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Precious time

One moment you will be checking a mail on your smartphone when suddenly a message will pop up, a request and so you start checking your calendar or checking google for a detail and then a meme comes up that makes you laugh or the latest dreadful headline that will make your eyes start with tears... before you know it you have been on your phone for over an hour. Wherever did the time go?

Its a scenario we are all so well acquainted with in this day and age. How time consuming are the pixels of our phone? Not real life is how I like to regard it these days. I stopped reading the news for a few months before the pandemic outbreak. There was something freeing about not knowing ( ignorance is bliss sometimes). What experts call micro stresses from surfing horrible headlines can really drain the best of us. Many of us unfortunately look at our phones first thing in the morning. Most headlines are stress inducing. So at the start of what could be a perfectly good day, we are feeling downhearted and anxious thanks to the scrolling of bad news ( unfortunately there hasn't been much good news these days).

Sleep without your phone

Mornings are a good time to set yourself up for a good day. These days I do not have my mobile near my bed. Its parked in the kitchen, so there is no chance of me reaching for it if I should wake up ( which is a natural thing to do) in the middle of the night. We humans wake up at night to check all is well before drifting back to sleep. Grabbing our phones to check the time will only send a message to our sleep hormone to decrease its secretion in our brain ( melatonin is released by the pineal gland) as soon as the light of the mobile hits our eyes. Our brain will think its time to wake up. So my best advice is to remove your mobile from your bedside at night and buy yourself an old fashioned alarm clock.

I promise you, a good nights restful sleep is a prerequisite for us to feel good the following morning!

I often suggest to patients to start their day with some yoga stretches, prayer, journal writing or meditation. I also recommend they drink their morning tea/ coffee by the window of their homes and look up at the sky, and if you are fortunate to have a garden then use it.

Look up

Sometimes all we do is look down, at our feet or at concrete or others. Sometimes just looking up at even an unremarkable scrap of sky can give us some form of balance. Here I am, small person in this massive universe.

A young mum found that she had no time for herself until I suggested she just wake up an hour earlier than the rest of her family. It was a total game changer. These days she wakes up alone to enjoy her solitary bowl of muesli on the balcony wrapped in a blanket. She says it has given her time to plan her day, think how she wants it to play out and what she would want more of, be it calm, peace, love... She is a big believer that if you smile at the world, it will smile back. The quiet space she has created for herself means she can give more to her family without feeling stressed. Look after yourself first, that way you will have more to give to the people that really matter.

So many of us are overstressed because of poor sleep, the constant online(ness) of our lives is wrecking our sleep and our mornings. Just slowing down and being aware of how the little smartphone in your hand could be stealing your time and essentially real life from you is a total game changer.

Slow down and breathe

Its simple advice. Try it. Just try shaking up your morning routine to one where its not just the habitual reach for phone, rush to work etc, but one in which you slow down, breathe deep, look up and plan how this day, this one day which will never return to you again will play out.

Time flies and none of us have time to waste it.

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