Yesterday I found myself laughing at a comedienne whose whole sketch was about old telephones. He made fun of the fact that we would answer the phone, not knowing who was on the other end, and say our number, then hello, then share who was speaking. I giggled as I remembered doing this. He also reminded us that the hand set was attached to the body of the phone so we couldn’t go very far and in fact as most phones were situated in the hall the telephone chord was just long enough so we could sit on the stairs as we had our conversation!
I remember seeing the first prototype of a mobile phone on a television program called Tomorrows World. The program shared innovations in science and in one program they suggested that eventually we would all carry one of these mobile phone devices with us. At the time it all felt a bit like science fiction but it soon became science fact. The first mobile phone became available to the public in 1983. By the mid nineties 16% of households owned a mobile but in the next 10 years that figure went up to 80% and that was before the arrival of the i-phone in 2007. Technology has changed so much and so quickly that a device originally intended to only make calls is now like a mini computer. I personally avoided having a mobile phone for many years because I didn’t like the idea that I could be contacted 24/7. Now however, although I like time without technology, I worry when I don’t know where my phone is. Do you panic when you lose your mobile?
The mobile phone is a demonstration of just how quickly things can change. In just over 30 years they have gone from being a novelty for the rich to a necessity for all and it has made us contactable at any time of day or night. The rate of change of technology is speeding up and coincidentally so is the rate of people suffering from anxiety and other mental illnesses. I am not blaming technology because I do believe it has it’s place here but I think we need to find a balance.
Before 1994, when the Sunday Trading Act was passed, Sunday used to be a quiet day. It felt like the world was at peace and Sunday was a family day. I guess we only get that same sort of feeling now on Christmas Day. Do you know what I mean? The shops are shut, the roads are quieter and it feels like we can take a moment to slow down and breath. And that is what we all need. I am not suggesting we should go back to the ‘good old days’ but I do think we need a moment to slow down, a day when there is no to do list.
I feel sad that we have created a world where children are suffering with stress and anxiety. The innocence of childhood doesn’t last very long now. Children are soon aware of the expectations that their parents and teachers have of them to achieve. And it doesn’t end when the school day finishes as children can attend numerous after school clubs. I had a young boy refuse to work with me a few years ago. It came as a bit of a shock when he said no but when I realised his decision was not about me but about losing his last free evening to work with me, I suddenly understood why he said no.
Have you ever started to feel anxious as the number of activities start to clog up your family calendar?
Do you have an anxious child who is desperate for some free time?
I would like to suggest that you choose a day on your calendar and make it a Quiet Day . This is a day ….
- without a To Do list,
- when you don’t watch the clock
- when you don’t get lost in technology,
- with no expectations
- for relaxation and time out.
Quiet days are essential for your mental well being and that of your family and, in my experience, unless you schedule them on your calendar they will never happen. Show your children that mental wellbeing is as important as physical wellbeing. Schedule a Quiet Day, mark it clearly on your calendar and honour yourself and your family by honouring your Quiet Day.