Although I love being with my kids and family and having a day off, I get more satisfaction from working hard than doing nothing. Relaxing is not just being idle. You’ll generally feel better when all your muscles hurt from the workout you did yesterday, than from laying still all day. But maybe that’s just me.
The fact is that digital media have a habit of pulling you back in. That’s all in the best interest of the services you are using of course. Those Facebook notifications make you want to keep coming back for more. Those red squares or circles with numbers in them are simply irresistible. You can’t ignore them. You must to click them. You need to have all those boxes checked and messages replied to and cannot leave stones unturned and messages unread.
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Except of course you don’t. I’m not a nervous wreck and I can relax just fine. All those social networks and services are as intimidating as walking into a library. My first impression is to be overwhelmed with the amount of information I can access, but then I relax and realize I don’t really need to go through every book, but can pick up what I want and ignore the rest.
Every generation has a generation above it that blames a medium for everything thats wrong with the world. Videogames were to blame for violence. Before that television was dumbing down a whole generation. Somewhere in between, kids were losing themselves in cartoons. I’ve heard that when the chaise longue became popular in France politicians warned that kids would get addicted to hanging around on them and not play outside anymore. Blaming the medium is as old as, well, any medium.
Of course there are also people who put too much faith in technology when it comes to relaxing. I use an app to track my sleeping patterns and have the impression it helps me sleep better. When I wear my Nike FuelBand I relax when have moved enough and reach my daily goal. I never get lost any more because I use the GPS tracker in my phone. And I can relax when my kids are hanging around the house because I can always see where they are using Find my Friends. But research has shown that the more we know the more worried we get.
My mother had no idea where I was hanging out and what I was doing and although I’m sure she worried, she also trusted me to do the right thing. I assume I’m less worried, but am I really, when I’m frantically checking my Find my Friends app, charging my phone because I would be lost without GPS and keeping track of my body movements all day so I can reach my FuelBand goal?
When it comes to relaxing, technology is a double-edged sword – which makes it a very good subject for this month’s issue of TNW Magazine.