Our social media feeds are brimming with positivity. Little motivational messages that remind you to be mindful and gorgeous posts about perfect lives and breathing deeply and drinking in all of life’s goodness make the digital cup runneth over. The posts that are meant to inspire and make you love yourself a little bit more and bask in the glow of your inner goddess can actually make you feel pretty average, if not worse.
Like many parents across Australia, over the course of the school year I’ve been in an incremental decline. Low grade exhaustion that is draining rather than dreadful. Still, the overload is enough to make you want to sleep in and simply run away to a time before social media when we really did run free and didn’t have to wonder if our inner goddess was shining quite brightly enough.
Our world has become very competitive, and sure, it’s not like it wasn’t previously. Of course there was always the saying, “keeping up with the Joneses” but now it’s more like “keeping up with the iPhoneses”. Our lives are playing out online and there’s an expectation that we’ll look good while we’re at it. But around this, a new industry is emerging - wellness, inner health and ‘digital detoxing’. Twice in the last 36 hours, my feed has included this mantra:
"create a bed time ritual and leave your devices in another room. Try falling asleep after reading a good, old-fashioned book. And don’t check your social media feed in the morning before you’ve breathed deliberately and with focus at least ten times and meditated to the god Ganesh and struck at least one warrior pose or worshipped the sun while doing repeat pelvic floor exercises"
It’s really going back to basics, not actually rocket science or wellness science. Reading a book at bedtime and not having a phone in the bedroom is just restoring the old normal. When we grew up, the only people with a phone in the bedroom were Mr and Mrs Brady. It was an American sit-com scene, not at all a thing in the real suburban world. Homes in Australia, at least, had a phone anchored in the study, hallway or kitchen and no-one in their wildest dreams ever imagined that one day they’d be sitting in bed sending lewd texts with images or talking to or messaging their teenager or sister on the other side of the world at all hours of the day because of the respective time zones.
A good night story or reading a book at bedtime has been around for a long time. It wasn’t necessarily described as a ritual. It was just a regular thing we did, unless you’d already fallen asleep next to the youngest while putting him or her to bed, dropping from exhaustion as so many parents do every night.
My evening ‘ritual’ looks something like this. Dinner with family, lots of laughter and discussion about world events and daily occurrences. Much fighting about washing up. In winter, a brisk walk at sunset with at least one of the kids before dinner. In summer, the digestive walk on the sand after dinner. With daylight savings, there’s plenty of time to fit this in.
And then I zone out with Netflix or fall asleep on the couch. No glamour what-so-ever, and so not a goddess.