The only other thing that rivals my love/hate relationship with lupus is my equally turbulent relationship with the internet. I do not have an addictive personality normally, but I must admit that in the aftermath of my lupus cerebritis recovery, the internet has me wrapped around it’s little finger. It would be an understatement to say that the internet was my lifeline during months of isolation and loneliness. Even now, when I am recovered and “back in the real world,” I still find myself reaching for the laptop and losing myself in the vast internet universe. I suppose it still provides some comfort. Perhaps, I feel that I still need it to not feel alone? This is ridiculous, of course. I have more love in my life than I know what to do with.
Not all of the things I do on the internet are a waste of time. I read news sites and blogs about health and food. I write my own blog and correspond with readers. I also spend hours and hours of “empty searching” – checking and re-checking email, facebook, watching videos … to be honest, I’m not sure what I do most of the time I’m on the internet. I’m on it for the sake of being on it.
I need the time I spend at home to be about reconnecting with myself in quiet and relaxing ways. I need to read more. I need to write more. And when I do go online, I need my internet time to be quality, not quantity. I need to balance my internet universe. I’m not the worse offender as far as internet addicts go, but I know for certain that there are a lot of things I could be accomplishing/enjoying during my hours spent in the internet wasteland.
This one’s going to be hard, harder than giving up chocolate, if you can believe it. I’ve attempted to do this before: Brief facebook blackouts, limiting checking email at home to twice a day, turning off the router when I’m working on word documents. So, how do I make a lasting change and shake off a nasty habit that has been consistent over the last year and a half? Perhaps, the answer is in focusing what I’m going to do versus what I shouldn’t do. Here is a short list of goals that I am hoping will help me wean off the internet and enjoy more old-fashioned, disconnected relaxation at home:
- Aim to read at least one hour a day.
- Aim to write at least one hour a day.
- Aim to do stretches/yoga/push-ups etc. at least 1/2 hour a day.
These goals are a first step and may not look overly ambitious, but I feel they present their own specific challenges. It’s all about changing my mentality about the computer being the go-to method of relaxation when I’m at home. To be honest, I’m not really sure how relaxing it is. I’m on a mission to do everything I can to limit stress in my life and part of that is to learn the “art of relaxation.” The relaxation part, I think I’ve always had a handle on, but I’ve come to realize that the art of relaxation also means utilizing your time wisely. Watching t.v. all day or spending the whole evening online is not the way I want to spend my time at home. When you are working half-time, it’s so easy to let those non-working hours slip away with nothing at all to show for it. I could easily nap that time away, but I’m choosing to demand more of myself. There’s life beyond the laptop and I’m determined to participate in it!