I hope that you are all doing well. A bit of a rambly post from me here. I know that I do post the occasional personal post here and there. I did in the past, speaking a bit about my anxiety. I thought for the new year, I would incorporate a bit more of that. So yes, what is new in your world? It is a new year, and usually every year, I come up with some resolutions. Even bookish resolutions. But this year, my main goal is to Digital Detox. For the month of January, the lovely folks at Penguin Random House Canada have been encouraging people to enjoy life "offline" - more details can be found here! You might be thinking how on earth can I manage that with an "online" blog, but I've been finding that all the time I've been spending offline has allowed 1) more time for reading and 2) more time for reading for pleasure and not simply school/work. And with all that, voila! I plan to bring you all much more interesting, thought-provoking blogging content. I've been feeling better physically and mentally and with that, I plan on extending this Digital Detox beyond the month of January. I want it to be my main goal for the entire year.
So what are some small things I've been up to during this Detox?
1. Breathing and Meditating
Breathing is a no brainer obviously. But I've been enjoying meditation so much month. I usually meditate before my morning begins, or even at my desk at work for about 5-15 minutes (depending on how much time I have). I use an app called Insight Timer - which has guided meditation, but also just a timer if you want to do it unguided. Sometimes, I find it can do it without a guide and just visual certain things. But most of the time, a guided one woks best for me. I like to think of it as a way to check in mentally with myself during stressful moments.
2. Eating Right & Cooking
Personally, I will admit that I've had my fair share of issues with food and eating in general. I've tried so many fad diets and I've always struggled with finding balance in what I eat. I would go on a specific diet for a couple months, obtain the results I want, and somehow that all goes out the window. I used to think that I just didn't have discipline and I entered into a big cycle of self-shaming and guilt. I've since then realized that the diets I was working with were not good for me in general. No wonder they didn't stick! I'm going to be moving in less than two months into my first home with my boyfriend. That is a massive step. It also means I won't be coming home to little special meals from my aunt occasionally. It will mean going to the grocery store myself a lot of the time, and cooking for myself. It will also mean living on a budget and not getting my meals out so often as I do now. This past month, I've gotten a new workspace at school with a kitchen and that has allowed me to experiment with cooking. I've made most of my meals at home this month and I haven't realized until now just how much I love cooking. I've been able to test out easy, fun and healthy recipes. I've been leaning more towards a vegetarian diet which has been great. And I've walked away from the restricted rigid structures of diets and I've just been doing what feels good. It is about becoming more aware of what we put into our bodies and making sure you are cooking something that you will not only enjoy eating and also making.
3. Taking Reading Breaks
I have a full course load this semester, so I have a ton of readings weekly. I also have "deadlines" for certain advanced readers copies that I receive. Basically, there is a lot to read weekly. It is so easy to get burnt out from reading so much because I suffer from book hangovers. It is quite hard for me to "step away" once I'm done a book. It lingers and it takes a while for it to leave my system so I can fully move onto a new text. You can also get into reading slumps like me, where it becomes like homework reading. Reading because you have to, not because you want to. I've recently decided to take Reading Breaks. If I'm not feeling up to reading some days, I simply don't. I'm usually burnt out by reading a lot of my theoretical readings for school, and honestly, it is ok to just "walk" away from reading. It removes the pressure and when you finally come back to read, you will actually enjoy it.
4. Ditching the Laptop
Since I started graduate studies, I made the shift from laptop notes to paper notes. I've been able to recall information so much better this way. I've started doing that with blogging as well. Usually, I read a book, sit down and write the entire review. I've started journalling. I journal for therapy and I've decided to do that for blogging. As I'm reading, I make some points/notes that I want to go back and revisit in my review. I also think journalling in general has been super helpful. It allows me to get all my emotions out if I'm having a bad day, and it is a lot more refreshing than ranting about it online on twitter. I used to be anti-diary/anti-journal because the thought of reading what I wrote before made me cringe. But I simply don't read what I wrote before. I simply turn to a fresh new page and go from there. It is super therapeutic! I highly recommend it.
5. Colouring! Drawing!
We all know how big adult colouring books has gotten. There are colouring books for specific fandoms now which is awesome! I have a Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones one! :D I've been taking some time to colour every now and then and it takes me about 15-20 minutes most days and I just find it really clears my mind and allows me to focus simply on colouring. I also recently picked up some drawing books, specifically anime and manga ones. I used to draw a lot when I was little, but it got harder with me being a perfectionist and not wanting to draw unless it was perfect. But recently, my sketchbook has been filling up and much like the journal, it is super therapeutic. :D
So yes, those are my "tips" or strategies of what I've been doing recently in terms of doing a Digital Detox. Let me know if you have any other tips for focusing more on life "offline" -- I would love to know!