I coddle my tech objects, and I guess you may, too. In fact, I think we transfer our own self-care to our digital objects. Our car or house cleanliness may directly represent how we feel inside, but our electronic “ticket to the world,” --smart phone, tablet or laptop--often takes our place as the most important person in the room. We pay attention to it when it demands our attention. We bling up its appearance, buy it protective gear, promptly regularly upgrade its software, rush it to the genius if it shows glitches, pay its bills to keep it going.
When my phone indicates low battery, I plug it in, by god. I let it charge. I come back to it and feel great for it having new life. And I enjoy the time it was plugged in, when I breathed, when I had the excuse that “it’s charging.” I did not have to be constantly holding and checking on it, so we both got a break. It first, of course. Then me, by domino effect.
When my laptop computer gets hot against my skin, I cool it down by hacking an ice cube tray table top*, at least while my movie is finishing up. Then I rest my computer. I plug it in and let it set overnight. I may not be able to sleep, but it can.
If only I treated myself as well when I lack energy and when I’m overloaded. In fact, have I really listened to my mind/body’s signals that told me ahead of time that I’m in need of self-care, the way my phone does?
Our Own Signals
If we switched off suddenly, like a robot, I think we’d respond more promptly to our own warnings. But we always think we can take on “one more thing”, and we don’t believe we will break down until we get really sick (more than a cold or headache)! When my phone is out of energy, it doesn’t have caffeine as a back-up. It switches off. Over and out!
Partially, our own consequences aren’t as believable.
On another note, if we could set electronic notifications for our own bodies and spirit, would we have the willingness to heed them? I know there are indicators, and it is firstly my job to get to know the various ring tones of them. Secondly, to admit “I’m overloaded” is a huge step, and to distance myself from the judgment that it makes me weak to be so. What are your notifications?
Mine: Forgetfulness, clumsy hands and feet, dismay at “all the things I am not doing”—sure signs I’m already doing too much! Take a few minutes to discover your signs.
Plug Me In
Let’s look at ways to plug ourselves back in (e.g., a figurative ice cube tray hack*): A short shower, a long bath, or a foot soak. An unplugging of the electronics and silent breather. A great nap. A lovely book. A dip in the pool. Gardening. Listening to good music. I’ll bet you have a good list, whether you’ve indulged in them lately or not. I have to go to nature (even if I don’t feel like it). I have to avoid talking to anyone for a set period of time (hours or ‘today’). I have to say ‘no’ to at least one activity on purpose.
The relief I feel when I do one of these things is worth the time it takes to recharge. If I can heed my indicator light, I can give myself at least as much respect and care as my phone gets from me. In fact, it’s time to plug in now. Ciao!
*Ice Cube Tray Laptop Cooler
1 glass or metal long baking dish, longer than an ice cube tray
1 ice cube tray, frozen with ice
1 metal cookie sheet, preferably with a rolled edge, for security (got mine at IKEA)
Place the ice cube tray with ice intact, right side up in the baking dish, cover with cookie sheet and set laptop atop the cookie sheet. The metal of the cookie sheet will keep the laptop cooler for hours. When the ice is melted, swap it out for another frozen tray of ice cubes. Refreeze the first one.Do not spill the melted ice water.