(Note: Welcome to all readers who linked from the ADHD Blog Carnival!)
I spent the last several days on a much needed break from my everyday life. Usually at this time of year, I've jetted off to somewhere warm for respite from the winter weather. But this time, I headed to a holisitc-ish retreat center that's a few hours away from home.
It wasn't so much the meditation and yoga that attracted me to the place. Rather, I relished the thought of being in simple surroundings with no TV, newspapers, or Internet. Part of me -- the ADD part, of course -- did worry about being bored, and so I brought three books, three magazines, and two journals. I guess I had big plans to write the great American novel or ADD-Libbing posts for the next six months! One duffel bag contained everything I needed for the week. Before I left home on Sunday, I kept thinking I would run out of clothes, and so I stuffed in some extra things at the last minute.
The retreat was perfect for clearing my mind. My room faced east, and I enjoyed waking gently to the sunrise each morning. I ate plenty of healthy food, and they nicely offer two kinds of hot sauce for people like me to add some much needed spice. I didn't find myself thinking about the mindless media minutiae, such as Britney's latest antics. I learned a bit about aromatherapy, which I always wanted to know more about. I met a couple of some fun new people I plan to stay in touch with, and I fit in some exercise, too.
Of course, after a few days, I began to miss some parts of my regular life. A couple of days into the retreat, I holed up to make a few cell phone calls home to get connected to people I missed. The following day, I decided that I needed to reconnect a bit with the rest of civilization, and ducked out in the afternoon to visit a little local museum and buy a pair of shoes. Oh yeah, and I happily treated myself to a real cup of coffee - they definitely watered down the organic, shade-grown, fair trade stuff that they served only between certain hours. I definitely felt even more recharged after my afternoon excursion.
Being disconnected from TV, news, and Internet was definitely a great thing for my ADD mind. I wondered a bit about what emails I might be missing, but otherwise, the urge to get myself online dissipated. As for all of the reading and writing material that I brought, I finished two of the three magazines, got a third of the way through one book, and definitely did not fill up wither journal. Seeing how much I didn't read made me think about how much we try to pack into our stimulated ADD brains (i.e., a lot!). I always worry that I'm going to be bored, and so I cart along way too much stuff to prevent boredom.
I've two takeaways from my time away. One, I'm definitely going to try to have time that's free of TV, news, and Internet. I know that this will be difficult for me. It's one thing to be somewhere that lacks these things, another to be at home with my computer and TV staring me in the face. I definitely felt energized by not getting sucked into these things while I was away, and so I'd like to maintain this energy.
Two, being in my simple surroundings gave me a renewed desire to work on clearing my clutter. I found it easy to get by for several days with just one bag of clothes and toiletries. And oftentimes when I'm at home, I feel psychologically weighted down by all of the stuff in my home that I don't use or really care about. This weekend, I'm going to list a bunch of things on Freecycle and also bag some stuff for charity.
If I can do both of these things, I can have the best of both worlds: a clutter-free environment AND TV and Internet available at my disposal for (hopefully!) healthy periods of time.