As pressure piles up on me (and as a recent Daily Calm prompted) I reflected on how I need to try and find ways of increasing the white space around me.
In graphic design terms white space is that space between texts, pictures and other items that helps set them out, that gives you the breathing space that allows you to see what is important. If you’ve ever seen a cluttered overly busy web site, you’ll know this is missing.
The same applies to real life. The more intense, stressful or emotional that a decision or task is, the more you need to create space around it, to ready yourself to tackle it, or to pause after completion.
When it’s this important I also welcome the silence, especially when I’m alone turning off my music in order to really focus and to truly hear what I am feeling. That includes working in the kitchen without the radio on or going for a walk without listening to something.
DailyCalm talked about using phones or TV binges to distract us from stress and anxiety. I have realised over the last few weeks that I have increased my casual game play, my attention to reading random articles online while decreasing my social media to be more remote. A Christmas gift to 4son of Amazon Prime has prompted us both to search through for programmes worth watching (with little joy) and to compare the advert strewn Prime with the relative clean and quite Netflix. I choose not to watch programmes with adverts in to save them cluttering my brain and just the annoyance they cause. I gave up watching Question Time or listening to the Today programme as I would end up just shouting at it and who needs that aggravation. When I started this course I unsubscribed from emails I never had time to read.
So I have, over the years discarded noise and busy-ness but there is more to be done.
There is a physical aspect to this as well, as a recent visit to my parents’ houser reminded me: so much stuff that you wonder how much of it is needed. My parents bought a four bedroomed house for themselves, not because they had so many visitors but to have room for the 8,000 books and other things. Rooms for putting stuff in. I have some of that, although I think my books don’t make 2,000 yet. I also keep kitchen implements just in case one day I start cooking the dishes that require them. I throw away my bits of string too small to be useful but I struggle to throw away good things that I just don’t use, remembering the days when I really couldn’t afford to replace things so would keep them for the possible use. Paperwork piles up, some of it needed, some of it not. I’m slowly weeding out books, but that is a very slow process for me as I have to read them first. Going through rooms and de-cluttering them is in itself a busy task that can serve as a distraction too.
So the lesson I am taking away from all this is:
- less phone or tablet use;
- less TV (of any sort);
- more silence;
- more breaks from doing;
- less clutter;
- more space;
- pause and breathe;
- take time to smell the roses.