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Archive for July, 2009

During a recent day of traveling, I found myself exhausted on the morning flight. It didn’t make any sense though — I awoke at the same time I always do and I wasn’t rushed to get ready, yet I couldn’t wait to close the plane’s window shade, shut my eyes, and nap for the duration of the flight.

I was stirred awake a few hours later and began reviewing the morning’s schedule for clues that might explain my exhaustion. That’s when I struck gold. To arrive timely for my flight, I had to get out of bed right away and immediately get ready to head out the door, whereas normally I Morning in bedam able to slowly wake, watch the news, read a few pages of my book, snuggle with my dog, and close my eyes off and on for a few minutes before actually rising out of bed and starting my day.

This relaxing routine of mine usually takes about 30 minutes, though sometimes it can extend to an hour. I recognize this is a luxury of being a self-employed writer who works at home. Regardless, this morning routine is exactly what I need to function properly each day. My body just can’t handle “abrupt wakeups,” as I call typical morning alarm-driven routines.

We all probably have some routine that calms and relaxes us, and we should take the time to acknowledge those needs and set aside time to achieve them. Maybe you relish the idea of reading the paper while savoring a cup of coffee, going for a run as soon as you arise, or listening to your favorite talk radio show. Whatever morning routine gives you peace of mind — and establishes a positive and happy vibe all day long — I urge you to allot enough time to realize it every day.

Next time necessity dictates my morning routine vary from the norm, I’ll be sure to respect my idiosyncrasies by adding enough time to slowly wake up in bed — and feel more balanced throughout the day.

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It’s official: I have become one of those people. Or at least that’s what my husband repeatedly tells me, with obvious disdain in his voice.  The annoying thing is that he’s right. I am constantly checking my smart phone for missed calls and e-mails. When I’m bored forCrackberry longer than three minutes (know how we supposedly live in an “ADD nation”? I could often be the posterwoman!), I whip out my phone to read the latest news headlines, check in with friends on Facebook, or play a game of solitaire. I must fess up — my name is Dina and I am addicted to the technology of a smart phone.

It all started so innocently. I promised myself when I purchased the phone (for work purposes, primarily) that I would not become dependent, engrossed, or driven by its advantages. I merely wanted to check e-mail as needed so that I was not tied down to my computer during the day. I envisioned the smart phone as freeing, granting me even more mobility with my freelance work.

But know the first thing I do when I wake up each morning? Check my phone for e-mail. First thing I do before bed? You got it, check my phone for e-mail. In fact, when the phone blinks an orange light to notify a new e-mail, voice mail, text message, or missed call, I check it every time — immediately. Sometimes I try to ignore the blinking, but it somehow tempts me with every blink of bright orange light: Message! Message! Message! I just can’t resist it.

I suspect that some may wonder whether this phone-checking habit of mine is of any real consequence. Our society readily embraces the idea of accessibility as an asset, and I am merely one more person taking advantage of our ever-ready communication abilities. Indeed, technology can be helpful, even life-saving at times.

However, I think the explosion of technology begs the question: Where is the balance? I’m not suggesting that we all toss our smart phones out the window, but rather, perhaps we should consider whether we could actually benefit from turning it off every now and then. Take some time just for you, your family, and friends. Allow yourself to be in the moment, be bored in the store checkout line, relax at a red light while driving.

One of my primary goals in life is to maintain a calm, balanced, and peaceful existence. However, if I am completely honest with myself, my recently excessive use of technology is incongruous with that goal. So I’ve decided to take a few steps to avoid becoming a slave to my smart phone, including placing it out of eyesight while working so that enticing little device of a phone can no longer bait and trap me into procrastinating. I also am creating a personal ban of any e-mailing or texting while engaging in other activities, such as conversations, walks, and drives.

Smart phones interrupt face-to-face conversations, quiet time, vacations, and relaxing weekends. We should use technology to enhance the balance and calmness in our lives — not infiltrate our lives with stress and less connection with other humans. I hope my new personal parameters bring about peace, or at least more balance, in a technologically-advanced, hurried world. And I can avoid the Crackberry Addict label, to boot.

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