An Oasis in the week
We live in the age of the internet of everything, in the midst of the data mass that is the web. We have become absorbed by this connectivity; but does that give us ultimate control, or does it actually control us?
Do we think enough about the effect on our lives of this constant engagement with the switch on? The ubiquity of the mobile phone, the tablet, TV, Alexa/Siri, Twitter, Facebook et al. The relentless personalisation of contacts, the competitiveness of access for the TV, the concerns over streaming, the interaction with strangers across the world, whilst ignoring those in the next room. The relentless bombardment of news, whether new or not, and the irritating sense that we are forever missing something…
Worst of all is the immediacy of checking emails and social media at all hours, the pressure to clear the backlog of the inbox at night, to check again first thing in the morning.
The weekends merge with the week into a continuous stream of activity, or rather being on edge the whole time, too stressed to sleep properly, increasingly caffeinated and anxious.
The human body and especially the mind needs downtime. That’s why we are programmed for a third of our lives to be asleep – if you don’t get enough sleep all sorts of problems cans occur, both physical and mental. And if you have too much stimulus before trying to sleep, then sleep won’t do its job in healing the body and mind from the trials and tribulations of life.
The stress that this creates creeps up on you unnoticed until it becomes all encompassing. Stress is insidious; you start to believe that you can’t live without it, that you need the merry-go-round to go ever faster. And that, without doubt, is the time you need to do something dramatic and take a step off.
So, what is the cure for this dilemma, how can there be a solution to the modern age contagion?
Well funnily enough, the solution is as old as the hills, or rather as old as the book. Yes, I mean that book. The answer is called the Sabbath and before you ask, you do not need to be religious in any way in order to take advantage of the magical benefits that the Sabbath bestows.
Six days of creation and on the seventh day he rested – an Oasis in the week. Whether parable, metaphor or guide to life, a day of rest can only be a good idea. Allowing time for the body and mind to de-stress, to reconnect with social in person rather than through the ether, to have a change of pace and restore the inner being.
This is not so much a day to pray, more an opportunity to stop being preyed upon by the relentless whirl of the everyday electronica.
So just pick a day, switch off everything, power down, gather friends and family around, and start talking to each other. Give yourself the benefit of your own stay-at-home health plan.