decluttering and my physical decluttering. In fact, in yet another interesting sideline that has happened since the beginning of the year, I have also decluttered my diet and removed many unhelpful options. Unsurprisingly this has had as good an effect on my body as SMExit has had on my mind and the resurgence of my interest in minimalism has had on our living space.
Perhaps I should have chosen “Declutter” for my 2019 word theme instead of “Mindful”.

The only Minimalist-Bully behaviour I have allowed myself to indulge in, so far, has been an insistence that folk clear things up in a reasonable time after finishing with them. My aim in this is to instill the habit of completion in all of us.

How have you been spending your time lately?

Dedicate

I haven’t been taking enough care of myself this year, despite having chosen “Balance” as my word theme. It took until very late in the year to find a way to gain outer accountability for this obliger, but I finally got there. Along the way I took an Obliger Vacation that looked a bit like rebellion at the time, and a lot more like it as time went on.

So today I decided to give myself a final gift of self-care for 2018.

From the start of January I’ll be making an effort to spend the full month taking time out to do yoga every day.
I’m no yogi so I’ll be following along with Adriene from Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She is doing a month long series called ‘Dedicate’.
It’s my attempt to nudge myself towards more self-care and further away from imbalance – literally and figuratively.

If you think you would enjoy doing this too I’ve added a link to the invitation on the image below. And if you would like to chat with me about it as we go along, you can always join the newly created Oh Waily Waily Discord server*.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Holidays. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends, as well as taking time out for yourself too.

And I will see you all next year!


*if you already use Discord just drop me a comment asking for the invite link and I will email it to your comment email address. If you aren’t familiar with Discord but would like to know more this article from Lifewire is a good rundown.

On Habits, part one

Like a lot of people, I struggle to cultivate good habits and break unwanted ones.  And like a lot of people I’ve often thought that my willpower just sucked. Nowadays though I don’t really subscribe to that idea. I came to this conclusion after a lot of reading about how the brain works and how other people approach habit formation.  It’s not my character failing me, but it is my brain’s default behaviour that means habits are hard to make and break. Armed with this idea and a few favourite books I’ve been planning something of a personal overhaul.

The older I have become the more concerned I am that if I don’t address areas of my life that have ‘fallen through the gaps’ in the course of everyday living, the less likely I will be to spend my precious energy on them at all.  This is the ‘I’ve had one cupcake already so the damage is already done’ or the ‘I’m too old to change now’ approach to life. Neither of which I want to indulge in.

I’ve been paring back on a few life-energy grabbing areas and activities in preparation for this rearrangement of priorities. Even as I do so, I feel a modicum of guilt about it. I love the things that are now drifting into the distance and the people I’ve been doing them with.  But it’s time to move on and put me and other areas of life closer to the top of my priority list.  So something has to go.
There, that’s the salve to my conscience about leaving others to do some hard, often underappreciated hard work on behalf of an entire community.

Step One is under way:- Create space by decluttering my time & attention.

The next step, after beginning a re-read of Better than Before and reminding myself of a couple of basics, is to start with some foundations.  The one that I am currently focusing on is Monitoring.

Have you ever wondered why groups like Weight Watchers have you record what passes into your mouth? It’s because of Monitoring. If you record it, you have to face the choice you are about to make.  There is no hiding or ‘forgetting’. It gives you a chance to pause before proceeding. A cooling off period, albeit a short one, that allows you an opportunity to override a possible emotional response with a more considered decision.

In conjunction with monitoring acting as a brake on poor decision-making, it can also provide you with a picture of your behaviour that you were completely unconscious of.  That’s why recording and analysing your spending is a great way to get a handle on all those ‘small’, ‘inconsequential’ purchases that over time add up to a horrible looking credit card bill and awful debt spiral.

In short, Monitoring acts both to inform you of and curtail impulsive and automatic behaviours.

I have always used varying forms of monitoring because I like numbers, statistics and benchmarking. It’s my personality – don’t judge! But usually, the monitoring is for a short-term and with information gathering as its key purpose.  This time I intend to use it to reinforce changes I want to make, as well as stimulate more positive choices.

I already have a regular monitoring practice set up for my morning routine in my bullet journal – a monthly habit tracker spread.

Not only is this a retrospective on how I’ve been doing with keeping to my intended habits, it’s also an encouragement to follow through.  Four Tendency Alert: Obliger in the house.
I know I will be faced with recording my actions each day and the tracker gives me a visual ‘break the chain’ model, which was supposedly conceived by Jerry Seinfield.

I have recently added a Sleep Log to my Monitoring system because I wanted to see just how bad my sleep routine was getting, but at the moment it is just based on an approximation of when I am likely to have fallen asleep as well as the time when I wake up and check the clock.  I’m hoping to improve this approximation with an activity tracker in the near future.  As I’m sure we all know now, good quality and length of sleep is a rather large box to check on the health front, so I want to see what I can do to make an improvement in this aspect of my life.

The other biggie on my hitlist is the twins of healthy eating and exercise.  Due to injury and innumerable well thought out excuses, I have let both of these areas slack off and drop through the gaps of my daily life. September is the start of me chipping away at both of these.  I have booked an appointment with a personal trainer as part of my aim to build accountability into my effort to change these habits, and I have begun to log what passes my lips. I’ve always had an exercise line on my habit tracker, but usually, it’s been the sole uncoloured line.

At this point, starting out, I don’t know if I will be successful in changing the key areas that impact most on my health and wellbeing, but I am going to try. I will use my better understanding of myself and the habit reinforcing techniques I’ll write about here to improve my chances.

If you’re working through a habit change I’d love to hear how you approached it and how it is going.

Thanks for reading.

 

Gold Stars and Happiness Demerits

shooting-star-147722_1280I was catching up with my Podcast listening after the mayhem of February and settling in of this month.  It was while listening to my favourite ladies at the Happier podcast that it occurred to me some mindfulness would be a good thing to add to my life.  And, most importantly, it wouldn’t require a great deal of effort on my part to do.

I thought I would join in with their weekly gold star and demerits by doing my own here.  So, here’s my first entry.

We’ll start off the week with a Happiness Demerit.
Moving house is my demerit for the week.  Not the actual move, or the house, but the aftermath of moving and the sheer volume of stuff that gets accumulated.  Having that accumulated stuff sitting around the place waiting for a home is the demerit.  I’ve discovered that living in untidy or disorganised spaces really adds a large amount of stress to my life – and therefore makes me unhappy.

In the effort to get our home ed back in to a routine I reduced the amount of time I was spending on tidying up, finding new homes and generally getting rid of unwanted items.  And while it’s done a great job of getting our routines back in place, it’s done nothing to make me happy in our new home.  So this week I think I need to intentionally focus on clearing one room at a time, and encouraging everyone else to keep the usual clearing and cleaning workload to a minimum.

Now taking us up from that is this week’s Gold Star.
I’m giving my star to the new curriculum that I’ve chosen for our home ed this year.
It’s working for me on so many levels and the kids are engaged in all the aspects of it so far.  It’s also really nice to have a simple, clear plan of what to cover. Even nicer is the fact that it involves good quality literature, and I’ve been able to indulge in some Book Depository purchasing.  Thanks to the folk of Build Your Library for helping to make this year go along with a nice, gentle routine.