Yesterday, I decided to take a break from Facebook. I made a conscious decision NOT to post, comment, like, share, Farkle, Family Feud or Bejeweled Blitz. This was strictly from impulse – I was just sitting there, looking at my home page when it hit me that I needed to take a brief sabbatical.
I needed to focus…and Facebook is a distraction. It can be an all-consuming distraction. About a year ago, I exited from Farmville when I realized I was planning my seeding and harvesting in Facebookland around the reality of what was happening in Carltonland. REAL plants die in Carltonland if I don’t take time to water them. Dust collects on coffee tables and under beds in Carltonland. And no amount of clicking on buttons for “coins” is going to fix that.
So I said NO to FB. And last night, it also hit me that I said NO to the news all day, too. I don’t know what happened in the world or the city yesterday…I only know what happened in my world. But because I made a choice, I had a much more productive day. By noon, I had meditated and prayed, did my Wii body test (which I had not done in a few days), wrote a few lines, took a phone interview, ironed my shirt, touched base with some former co-workers, planned my menu for today, dropped off my rental car and picked up my car with the new bumper.
“News fasts” are not new to me. Dr. Andrew Weil, author and physician, first wrote about “news fasts” in his 1996 book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health.
His belief is abstaining from reading or watching the news for a day or week fosters a more positive mental attitude. Sometime after hearing about his book, I noticed something while watching a local nightly newscast. The first 8-10 minutes were dedicated to all the bad news that had occurred either locally or globally. The next five minutes were dedicated to the local weather. The next 7 -8 minutes were dedicated to the world of sports. And if there were any minutes left, the newscaster told a charming or funny story – which was about the only positive information shared during the broadcast. Now, I very rarely watch an entire newscast – I either tune in to watch a specific story or the weather. My news information now comes from NPR or other informative or balanced resources.
We are all so busy and there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Think about what you could accomplish if you removed the distractions from your life and focused on what and who is important. Think about what you can give up for a day, week or month and use that time or space for other things. Here’s a few ideas:
- Ring! Ring! – Caller ID is a wonderful tool. If you’re busy, let your voice mail do the work. Either check your ID to filter calls or just check your messages later in the day.
- Meatless Monday – As a practicing carnivore, it is rare for me to go a day without meat. But over the years I’ve learned to eat like the Mediterraneans do. Instead of preparing a meal centered around a hunk of meat, I’ll add chunks and bits to rice or pasta plus add more vegetables to my plate. And I’ve even tried going meatless for a day and really didn’t miss it.
- Sugarless or Sugar-free Saturday – A friend of mine does a day without sugar. And another friend lost over 30 pounds by removing white sugar and flour from her diet. That’s a tough choice because EVERYTHING we eat has sugar in it. But it can be done.
- Life Unplugged – This one is tough too. You may have to try this one in small steps but try going the whole day without turning on the TV or touching your computer. Give your fingers a rest and go text free for a day — if you need to communicate to someone, try speaking by phone or better yet, in person! And put down the Kindle and pick up a REAL book or newspaper.
- Take the Day Off – Be productive, take a personal day from work and complete something you started but didn’t finish. Confront the inevitable and use the day for something you’ve been avoiding or putting off. Or treat yourself to a day at the movies or spa.
Here’s the challenge: pick a day this week to free yourself and give up something. Fill the void with something healthier or more productive.
Blessings to you, Carlton
http://www.drweil.com/ – Dr. Andrew Weil’s website offers valuable information on health, wellness, vitamins, supplements, aging and other topics.
http://www.meatlessmonday.com/ – Yes, there’s even a website devoted to the initiative of Meatless Mondays to promote better personal health and the health of the planet. Created in association with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, this website features health news, recipes, and toolkits. It also includes links to other websites and blogs.
“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything…whatever is bringing your down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out” Tina Turner
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” 2 Timothy 2:21