Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, and yes it does, but I’ve noticed when chatting to people that more and more of us have trouble ‘switching off’. Not just turning our phones and computers off, but mentally tearing ourselves away from our work. With smartphones and tablet computers such as iPads becoming more commonplace, it’s hard to separate work time from our own time, particularly for small business owners who work in service-related industries.
Georgina Laidlaw has an excellent article here which has some ideas for those of us whose brain is still working on work stuff long after working hours are over.
Getting out and going for a walk works for me, particularly now in springtime when I can let my mind wander over the sun on my back, or the scent of flowers like jasmine and wisteria, which always bring back a memory of childhood; comforting, carefree.
Books do it for me too. When I want to have some technology-free time I often head for something written or set in the first half of the twentieth century. Yes, a time when computers and mobile phones weren’t part of our lives. A slower time, to slow my mind down and make me relax. E. F. Benson’s Mapp & Lucia books are favourites and I re-read them annually. Likewise mysteries from detective fiction’s Golden Age: Josephine Tey (Brat Farrar is a longtime favourite) and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple are marvellous antidotes - Murder at the Vicarage, anyone?
Last weekend I bought two very battered Girl’s Own Annuals at Rozelle Markets. It cost me $10 for the pair of them. One book was missing its rear cover and the other had its covers and spine but they weren’t attached to the book. I had an enjoyable hour last night rebinding them and making a new rear cover. Purists might say I’m lessening their value but in the condition the covers were in I doubt each one is worth more than a fiver anyway. They make fascinating reading, a snapshot of British middle-class life in the early 1920s; articles by worthy ladies, fiction that never features more than a chaste kiss between lovers, chocolate-box village photographs and wonderful line drawings of the current fashions. Now I look forward to switching off in the evenings and delving into a world of bachelor girls, camisoles, good wives and a day in the life of a prima donna.
How do you switch off? Answers on a postcard please (or leave a comment below).