We are about halfway through the school summer holiday, and today has begun in a rather stressful manner. Our dog was sick yesterday and continued doing it through the night, so I was scrubbing floors both when I went to bed and when I woke up. My children have been arguing and upsetting each other, so my six-year-old spent a good half hour crying for no apparent reason, while my eight-year-old stomped around the house being grumpy. And all because we added a new device to Wi-Fi, and everything else crashed! I need to relax, because I can feel a bubble of stress building in my chest, and soon I will start shouting and stomping.
I cannot just step away and start a meditation for twenty minutes, which is the recommended response to stress. If I leave the room, my children will follow, and they keep talking to me when I try to concentrate. I can take deep breaths, I can drink my coffee (not recommended by holistic practitioners, but a necessity for me at this point), and probably my best solution would be to step away from the devices and take my children for a walk. But then the problem will still be there when we return. This is the conundrum of a connected society. I love the freedom of using Wi-Fi to work from home and to chat to friends that live far away. But when it stops working, I get stressed, and so do my children. We have grown to rely on this technology, and to expect it as a service just like our running water and central heating at home.
Part of me says that this is an unhealthy attitude, and that I shouldn’t allow something so petty to upset me. But I have built my career online, and I need it to work. I need my children to have a couple of hours on their devices so that I can work in peace, and I balanced that by inviting their friends to our house for a playdate yesterday, spending time in the garden and away from devices. But even thinking about how to balance screen time with old-fashioned play time causes stress. We can’t win! How do you balance your life and wellbeing in a Wi-Fi connected world?
Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .