The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed a majority of countries across the world to impose lockdowns and orders for quarantine and social distancing. Many of us are finding ourselves at home, trying to manage work and additional household chores. This has increased the amount of time we spend on our devices and blurs the boundaries between our work at home and work-from-home, making life either boring or stressful, or both.
Modern life is lived at the intersection of feeling that the world is changing really fast. There is so much to keep up with constantly, careers seem uncertain and social life and personal relationships are complex to navigate. Add to the mix, an increasingly virtual life where work, friendships and lives are lived online, creates new forms of experience that were unheard of even a decade ago.
Tata Communications’ “Connected World” Report states that 82% of surveyed Indians admit to a ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) when not connected to the Internet, the highest percentage globally. With constant noise in our lives, we feel like we are always on, and never catch a break. To be satisfied with what we do, we must take some time off, very deliberately. Here are a few tips on how to give yourself the gift of time:
Time for oneself is Crucial for your Health
Taking time off for oneself is key to living a healthy life. In times when we are constantly engaged with people around us really or more so, virtually engaging via social media, we need to cut the noise and clutter in our lives to disengage and spend some time with ourselves. This will help you carve out time for reflection and personal growth on your own terms. Carve out non-negotiable time for yourself and use it to know yourself better. This time is not to be spent in learning or skilling up, but just ‘hanging out’ with yourself, doing nothing. Find a quiet space, or go to a park with some greens around to help. Keep your digital devices away.
Keep track of Personal Time
It is crucial to keep track of personal time throughout the day. Especially with Work-From-Home (WFH), what activities you do and how much time do they take out of your day. With no possibility to go out and interact or socialise, a waiting period has been imposed upon us. It is key we use this time to manage our lives better and demarcate clearly how much time is spent on personal and professional goals. This will help you see and re-prioritise your time.
Getting Bored is a Good Start
One of the first ideas with spending time with oneself is a feeling of boredom or anxiety. Often, we need to keep ourselves engaged to not be bored or flip out by the fact that we have nothing to do. In the busy-ness of our lives, we must grow comfort with doing nothing. All our work, places of social interaction, public infrastructure etc are designed in a way to engage and make us do things, or act. Supermarkets for example, use strategies to incentivise a customer to buy. Our phones are designed in a way to make us stay on screens as much as possible. The first step, therefore, is to be okay with nothing to do. Getting used to boredom is a good sign, it means you are maturing and being comfortable in your own skin.
Reflect: Make a personal Vision Board
Alone time can be used to reflect on your day, week or year. Just the way people use vision boards to plan how they want to spend professional time to build capacity and achieve goals, use this reflection time on your personal growth by tracking it well. Use an app or a journal to note down how you felt in the day or the past week- what were your wins and losses, what were your triggers and behaviours you want to work on, and finally, a personal goal you’d like to achieve going forward.
A small exercise like this helps you chart your growth. It also helps to keep a journal if that is a more comfortable exercise and helps you open up more. Writing to oneself can be deeply cathartic.
Cultivate Mindfulness by Doing Nothing
Analysing your actions and behaviours makes you more mindful of your own actions and makes you closer to yourself. Many of us do not find the time to know ourselves fully, and succumb only to others’ expectations or social pressures that decide who we should be and how we must behave.
Mindfulness helps overcome this in two ways. It helps you know yourself better as well as track your actions. Be truthful to yourself because you have nothing to lose - only an opportunity to improve without judgement. Allowing your head some empty space will breed silence and allow reflection. Deep thinking is only possible alone - and must be cultivated actively.
Care of the self
Unfortunately, we’ve come to a place where we need apps and Facebook memes to remind us to drink water. It’s a running social media joke where people don’t remember if they’ve used the shampoo or not in the shower. Taking time out for yourself will help take control back of your mind, body and personhood. It will help you be more present in your daily life and with a good balanced diet and Yoga, will take you a long way. You will be better attuned to listen to your body and mind.