There are many things in life which vie for our attention. Some are easier to motivate ourselves to spend time on than others, and some are more worthwhile for us to do. Mindlessly watching YouTube videos, binge-watching Netflix, doom-scrolling through social media, playing video games, these are things which can easily fall from productive relaxation into addictive overuse, and after a while can eat away at the mind as we think we should be doing something else. Reading a book, giving music undivided attention, journalling, writing poems and stories, playing guitar, these are things which can give as much back to us as we get from them.
These lists are not exhaustive, and the classification of things we do won’t always fit easily into “good for us” or “bad for us.” Like a healthy and complete diet, we must wisely choose how we spend our time, acknowledge when different decisions would have been better, and make them.
For the last two hours, I have done mostly the things on my first list above. I opened and watched a few YouTube videos from village cricket clubs of their latest games, I watched the latest pre-season game of the NFL team I support, and I thought about the walk for exercise with a detour past the local mini mart that I told myself I would do. Now it’s two hours later, and in a few minutes I have a video chat and board game booked in with family. Being that it is winter in New Zealand the sun will begin to set around 5.30pm, so after this catch up with family there will not be much time to get the much needed vitamin D from getting outside. (Even though it is cloudy here, and the sun is not at its warmest, there’s still more vitamin D out there than I’ll get sitting at a desk, inside at my computer!)
I find it easier to decide the things I would like to do than I used to. Reading a few blogs from fellow wonderful bloggers, write and publish a blog post twice a week, exercise regularly, read more, write stories, edit my novel manuscript, play through the Halo video game series with my brother via the wonders of the internet. The next step – which has been the next step for the last four or five months – is to shape the environment around me so I fall into doing these things more often than I don’t. This involves removing distractions, like putting my phone on flight mode, ensuring I eat regularly, as my overactive brain chews through energy even when I’m exercising less, and taking time to be alone with God to orient my efforts in the right direction.
Though the past two hours seem to have been different to my plan, this is not to say today has at all been time poorly spent. Before I settled into a little too much sport and YouTube, I spent time talking with my girlfriend via video chat, sharing stories about travel, childhood sporting achievements, and times we have felt God’s presence in our lives. It was wonderful, and time with her reminds me to slow down and be kind to myself. If I’m not finding the energy to overcome the resistance to do something, maybe it’s not something for me to do right now. And that’s ok.
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What helps you put tools down, take a step back, and assess the balance in your life?
What is one thing you’ve done today that has been for you? Or, if you’ve been re-finding your balance, what is one thing that you can do?
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Sometimes we need to switch into rest mode. Doing nothing is a tough choice to make, even if it is what we need. Being ok with that and getting what we need from that rest can be tougher.
Kia kaha (stay strong) friends, and keep on keeping on being awesome.