For years I’ve been trying to reduce screen time – both my own and the teens’, as readers may recall from the great Xbox out the window drama I wrote about in February. It’s a battle that has been truly lost in lockdown, so much of normal life has now moved online.
These days I actually encourage the teens to facetime their friends – they need that contact for their mental health.
For me, it’s not just my yoga teaching that is now on Zoom and YouTube. In the last few days my online life has included
- an extended family meet-up across three continents
- my local choir (and tonight my book group)
- the monthly community catch-up for teachers of Embodied Yoga Principles
- meditation with a Facebook group of mindfulness practitioners
- Yoga Nidra with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli
- webinars on issues such as breathwork, trauma and managing stress
- a really helpful branding strategy session with Mickey Wilson
Would I have learnt so much and made so many interesting connections if it weren’t for lockdown? Somehow, I doubt it. It’s not just that repeated use means I’ve now got the hang of the technology; it’s also that the cumulative boredom of being at home for two months has driven my mind to look outwards – albeit through my laptop screen.
Baking bread and oiling kitchen worktops isn’t quite enough.
Until recently, I was quite happy to be focused inwards on family, home and garden. On day 1 of lockdown, I wrote in this blog that I was looking forward to finding,
“enjoyment in practical domestic tasks; instead of reaching for a ready meal, we might discover a deeper pleasure from planning what we eat with thought and care; where we have contact with nature, we might notice it with greater attention and treasure its complexity.”
Fifty-one days later, has my hope of “a more creative, appreciative and patient life” come to pass? Yes, in some ways. I have been painting for the first time in 20-odd years; the garden is looking great; I’ve had to let go of control of some things (like children’s sleep habits) that I usually stress about. But it isn’t enough.
It’s not that my mind is restless, but it is hungry. And, as social animals, we humans do much of our learning and growth through our interactions with other people. It’s been nice to be a hermit for a while, but I’m ready to engage with the world again now – even if only through a screen.