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Days 3 and 4 of my TV Free Week...

Kate Swincer - Sunday, July 26, 2015

Well, I've cheated (kind of), and invited a friend around for dinner. I’ve also worked in these last two evenings, so going without TV has actually been really easy. The evenings are always the hardest as that's when I'm truly on my own.


The funny thing is; I often hope to spend time on meditation, exercise, contemplation and mindfulness, but the evenings are often when I'm exhausted. The last thing I want to do is put effort into anything!


Regardless of what I spend my time on, I sometimes get the feeling that I'm missing out on something when I "can't" watch TV.  It's like I'm a child not allowed a lolly after being promised it for being good all day.  This work hard/reward system was the way I, and most of us, were brought up.  But is this process of needing a "reward" the entire problem?  Some of us numb because we are trying to fill a void, because we are lonely or because we feel like something is missing. 


But what if the only thing that is missing is actually doing what our body wants us to do ALL the time? Rather than some of the time, occasionally, or only when we "deserve" it. What about being GOOD to ourselves all the time regardless of the circumstance?   By this I mean actually listening to our body’s cues and seeing them for what they are.  For example, when we are craving sugar or unhealthy food, what are we actually wanting?  Are we thirsty, tired, bored, or needing something with more nutrition?  Or is it a symbol of something deeper?


The process of listening to our body is not always easy.  I think if we can learn to understand our needs and then actually do what our body is telling us to do each and every day, then I think we would all be in a better place.  If we continually ignore our own needs and/or put other people first then we end up very empty.  I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion. 


A perfect example was last Friday night. We had a birthday party to go to on Saturday morning and I had decided to make the present for my daughter’s friend.  It was a bold move, but I thought it would be a nice original gift and it could be the start of an affordable way to gift for the many birthday parties at school.  At 11pm the night before the party I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew and when I’d finally finished after 1am the next morning I was exhausted and beyond frustrated. 


My body and mind screamed at me several times during this process to stop and try to find something to buy the next morning. But I ignored it.  Unfortunately, the entire weekend was a mess because I was tired, cranky and I felt unappreciated. And the worst thing was that it was entirely avoidable, entirely of my own doing and a direct result of me not listening to myself. 


This is a just a small example, but what if you’re in a job you hate, a relationship that makes you miserable or living somewhere that makes you depressed?  Imagine the impact that these much bigger situations have on the rest of your life.


I know for certain that the universe wasn't made for us to sacrifice our own happiness and wellbeing in order to be happy and have everything work out.  We are supposed to act, behave and feel exactly how we want our life to be and then it will provide, right?  So doesn't that include every activity in our life?  If I had just listened to my body, gone to bed early and bought something the following morning then my entire weekend, my ability to parent and my happiness would have been dramatically different.  If I had honored my needs first, then everyone else would also be happy.  Simple huh?  So why don’t we all do it all the time?


One of the things that I teach my clients is to ask themselves in moments of stress: "what do I need for me right now?".  It is such a powerful exercise when you feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do next.  I do this during the day when I realize I've run around for hours without taking a breath or when I'm working too hard or even when I realize I need help with something (thanks, to all my friends).


But at night?  It's isn’t as easy when the end of the day heralds quietness, loneliness and this feeling of needing to be rewarded for such a hard days work. 


How can we "reward" ourselves in every moment without feeling like we need to sacrifice before we deserve it?  And will this help mitigate the need for TV, or whatever your "addiction" is?


This is something I'll explore for the next few days.  


How are you all going?


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