|The Pond on a Sunny Day|
That was for my phone and tablet alone, and didn't count my computer time (which was quite limited last week) or my TV time (which was, in fact, zero*). Although some weeks I spend a lot of time on my computer if I'm working on writing or revising my novels or on academic work, I do try to limit the amount of additional time I spend staring at my phone or my tablet. More typically, my daily average is between one to two hours on the phone and tablet.
Some of the things I do on my phone and tablet are good, useful things. I am learning a second language, and I spend up to an hour on Duolingo doing that each day. I do all my blog reading and commenting from my tablet. I use the map program on my phone to navigate. I keep in touch with groups I am part of via email.
But seven hours is far too much time to spend staring at a little screen. No wonder I have had tired eyes and a slight headache.
I admit it. I have been compulsively looking at news websites for hours every day, reading and watching updates and reports about the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it's good to be informed, I've been overdoing it. It's not psychologically healthy to be as immersed in the pandemic news as I am. It makes me feel anxious and scared, and it eats up time that I could be using in more productive and healthy ways. To get my mind off the pandemic, often I end up watching an episode of a series or some TED talks or author interviews to divert my mind with other stuff. More screen time.
Perhaps some of you are having a similar experience? Sheltering in place, anxious about the future, unable to participate in our usual community activities and groups, and physically separated from friends and family, suddenly we are filling our time with -- what?
|Homemade Soup and Biscuits|
1. Lots of cooking and baking. Using up those items way in the back of the cupboard.
2. Cleaning the house. Goodness knows I am not a housekeeping role model, but cleaning has the useful property of being something you can do that doesn't take a lot of concentration. My house certainly needs plenty of cleaning; it could keep me busy for weeks! The added bonus is that I can feel as if I'm doing something practical related to COVID-19. Doorknobs disinfected.
4. Read a book, an actual physical book. Presently I'm reading Radicalized by Cory Doctorow, which is on this year's Canada Reads shortlist.
5. Start a new project. Rob has been busy in his workshop building a new set of speakers. I have started keeping a daily journal while sheltering in place.
|One of the New Speakers (with Green Baffle)|
7. Yard work. Last week, we had lovely weather, and I spent quite a bit of time in the yard raking up branches and evergreen cones, sweeping the driveway, and digging up my vegetable garden in preparation for planting when the soil warms up a bit more.
|Spring Flowers are Popping Up in the Garden|
|Sweeping the Walk|
|Washing the Truck|
9. Get out in nature. Although sometimes I walk along the streets of the neighbourhood, most days I go out for a short hike on the trails. It is very soothing to the soul to be in green spaces, and to be among the animals and plants as spring makes its glorious appearance.
|Hiking Along the Shore|
10. Meditate or do yoga. Tara Brach does amazing guided meditation podcasts that she makes freely available. Appreciative followers can donate.
11. Play cribbage, card games, or board games with your housemates, or solitaire if you live alone. Rob doesn't play cards or board games, although he'll sometimes play crib with me to humour me.
12. Write an actual letter with pen and paper, and send it to someone special via the actual postal service.
13. Stress eat, guzzle wine, and compulsively touch your face. No. Wait. Don't do any of those things!
You'll notice that I have not included creative writing or painting on the list. Somehow I can't settle my mind enough to concentrate on doing either right now. But I'm hoping that will change soon, as we adjust to this strange "new normal."
Take care, my friends.
*As many of you know, I scarcely watch TV at all. When I do watch a newscast, film, or episode, I usually do it on my tablet, unless Rob and I are watching a movie together.