Why you should turn off your mobile and TV and see what happens - Daxa Patel
A few days back I had one of those days where I finished my day feeling overwhelmed to the point, I could not tackle another email or hear another news bulletin. It is like we are in the merry go land of disheartening and unbelievable events. My jaw dropped when I heard Matt Hancock was going to be on the show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!’. Shocking especially, while the nation prepares itself for the Covid enquiry. This is the same man who was the face of a ‘responsible’ Health minister telling us that they will ring fence and protect our venerable senior citizens but did quite the opposite.
Then for the heart to sink even further, we hear about the Gavin Williamson saga and having seen the WhatsApp messages, one must question who thought he deserved a knighthood? I found myself in a place where I could feel I was ready to collapse. I slammed shut my laptop, put my coat on and took my dog Oscar out for a long walk in the pouring rain. The rain felt good and so did getting wet.
As we walked on Otley Road, I saw people walking home from work staring at their mobile phones, and people on the bus stop again glued to their phones, I felt sorry for all of them. I mean could they not see the beauty around us, the majestic tall trees probably in situ for more than a hundred years, they have witnessed more than us, yet they stand still radiating calmness.
I am sharing this because even someone like me with all my knowledge as a coach can experience uneasiness from the not so helpful information overload.
That day after a two hour walk, we both came home drenched but feeling lighter. I decided I wanted to hold on to that sense of calm, so I decided to ignore my mobile phone. Now, like many, I deal with my emails, my messages on social media sites all waking hours, and then without much effort find myself automatically scrolling down the news apps. However, not doing any of that for just 14 hours till the following morning at 9am felt liberating. It was as though I was given this unexpected gift. I slept well. I woke up ready to tackle the day.
I remember when my dad watched the 10 o’clock news with Alistair Burnett and that was it in terms of catching up with key events. I even remember the days when I did not carry a mobile phone on my person yet, I don’t remember when I became addicted.
As we reflect on the goings on at the COP 27, we also could do with reflecting on how much time we spend unnecessarily getting sucked in by the barrage of pointless information at our disposable. We give into this without much thought as to whether it is good for our mental and emotional wellbeing, but the knock-on benefits of doing the opposite are obvious, if we do not put the TV on, sure we will get withdrawals symptoms, but we will also learn to chew our food mindfully without losing time and energy.
Do you notice when your mobile is not as fast as before because the storage is full? This slows down the functionality of your mobile device, right? Well, we are no different, we are less ‘awake’ and less efficient if we don’t have time out. If you respect yourself, take time out, turn off your mobile and TV, and see what happens.
Daxa Manhar Patel is a solicitor, author and executive coach.