Can you believe that January is almost over? If you’ve started the year on a quest to reclaim your time, energy and attention, you’re not alone. On any given day there are a million things vying for a bit of our mental space and there is a constant nudge to be anywhere else but in the present. Our phones are a pretty easy distraction and whether social media is your thing or you just have an affinity for making Pinterest boards; there can be a real need to unplug from time to time. January does not have to mark the beginning and the end of more productive habits for your life. The next time you want to reach for your phone to scroll your free time away, try a few of these things out first.
Make a list.
This can be a list of just about anything: new things for your home, places you’ve always wanted to visit, hair colors you want to try or people you need to catch up with. The list could even be a few reasons why this time away from your phone could be useful. Whatever subject you choose, it’s a better mental exercise than doom scrolling.
Do the thing you’ve been procrastinating on.
All of us have at least one thing that finds itself on our to-do list time and time again. When you’re tempted to distract yourself, give that thing a once over and try to complete it. Send that email, finish that grant application, make that mood board for the new way you want to appear on IG—do it now, not later.
Books are a great way to escape into a life other than our own in a healthy way. A good book has the potential to boost your mood, teach you something new and/or simply entertain you. You can even fire up one on Audible if you’d rather hear your story than read it.
Write a love note to yourself or to a friend.
We don’t romance ourselves quite enough. We are often pushing ourselves to be something different or better and can fail to truly admire all the things we already are. Writing a love note to yourself can be a great use of your time that will help fill your self-love cup. Or if you have a friend who has forgotten their light, try writing one to them. It can be a lovely and welcomed surprise.
Take a walk.
Yes, even if it’s cold. A walk is not only a grossly underrated form of exercise, it is also a perfect opportunity to clear your mind. Heading out of your home and into some fresh air with no destination or purpose can be all you need to feel connected to the world outside of your home, office or usual surroundings.
Whether it’s a quick yoga flow or just a few of your favorite stretches, this can be an easy and gentle way to connect your mind and body in the present. Often when we are at rest in our bodies, our minds feel that they must fill the time with a sense of connection, hence, why social media seems so comforting after a day of working or solitude. Stretching is a good way to remind yourself that you are one with yourself.
Sometimes our minds need space to just wander. Often times, our best ideas come when our minds are able to just rest and journey without being influenced by the thoughts and influences of others. Give your mind the freedom to explore in the silence.
Listen to an album from your childhood.
Remember when we would listen to albums in their entirety? Not skip to songs we heard on TikTok or simply add a track to a playlist but really experience an artists’ complete vision for the story they wanted to tell. If you had an album that meant a lot to you when you were growing up, take some time to revisit it—you’ll probably find that it takes you back to a very happy place.
Sit with your feelings.
A lot of our need for escape is connected to our discomfort when it comes to feeling the feels. Most of us spend a lot of time trying to conceal what our true emotions are from ourselves and from others. Our phones have become a seemingly safe form of escapism that does not come across as destructive; however, our failure to sit with our own feelings starts to spill over into other areas of our lives, little by little.
Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Have you ever just lost touch with someone? Life, responsibilities, change in location…a global pandemic! So many things can affect the relationship we once had with someone but taking the time to reach out and catch up can be a necessary and pleasant trip down memory lane.