It’s no secret that we live in a digital age. Our schedules are on our phones, are friends and family are available on our phones, we source recipes, design choices, and book recommendations – drum roll, please – on our phones. Now, as much as we appreciate the accessibility of knowledge and inspiration, at times, it’s a bit overwhelming.
But what is the solution? Downloading a new app on your phone to ‘calm’ feels a bit counterintuitive…
We feel the answer lies in the analogue; activities that are inherently disconnected from anything digital. The slow, steady, and nourishing activities that can soothe your mind and leave you feeling grounded and full. For a bit of encouragement, we’ve created a list of 5 ways to help you reacquaint yourself with the joy of analogue this season .
Reading a physical book
It all begins in the bookstore; slowly meandering between titles and authors, characters you’ve yet to meet and narratives reimagined in ways you’ve never considered. Once you’ve found your selected title, you get to bring it home to a comfortable spot, curl up, and dive in. Feeling the pages between your fingers, experiencing the words shift from text on the page to images in your head of a story, or set of new ideas…
It’s a ritual unto itself, and one we’ve cherished since childhood. It calms the nervous system and provides a safe and nourishing kind of escape. It’s a wonderful activity to enjoy solo but can also provide a means of connecting with others in conversation over the love of an author, idea, or series.
If you’re not entirely sure where to start, but are feeling inspired by the topic at hand, we recommend popping by your local bookshop to see if they carry a copy of Wintering by Katherine May. It explores the power and value of turning inward when the outside world feels like it’s trying to push us down.
Listening to a record from start to finish
When was the last time you sat down and listened to a record from start to finish? That is, without checking your phone, without the distraction of a household task… a time where you allowed yourself to just sit and listen?
Finding stillness in sound is wonderfully grounding. In fact, there are even forms of meditation built on the foundation of bathing yourself in sound. While we are not experts in sound bathing, what we do feel confident in sharing is the fulfilment we feel after listening to an album from beginning to end. Albums are intended to be heard in such a way, but with music apps focusing heavily on playlists (which are great in their own way!), it can be easy to stray from the act of listening to an album as a whole.
This season, we’ve been enjoying turning to Andy Shauf and José González. Between Andy Shauf’s album The Party and José González’ Vestiges and Claws , you’ll be sure to enjoy a comforting and encompassing moment of music.
Patching and mending
When our minds feel scattered and the world feels chaotic, the act of mending can be incredibly therapeutic. Whether it’s fixing a button on a coat, darning wool socks, or patching a beloved pair of trousers, the act of fixing something inspires a wonderful sense of accomplishment and presence of mind.
It’s a simple and tangible task that can spark an enduring feeling of satisfaction; the soothing act of slowly sewing a small pull in the fabric of your favourite sweater that you then go on to wear for seasons to come, with the – possibly imperfect – mended seam, serving as a reminder of that straightforward yet rewarding task. Not to mention, we should be opting to mend our clothing rather than replace pieces when they show signs of wear. So you’ll be doing yourself and the planet a favour – win, win!
Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a handwritten note? Peeking into the mailbox to see an envelope with your name handwritten on the front, sealed by a dear friend whose return address is scrawled in the corner… even before opening the letter, a bit of joy is sparked by the letter’s arrival.
And as much as we adore receiving letters, we love writing them – the entire ritual of it. Taking a moment to collect your thoughts to then write them down for your someone to receive; choosing a well-suited pen for the paper or card you’ve selected to send; wandering down the road to the post box and popping the letter into the slot so that your words can be carried across the the country to your loved one…
While there’s joy in the task, writing letters is also known to ease feelings of disconnection or loneliness, it can strengthen relationships and help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Playing a game
Whether it be a classic like Chess, Scrabble, or the latest trendy game from your local shop, there is much to be said for gathering with a group of people and playing a game together. Between the laughter (which we all know is the best medicine), an excuse to get together and work towards a common goal… it’s a pretty wonderful way to spend time.
Playing board games can also be supportive for your mental and cognitive health, they can help reduce stress, encourage creativity and self-confidence, and they can be a non-intrusive way to include people who may otherwise have a hard time opening up in social settings. Between the many benefits, they can also just be plain old fun .
Between the increasingly crisp temperatures outside and the seasonal push to stay indoors, we hope that rather than reaching for your phone this season, you try leaning into the joys of analogue life; the quiet, simple kinds of activities that just might help soothe the noisiness of this digital age.