Monday, September 07, 2015

Internet Addiction

The Internet can be a scary place nowadays. It's becoming both commonplace and embarrassing to admit when we have an Internet addiction. I've been working on my sugar addiction first, and I have an easily addictive personality. I also "have" to be on the computer for several of my jobs, often during times when I'm just sitting around waiting for a tutoring student. So, when those times happen, I can often get sucked into the maelstrom of Facebook feeds rather than working on my blog or continuing to write my story.

So, what do I do about it? This one is a bit trickier, because, as mentioned, I often do "need" to be on the computer for my work, so I can't exactly go cold turkey. Also, the Internet has some amazing places to visit (Facebook groups that have tons of people using the same curriculum I am and sharing their awesome ideas, buy/sell/trade groups, because obviously I need to buy next year's curriculum today, and blogs!).

My solution for the sugar worked pretty well.
I won't say I've gone cold turkey on sugar, but I try to only eat it at special events (of course the church pot luck was this Sunday) and I reach for my delicious energy bites when I'm feeling a little craving mid-afternoon. My energy bite recipe is modified somewhat and is just oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and a few chocolate chips. I've also been trying to sit and think before eating what my body may be craving and why (emotional eating, versus needing a certain type of energy). I also have a clear goal in mind: avoiding type 2 diabetes. I know I'm not at high risk because of my age and weight, but I really do need to cut back on the sugar if I want to stay healthy.

So, keeping the same general ideas in mind (substitution and goal setting) here are my basic steps to try to deal with the Internet addiction this week.

  1. Use "online" time only when I have a specific purpose in mind, and open only those windows related to my purpose (it's so easy to say that I'm taking online surveys, when in reality I'm spending more time using Facebook).
  2. Have a secondary purpose when using the computer for tutoring time. Usually I use my "on-call" tutoring time to keep up with my blog, but I neglected my story last week until the very last minute (so I actually posted "late" on Friday which was a bit embarrassing since I spent so much time on the computer). I had stopped writing during tutoring time recently because I was getting a lot of sessions and didn't want to interrupt the story when I had to stop for a tutoring session, but it really didn't throw me off that much, so I think I will try it again this week and see how it goes.
  3. Consider doing more planning time on the couch, near the computer, rather than actually on the computer.
  4. Delete some smart phone games. I need to just delete these off my smartphone, I moved them off the home page, but it still alerts you when there are "new levels!" or "you haven't played yet today!" They really know how to reel you in. But this is the hardest step to take, because I will "lose" all my hard work.
  5. Handle stress appropriately. Many times I use "screen time" for myself when I've had a stressful day with the kids. I need to figure out some appropriate ways to de-stress. We were recently gifted a Wii (including Wii Fit) so I may use some of the yoga and aerobic activities as a way to help burn off some stress and get into better shape. I had been using a more advanced exercise program, but with my ankle still healing, I need something a bit more low key, and the "fun factor" may help with the stress more than feeling like I "have" to do a 45 minute exercise video.
  6. Keep my goal in mind - spending time with my family, face to face, in real life, loving on my kids, raising my kids, and improving my relationship with God and others. None of that can be done, or should be done, on Facebook.
What addiction do you have? What are some steps and goals to help you overcome your addiction and become a better you? 

Happy Labor Day! It's a perfect day to get outside and play!

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