We are about halfway through the school summer holiday, and today has begun in a rather stressful manner. Our dog was sick yesterday and continued doing it through the night, so I was scrubbing floors both when I went to bed and when I woke up. My children have been arguing and upsetting each other, so my six-year-old spent a good half hour crying for no apparent reason, while my eight-year-old stomped around the house being grumpy. And all because we added a new device to Wi-Fi, and everything else crashed! I need to relax, because I can feel a bubble of stress building in my chest, and soon I will start shouting and stomping.
I cannot just step away and start a meditation for twenty minutes, which is the recommended response to stress. If I leave the room, my children will follow, and they keep talking to me when I try to concentrate. I can take deep breaths, I can drink my coffee (not recommended by holistic practitioners, but a necessity for me at this point), and probably my best solution would be to step away from the devices and take my children for a walk. But then the problem will still be there when we return. This is the conundrum of a connected society. I love the freedom of using Wi-Fi to work from home and to chat to friends that live far away. But when it stops working, I get stressed, and so do my children. We have grown to rely on this technology, and to expect it as a service just like our running water and central heating at home.
Part of me says that this is an unhealthy attitude, and that I shouldn’t allow something so petty to upset me. But I have built my career online, and I need it to work. I need my children to have a couple of hours on their devices so that I can work in peace, and I balanced that by inviting their friends to our house for a playdate yesterday, spending time in the garden and away from devices. But even thinking about how to balance screen time with old-fashioned play time causes stress. We can’t win! How do you balance your life and wellbeing in a Wi-Fi connected world?
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