A typical day for someone in the 1950s would often include the daily routine of either managing a household or going to work. If we look at the former, the start of the day would include making breakfast for the family and packing lunches for the work and school day. With the home empty throughout the daytime, opportunities would be taken to clean the house, run errands and make a delicious dinner for the family that evening. Following dinner, there would be more tidying and preparation for the next day. And then, when the house would get quiet and the day’s work was done, there was finally time to relax. A television in the home was rare for that time, so it was common to spend the evening hours listening to a radio show or enjoying a beverage.
In comparison to today, it feels as though not much has changed. Our lives are still incredibly busy. One difference between that time period and now would be an evening without television. I wonder what that must have been like?
The other night I realized just how ‘plugged in’ my evening routine was and had probably been for ages. I was sitting on the couch and noticed that every single light in the living room was on. It was so bright, but I didn’t think to get up to eliminate the unnecessary lighting. This was because I was too ‘busy’ texting my friend, watching an old re-run on Netflix and working on my laptop. I was connected to three devices. It was around nine o’clock at the time; the time of day where our bodies need us to start to feel tired. How could I have possibly shut down mentally for the day when my evening routine was fixated on multiple forms of digital technology. That night, when I finally went to bed at around eleven, I tossed and turned until about one in the morning.
Earlier this week I mentioned that for 2016 I was taking the time to find New Year’s resolutions that I could really commit to. Well, after what had probably been months of poor sleep patterns, I decided to commit to a digital detox each weekday evening at nine o’clock. I’ve decided to return to that time long ago, where people would spend their evenings without the presence of bright and blaring screens. Following my commitment to this objective for 2016, I’ve listed some of the key steps I’ve done to make this commitment happen.
1. Shut Down Electronics A few minutes before nine o’clock, I will turn off the electronic devices in the home. At the same time, I will set my morning alarm on my cell phone for the next day and place my cell phone on the shelf in my bedroom. It’s important to keep your cell phone in a place where you know you will hear your morning alarm the next day, but where you won’t be tempted to use your phone after your cut off time.
2. Don’t Be Blinded By The Lights While we all try to be eco-friendly, sometimes we have a habit of thinking we need more lighting than we actually do. Once your electronics are turned off and put away, take a stroll throughout your home and shut off any lights you don’t need to have on. Your mind wants to know its night time, so a dimly lit home at this time of night is what you need for a good night’s sleep.
3. Embrace Natural Light To add ambiance to my digital detox routine, I’ve gotten into the habit of lighting aromatic candles. Certain scents help calm the mind.
4. Take Time for You Now that you have a calm setting, it’s time to take a time out. Whether it’s reflecting on the day or planning your day for tomorrow, without distractions like social media notifications or Netflix, you will find that you now have time to think. During my evenings, I take the time to write. It could be writing out my to-do list for the next day, or starting a short story, there’s just something about writing out my thoughts that is incredibly therapeutic.
5. Sleep Time Routine Last but not least, develop a routine that trains your body for sleep. In my routine, I will usually have a cup of chamomile tea in cozy PJs.
Thinking about the 1950s when making this New Year’s resolution, I felt comforted with knowing that once upon a time, we did take the time to feel present in our surroundings. But then I thought more about the common routine back then and realized, maybe they were just as ‘plugged in’ for their time as we are now. Could an evening be spent in the home without the radio playing in the background? What do you think?