1. Realise you’re sick of it Even before my 30-day digital declutter, I hadn’t really used Facebook in months. I increasingly felt like it offered nothing and just filled up my attention with things I didn’t really care about. Since then I only checked in on it once or twice and each time there were 20+ “pretend” notifications that felt like Facebook was getting really needy. Time to cut the cord.
2023 note. I’ve published a two-year follow up to this experiment: Digital Minimalism: Two years on. In November 2020 I started reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. Newport’s compelling writing style alongside the logic of his argument quickly moved me into action and I decided to embark on what he calls a 30-day Digital Declutter. Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport The philosophy of digital minimalism is not simply to rid ourselves of technology but to be clear on what we use and why, so that we can free ourselves of the compulsive use that apps are so effective at fostering.
Too much of our time is lost struggling with painful feelings that we cannot express. We try to move forward, try to put up a good fight, but there is something malign and pervasive colouring our mood. It drains our energy, saps our motivation, but remains out of sight. It’s uncomfortable, but even more important than that, it’s unclear. Whether fear, worry, sadness or doubt—it is this lack of clarity that keeps us feeling stuck.
One of my first posts on this blog was Why Fitness Matters. It was a bit of a manifesto that talked about how taking responsibility for your physical well-being is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. This post moves from WHY to HOW: how to get started, because that’s the toughest part. Fortunately, this is a great time to start. Tomorrow is National Fitness Day! There are events and offers being run up and down the country so check out what’s happening in your area.
This is a simple post about something that you participate in every day. You rarely intervene, and in general, you’re not required to. Even so, 20 to 30 thousand times a day, you breathe. Breathing is unique in that it occurs automatically—even when we’re unconscious—but is also able to come under conscious control. Our breath sits at the intersection of mind, body, blood and brain, unifying them in one living rhythm, and finally binding our bodies into a much greater reciprocity with outside and Other:
Yesterday was a special run for me. I got to do something I love whilst raising £1254.50 for the mental health charity, Mind. Last year I wrote: As you may have guessed from my frequent running spam, I love to run. Fewer people know that alongside my passion for sadistic feats of endurance, I have also struggled with panic attacks and anxiety for a few years now. They arrived suddenly with no apparent cause, and have been by far the toughest things I’ve ever had to face.
Earlier this year I read Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and decided to stop drinking for 3 months: a Sober Spring. It seemed to arrive at the perfect time for me, as I’d become fed up (again) with drinking, hangovers, and the effect of both on my anxiety. Well… the 3 months have gone quickly and smoothly! Here I want to talk about my biggest lessons, and how shit-faced I got the day it all finished.
This post outlines the five pointers for dealing with anxiety that I wish I’d had to hand a few years ago. While it’s targeted at people who struggle with high anxiety—such as panic attacks or generalised anxiety disorders—this line of contemplation can work for other negative emotions, because it deals with the basic difference between thoughts and feelings. We all worry about what to eat, what to wear and who likes us, but high anxiety tends to be more physical and intense in nature, easily fooling you into thinking you’re having a heart attack or brain seizure.