GUEST contributor! In this Part 1 of a 2-part series, Taniya Gupta of YogaTeaPoetry shares her experience with “information rest,” a 21-day challenge we both embraced. Taniya reflects on her inspiration, process, and results of setting aside 30 minutes every day to not consume any new information–no media, no books, etc.
Inspiration for Information Rest
It was around 9pm on a Sunday, and I felt tired. If you looked at what I did all day, it wasn’t all that strenuous. I slept in more than usual (thanks, no thanks to daylight savings), went to get breakfast from my favorite café, attended a two-hour long virtual talk about ‘living in creativity’, hung up some photo frames with hubby, made dinner, and ate while watching an episode of ‘Ted Lasso.’ Pretty chill Sunday one can say but why was I still so tired? My tiredness was more mental than physical, and it made me think about my day once again, and all the information I had consumed since waking up. How much of that information did I truly digest, and how much of it was still orbiting in my mind?
That’s what started this whole experiment of ‘information rest’ – taking at least thirty minutes in a day when no new information was consumed – no podcasts, no books, no TV and no social media (essentially no form of media). I asked my dear friend, Traci, if she would want to join me in this little experiment since Traci’s work lately has been focused around promoting breaks, and rest. So we both agreed to try this experiment for 21 days, and then discuss our observations.
Week 1 and Week 2
I decided to go for a daily walk for 30 mins without any headphones, and most days, without a phone. The first day of the information rest experiment, as I started walking, my mind kept wondering how many more minutes we still had to go. Later in this first week, it got really cold, around -18C and extremely windy, but I still went for the walk to keep the routine, and found it extremely refreshing.
As week two arrived, so did the sunshine, and I looked forward to stepping out. I realized that these daily walks had become my favorite part of the day in just about 8 days. They had become essential to my sanity as Spring arrived, and with it, the feeling of overwhelm: “Am I doing enough?” These 30 mins gave me a chance to step away from everything and just be. The feeling of overwhelm was still there but it felt manageable, I could see things a bit more clearly, by taking this pause before deciding on the next step.
Week 3 and Closing Thoughts
Week three of the information rest was quite hectic both at work and home, it felt like everywhere I looked, there were tasks waiting for me. Once I stepped outside, without a phone or headphones, I felt like my body started to relax. I enjoyed looking at the buds on the trees, listening to the chirping birds, feeling the sun shine on my face and also letting the crisp air refresh me on the inside and outside.
The visual that keeps coming to my mind as I finish writing this piece is a person being bombarded with tasks from every direction, and these information rest periods are like stepping outside of this bubble of overwhelm, to just breathe and rest. The information rest periods really became my saviors, helping my body to respond to things instead of reacting. I, for one, will definitely be incorporating more periods of information rest into my daily routine.
You can read Traci’s reflections on her experience with this challenge in Part 2 of this series at “No Input Experiment: Traci’s Perspective.”
You can learn more about Taniya and read her story at YogaTeaPoetry. (I highly recommend subscribing to her heartfelt and lovely newsletter!)
You can follow Taniya on Instagram @yogateapoetry.