Thursday, 23 June 2016

How I've learned to spend an evening computer free

A colleague recently asked me what I did with my free time in the evenings. Alarmingly, no answer immediately came to mind; but when I reflected on what occupied my time once I got home for the day, it was all a blur of scrolling through my Bloglovin' feed (sneaky plug, but do follow me here) watching dog videos on Facebook, and random Googling. In the past week I've schooled myself up on the King of Ruritania and the history of Polish-Australians - thanks Wikipedia! I had all this time I could have been pouring into more fulfilling activities, and I was whiling it away mindlessly on the web. After reading these articles from Lucy-Claire's blog about social media and internet use, I was inspired to rethink how much time I was devoting to my computer and decided to detox my evenings of internet use. I thought I'd share a few things I've been doing in lieu of sitting in front of a device, and I hope it gives you some ideas -but keep on reading, don't log off just yet.

One hobby I've been giving more time to recently is knitting. It may sound granny-ish to you, but I adore it - it's both relaxing and productive, so you can get something done all while chilling out in front of the TV. I find repetitive actions quite soothing, and I opt for easy patterns that don't need that much thinking over; after a while, it becomes second-nature. I'm currently making a cable knit blanket and I'm on the third (and final) panel - the end is finally near!

I'm determined to get through more books and recently I've been aiming to read an hour a night. This can be tricky if you are utterly exhausted and your eyes refuse to stay open, which often happens to me. Pick up something you've been wanting to read for ages - it needn't be anything too highbrow or 600 pages long (that said, after watching the recent BBC adaptation, I'm keen to read War and Peace - although I know I'll probably never past a third of it). I'm personally itching to get my hands on Zoe Foster Blake's Amazinger Face, which I've pre-ordered and should be making an appearance in my postbox later this month. Her first book taught me so much about beauty, so I can't wait for the updated version.

Other pursuits I've been dedicating more time to are cooking and calligraphy, and I want to become more proficient at both of them. And now I've liberated a few more hours of free time, I hope I will. I've really been astonished at just how much time I have at my disposal if I switch off my laptop and phone at 6pm - it's eye-opening. Sometimes I'm dead bored and turn them back on; occasionally, it's a necessity and I need access to the internet for some reason or other. But the principle of this exercise isn't deprivation, but rather evaluation of how we spend our time - I want to make the most of my evening hours, and not just browse Cult Beauty until the cows come home.

Another added bonus is that limiting screen use before bed cuts out our exposure to blue light, which disrupts our sleep. As someone who can find falling sleep difficult, it's much better for me to read before bed than to use my laptop - I feel much less wired and can nod off in minutes.

How do you spend your free time? Do you like to spend your evenings screen-free?
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