This week I realized that I can’t do my dishes or sort my laundry without listening to a podcast or a recorded webinar.
Even while I’m washing my face or brushing my teeth, I’m tuned into the morning news. During the lockdown, I used to multi-task and pair certain ‘mindless’ house chores with podcast time. Now, nearly a year since Adelaide last had a lockdown, I find myself constantly tuning into something and tuning out of what I’m doing in the present. Doing the dishes used to be a wind-down activity, but instead I get all wound up listening to the evening news of getting stuck into the discussion on The Drum or Q+A.
There is an endless stream of news, but that doesn’t mean I need to consume it as fast as it is being produced. There is no end to the news. Constantly multi-tasking has somewhat numbed me to my body. I’ve been tuning in to all the outside demands that I have tuned out of what my body needs. I’ve hardly had any sleep and my mind has not had a substantial amount of real rest. I realised that if I keep going the way that I am, not only will the quality of my work deteriorate but I might soon find myself burning out.
I needed to re-train myself to doing just one thing at a time and let ‘mindless’ tasks remain as they are so my brain could have a break and be able to hear itself think if it needed to. Here are some of the little hacks I’ve found helpful in moving away from multi-tasking and improving my focus on the present – whether it is writing my thesis or sorting my laundry or talking to the barista as I grab my coffee. Tuning into the present means we can also connect with the other people we come across during the day.
- Body scan – Just take five minutes to sit still and focus on your body. Close your eyes and scan your body from toe to head. Focus on how each body part feels.
- Less stimulation – Most of the time I would need the music pumping when I go for a run or a walk, but I make sure that for short lunch break walks, I go without my phone and just notice things around me as I walk for 10 minutes.
- How am I? – Ask yourself, “what do I need today?”.
- Breathe – Use whatever breathing technique works best for you, there are a few here on the the Wellbeing Hub.
- Sense – Connect with your senses by having a warm bath or lighting a scented candle or sitting in the sun or taking a hike to the falls at Morialta or just listening to the rain as it falls.