It isn’t trans fat.
It isn’t sugar.
It isn’t red dye 40.
Those things can definitely play a role in making us feel well or unwell, and I will always advocate for a balanced diet. But when I use the term ‘health,’ I’m thinking about life holistically. The sum of all the different aspects of who we are, how we live, who we interact with, and the way we treat ourselves and the environment.
Breakfast: vegan zucchini waffles + blueberries with chocolate sauce (made from melting 99% cacao chocolate in the microwave)Distraction.
I didn’t know much about the word origin, and when I looked it up, it made sense. Distract comes from the latin dis, meaning apart and trahere meaning to draw. Over time, it became distract, meaning to pull in different directions.
Throughout each day, we experience that pulling. Our thoughts and senses are engaged almost 24/7. Distraction has become the norm for most modern day cultures. When I look at my own day to day living, I know I am distracted (often willingly) most hours of the day.
Lunch: lentil soup + crackers and hummus.When I eat, I want to watch Netflix, read, catch up on blogs, write.
When I workout, bake, clean, I want to listen to music or podcast.
When I’m in the car, I usually have the radio on.
I check email, facebook, instagram embarrassingly often.
Snack: plain cashew milk kefir + zucchini bread + figsDistraction when I eat prevents me from savoring food, being thankful for all the hands that were involved in bringing it to my table, and listening to my satiation cues.
Distraction when I engage in even menial tasks prevents me from staying present in the moment and doing them efficiently.
Distraction prevents me from listening intently and engaging in conversation and working through emotions. It dulls and blocks, instead of opening and softening. Distractions don’t have to be tangible either, like a phone or TV. My thoughts (read: worries), can be a distraction, especially during devotions. One second I’m mediating on scripture and the next my mind is frantically calculating how to pay for my second semester of college…when I haven’t even started the first one.
It can disrupt sleep too, which is a huuuuge part of health.
It prevents us from listening to how we feel. We’re pulled in so many directions. We know it’s impossible to physically give our all to everything without snapping, so the exchange is to give 0.1% to 1000 different little things. Part of the desire to be engaged all the time comes from a need to be busy, preoccupied, doing something every minute, and multitasking seems like the perfect way to check off all the boxes. We’re left feeling disconnected and exhausted because distraction is truly exhausting.
The next question to ask is what are we trying to distract ourselves from?
Is it silence? Loneliness? Feelings that feel impossible to face? Insecurity? Boredom?
More Snacks: zucchini bread, mango sorbet + a frozen bananaFor me, it’s a pinch of all of these plus some, depending on the day. Distraction is something I need to let go of. Of course, I haven’t given up reading, podcasts, or Netflix, but I’m learning to avoid these things during mealtimes, devotions, conversations and take time to be quiet throughout the day.
It’s more difficult than I imagined, but it’s equally more important than I imagined. I want to learn how to accept, crave stillness.
So tell me…
Do you struggle with distraction?
How do you combat feeling pulled in every direction?