Why We Loved It When Our Vacation Went Off Track
My family and I recently went on a trip where we had lots of outdoor activities scheduled, but when we got to our destination there were drastic changes to the weather forecast. ☃️
There were several issues with our plans – the first revolved around being unprepared with wardrobe options.
It was at least 20 degrees colder than we expected it to be. Instead of a lightweight jacket, we’d need hats, coats, and gloves… which we had not packed.
Ahhh… the fun of an unexpected arctic weather front! ?❄️?
My husband and I sat in our hotel room on our first morning combing the internet for either alternate entertainment options or for the nearest wizard who could surely make the weather cooperate with our plans.
Unfortunately, there were no wizards in the area.
The alternate options didn’t offer much.
We stared at each other for a bit and then laughed.
What were we to do?
We were in a strange city with a packed hotel suite (kids, dogs, etc.) and nothing to do.
Then it dawned on me…
So what if we have a day or two with a ton of downtime to allow ourselves to be bored.
So what if reading and the dice game I brought might be our only form of “entertainment” that didn’t involve screens (which we were trying to avoid)?
During the hour or so of Bob and I intently searching for entertainment options while the rest of our crew was still sleeping we had a range of feelings from disappointment to desperation.
What is it about our lives these days that makes us squirm if there’s not something going on?
What changed in my brain somewhere between 1985 when there were no laptops, iPads and iPhones on our car trips and… this trip 2019?
When did I become so ill-equipped to be fine with being (GASP!) analog?
It made me realize how very desperately we needed a day of “boredom.”
There’s a recent study concerning kids and activity addiction.
The activity doesn’t have to be literally “active” – this included screen time.
Surprisingly nearly 90% of the children’s activity was sedentary: phone, tablet, gaming system, etc.
The question I asked just a moment ago “What changed in my brain between 1985 and 2019?” is a big one.
The answer is – a lot.
This doesn’t just have to do with kids.
It has to do with us, and it’s impacting our effectiveness at work, at home and even at sleep.
The change over the last 30+ years is significant.
This over-exposure to constant activity and information changes the structure of our brains.
Most of the studies you’ll find regarding screen time and information overload are focused on children, however, we grown-ups are not immune to addiction and damage from the exact same things.
Just because you’re grown doesn’t mean your brain matter is finished changing.
It changes based on just about everything you do from how much sunlight you experience daily to your body fat percentage.
It all causes an increase or decrease – a benefit or damage to your brain tissue.
According to Psychology Today, “Too much screen usage results in grey matter shrinkage, problems with the white matter’s ability to communicate, a lot more cravings and generally poor cognitive performance.”
If I lost you with the “grey matter/white matter” part of that quote, here’s a layman’s explanation.
No wonder it causes poor cognitive performance… your mental RAM is shrinking!
After realizing how ridiculous it was that we were beginning to stress ourselves out over how to keep everyone entertained, we decided we’d just roll with it.
And we did.
We played that dice game, cards, and had a good old fashioned 1985 vacation day.
It was so glorious we repeated it the next day.
How many times do you experience this type of unplugging in a week?
In a month?
In a year?
After this experience, our family made a commitment to create this type of day for ourselves on a regular basis at home.
Maybe you should, too.