Christmas already feels like a distant memory, but a good one all the same. My family came through with two interesting gifts for me: a “start” gift and a “stop” gift. Brilliant.
My daughter bought me a Fitbit, a well-intended gift to encourage me to start to be more active, healthy and generate just enough shame that when I fail to do these things, it will get me back on track.
She assures me I’ll love it. And I want to believe her. I do. But I feel like I’m wearing a tracking device out of a science fiction novel that ends badly for the human race.
Yet, I’m intrigued. It’s cute. My Fitbit, or as I call it “Fun But” (read as: “it looks like fun, but …” ), has a coral rubber band and a slim screen with teeny-tiny writing that I cannot actually read unless I am wearing my bifocals.
Ha, the jokes on you Fun But. I can’t read your insulting step counts, your competitive activity levels, or your notification texts from the Carpenter asking me what we’re doing for dinner. If you’re going to shame me, you’ll need at least a 14-point font.
Naturally, this has spiked my “always on” mobile phone addiction, since these devices are synched. It took me 24 hours to figure out how to mute the Fun But text notifications. The gentle vibrational nudge on my left wrist, a jolt of “pay attention to me right now or you will miss something and the world will go into crisis,” needed to stop. The heart rate monitor said so.
One benefit? I cannot answer from my wrist. This gives my sarcasm/anger reactionary meter time to recalibrate before I pick up my phone to formally respond to text messages. This may be a life saver.
I’m enjoying the sleep tracker, though. It’s validating to see my sleep interruptions in real time. Sleeping next to the Carpenter, with his symphonic snoring and middle of the night pre-alarms for his actual alarm that he then snoozes before his official “get up already” alarm goes off means I glide through sleep like an airplane coming into a landing in hurricane winds bouncing on and off the tarmac.
Now I can prove my sleep deprivation with graphs and charts. It won’t change anything, but I will feel validated. Little victories count.
My daughter has set a daily step count challenge. Her job requires her to basically run around for hours, while I sit all day at a desk, so basically, this game is already rigged. Still, she assures me the Fun But will help me manage stress. If my heart rate goes up, my screen will alert me. Truth? I check my beats per minute more than I check Instagram.
My “stop” gift is also amazing: a weighted “stop the world” blanket for the anxiety and sleep-deprivation noted above. This soft but heavy blanket is no joke. I am in love. Our nightly snuggle is like a reward for surviving another day, because that’s exactly what it is: a comprehension hug for decompression. Ah, so good.
Now my Fun But needs to add a human sloth mode, or an “I don’t have to and you can’t make me” mode.
Knowing when to start and when to stop is an important boundary in self-care. Worth it.