Do you feel like if you might scream if you have to read one more email, attend yet another meeting online or answer another group text message? If so, then I feel your pain. I was right there with you a week and a half ago. I managed to complete my workdays without taking anyone’s head off, but then I realized, for me, it was time to unplug.
I’ve heard that unplugging for just 24 hours can be beneficial and can help people feel more centered and grounded in the present moment. But gosh, it seems harder than ever to unplug, right? We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are being forced to attend more virtual meetings than ever, order online more, stream everything, and text everyone that it seems impossible to avoid technology. But maybe this is the perfect time to do it.
A 2011 study from the University of Maryland demonstrated that when students unplugged from technology, they spent more time with friends and family, got more exercise, and cooked and ate healthier foods. That all sounds pretty good.
This past weekend, I left my phone alone, chose a paper book over my e-reader, avoided the video game console, and just let my brain relax. It wasn’t easy. I had to bow out of my weekly family Zoom meeting, miss an installment of a TV show I’ve been watching, and (sigh) put on my reading glasses to read, but think I ultimately benefited from it. I got lots of spouse and cat-time and some daydreaming in, got a bit of extra sleep, and crossed a few chores off my list. It was worth it.
So, how about it? Unplug for a day and see how it makes you feel. I won’t even be mad if you read my blog post a day late.
This week I’ve not only made my way through a whole novel, I loved it! Oh, and I am currently reading and enjoying a second. I don’t want to jinx it, but maybe my “cold” stretch of picking duds of books to read (and/or not having enough staying-with-it-ness to, well, you know) is over…but I sure hope so!
The book I loved was Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by Kate Racculia. Tuesday is 33-year-old researcher who lives in Boston. To the outside world, Tuesday is an antisocial weirdo who got stuck in her goth chick days, but in her head she has ongoing conversations with the ghost of her best friend Abby, who disappeared when they were 16-year-olds in Salem. Tuesday breaks out from her solitude when a dead eccentric billionaire’s will is made public, inviting the citizens of Boston to participate in a macabre search around the city to compete for his hidden treasure. She can’t resist going in and neither will you. This book has it all: mystery, madcap adventure, Oujia board-wielding teenagers, mistaken identities, witty banter, intelligent writing–not to mention some heart-rending examinations of grief, guilt, friendships and romance.
The book I’m reading now, All Adults Hereby Emma Straub is brand new. I’ll keep you posted, but so far I can’t put down this novel about the flawed family of Astrid Strick and her adult children.
All this book reading has me sitting a bit more recently, much to the delight of our two cats, who I’ve decided are indeed the best of coworkers (no disrespect to my husband who is pretty good at sharing a workspace too). The cats, though, are excellent lap warmers and are the perfect partners in crime for when I’m looking for an excuse to stay seated and read just one more chapter. Thanks furballs!
Have a good week and if you’ve got one, give your own furry coworker a head scratch for me.
A is for Anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety in different ways. If you are new to this whole anxiety thing, welcome to the club. For me, my anxiety tends to manifest as hypochondria. You guys, stay away from WebMd! I am doing myself a favor these days and staying away from self-diagnosis. But my brain still needs an outlet, which brings me to my house being newly haunted. A sudden haunting would explain my cat’s sudden amping up of his nightly living room parkour routine. He usually has bursts of weird energy and runs up and down the stairs. That’s normal. What isn’t normal is him hurling himself around the house. And that weird side hop thing? What’s that all about? Apparently it’s about looking big and threatening-for the new ghost in the house, hmmm? He’s also doing a lot more sitting around and just staring. When I shared this news with a friend, she kindly reminded me that cats are weirdos and pointed out that poor Frank might also be stressed right now. Just kidding. She laughed at me and said her cat does the same thing all the time and said I absolutely do not have a haunted house. Also, maybe I have been watching too much Supernatural. Again, just kidding. Who ever heard of too much Supernatural?
So anxiety may distort your thinking sometimes. If this is happening to you, maybe don’t believe everything your brain is telling you right now. Run it by a friend. Remember, I’m not a medical professional, just someone with personal experience with anxiety sharing those experiences on a blog! So my house is *probably* not newly haunted, but I once lived in a house that was haunted BY a cat, so explain that. That’s a story for another day. This is getting wordy as it is. On to bingeing!
B is for Bingeing. I have paused my binge of Skulduggery Pleasant to revisit another old friend, Jacky Faber, aka Bloody Jack. If you are interested in hilarious history fiction starring a girl disguised as a boy, AND you like audiobooks, do yourself a favor and listen to these books! On the television front, I have been bingeing VEEP, on HBO. It’s one of the shows available for free right now. This show is delivering the humor I need right now and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is brilliant.
Finally, C is for Connecting. One of my favorite ways to stay connected to friends right now is through memes. In keeping with the cat theme of this post, here are a couple that I have shared with friends this week. I think they pretty much sum up this whole situation.
Everyone is familiar with the Mister Rogers quote about looking for the helpers. It’s reassuring and there are so many helpers right now. I also recommend looking for the animals. Follow dogs and goats and zoos on social media. Make the first things you see on your feeds something cute and silly. Hang in there everyone!