When I was a child, my mum and dad had a rule – well, a few rules actually. But the biggest one was no television during the week. It was a special treat on Friday nights or Saturdays. We didn’t argue because we didn’t know any different.
We also had a ‘no soft drink’ rule, which just meant I grew up not being too interested in television or soft drink. Without TV, I was always busy in my spare time creating things or playing fairies.
Since beginning full-time teaching, the reward of coming home to Netflix was exciting. In my mind, I convinced myself that I deserved it.
The problem is that I was spending so much time in the morning doing everything right – exercising, ticking off my to-do list, meditating, making my bed, drinking lemon water, writing gratitude statements – that I was completely blowing it in the afternoon by taking a completely different lifestyle approach.
It started off innocent and cute, watching a little bit of a show after dinner. However, it soon started to rob me of my innate wish to create, explore and be in nature.
Children have the natural tendency to play for hours on end. However, if they are introduced to television, they quickly become robbed of creativity, imagination and sensory play. This is because they become absorbed in the screen and it interferes with their innate wish to play and explore.
I am constantly learning from children and my definition of pure happiness always leads back to seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
I reflected on the things I used to do instead of watching television when I came home from school. No, my mum can’t come over and make me a chocolate milkshake every afternoon, and it probably wouldn’t be appropriate to play fairies on the Burleigh headland.
But the afternoon after school was full of opportunities and activities. I mean… the day was just getting started!
Now I am not suggesting that you wear yourself out after work every night. However, I am suggesting having a loose itinerary depending on your mood.
What I have started doing is making sure I do four self-care activities every day. In the morning I usually tick off two (surf and write out the three things I am looking forward to in the day) and then in the afternoon, I am left with two.
I have a list of loose options that I can choose from. I created this list based on all of the things that make me happy and bring me joy.
Afternoon self-care options (pick two):
- Have a cup of tea and read a book
- Go for a surf
- Write out three things you are grateful for
- Do some painting or colouring in
- Go for a walk on the beach with the puppies
- Do some yoga and light a candle
- Have a bath
- Do some gardening
- Write some of my book
- Put some music on and cook a wholesome dinner
I have really started valuing my afternoon (after work) time more and rather than writing a strict schedule, my loose options are way more exciting. It also means that I can do things based on my mood and listen to my body more.
I will still allow myself to watch TV (I am learning that the zero or 100 option doesn’t suit my already perfectionistic mindset) however, I am changing my relationship with the little black box.
I am changing my relationship with TV by:
- Sitting at the dinner table to eat dinner (not in front of the TV – except on movie nights because that is SO fun)
- Making sure I complete two self-care afternoon activities when I come home from work
- Stepping out of the exercise, drive, work, eat, sleep repeat schedule and stepping into days that feel whole and full.
I want to lay in bed at night, thinking of all the wonderful things that filled my day. TV robs us of our innate need to move, explore, connect, create, reflect and engage our senses.
Start creating your self-care options- checklist to have a healthier relationship with technology and TV. You’ll start to see the impact it has on your mindset, your relationships, your productivity at work and most importantly your happiness.