Get Off the Internet and Force Yourself To Rest

Earlier in the month, I talked about how emotional stress makes my eczema worse. It’s not something I paid much attention to until I actually started listening to my body through this blog, paying attention to triggers and improvements. Physical stress does the exact same thing for me, if not worse, and it’s often linked with emotional stress.

2011 August 006 Stress 4
Probably what happens in our heads when we’re stressed. Image via here

I had an insanely busy week last week, working multiple projects simultaneously in the office. I rarely get days where I don’t have even a tiny break to grab water or a stretch, so as soon as the work piled up I was immediately jittery. I felt like I was constantly on edge, and no matter how many lists my inner organising nazi made, I couldn’t calm down. I lost appetite and stopped eating full meals, stopped sleeping before midnight and by mid-week I lost count of the cups of coffee I’d had. These all trigger eczema, I know that. But I just couldn’t seem to stop. I was so fatigued I wasn’t even bothered to moisturise, so I skipped that too, and just quickly slathered on the steroid cream from the doc. I did, however, manage to fit in two sessions of spinning class at the gym; I figured if I wasn’t eating and sleeping the least I could do was let out someo of that excess, nervous / anxious energy on the bike. Exercise is always good for the body anyways.

There isn’t much you can do to calm down if lack of time at your job is the reason for physical stress. There are things that need to be done and deadlines that need to be met. But it’s almost a vicious cycle; the more I feel I’m running out of time, the more anxious and stressed I am. I don’t really know how to calm down and typical self-help techniques (exercise, yoga, jogging) don’t seem to make much difference at all.

But I still have to try and here’s how I’m doing it.

The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Unplug at 8 from on Vimeo.

One of my favourite sites, GOOD, is encouraging people to switch off the Internet – don’t worry, it’s just for 30 days in the evenings! The rules for August’s 30-Day Challenge: Unplug at 8 are simple: After 8 p.m. on weekdays, you get off the internet. No email, no blogging, you can’t even read There’s a huge article about how the Internet might be making us stupid, or at least changing the way our brain behaves, that’s behind this challenge (which I somewhat agree with), but for me it’s a little bit different. Getting off the Internet is like shutting off from the obligations and distractions, and really giving your mind a good old-fashioned chance to relax, rest, wander and wonder – isn’t that what we used to do as kids in the pre-Internet era anyways? I can’t remember the last time I daydreamed. Unplugging at 8 also means you’re forced to be more efficient during the day because you have to make sure everything is done before your 8pm deadline.

I’m already a little bit late on this challenge (I only started late last week and have had to forego it twice already for work), but already I’m feeling so much more relaxed. I’ve read a little more and watched real-time TV – it’s surprising how much more I enjoy commercials now that I’m watching them again! Even if it’s to make fun of them. I feel like I have my brain and creativity back, like my mind is given a breath of fresh air. Will I stick to it? Probably not. But for the meantime, I’ll take a beat and enjoy this new-found time to do other things:

Finishing books I haven’t had time to get back to.

Making more To-Do lists. These always calm me down.

Cook. I’ve been meaning to find a good pasta salad recipe that I can put in my lunchbox. Image and recipe via Here

Something relaxing. Okay, I realise getting to the above kind of location is impossible after work and in the city, but I’d like to think I’ll be able to one day. Image via

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