Cold showers

Cold showers
Arch of a church in Neuchâtel

I tend to be hard on myself. This attitude can take various shapes. In the latest iteration, I decided this vacation I will minimize online stimulation. The one kind of online presence that I still allow myself is coordination with friends, in case we want to meet, but nothing else beside that.

It may sound like being hard on myself is harsh. It definitely feels like that at times, especially when I cut out caffeine, for instance. Similarly, these “minimal online distraction days” also feel quite rough in the beginning. The only kind of social media I used in the last years has been Twitter, anywhere between a few minutes to 1 hour per day. Even if that is not a lot, and it wasn't regular either, it did not feel easy to me to avoid logging some Twitter time today. Additionally, I suspect I feel the lack of dopamine hit that I used to get from other online activities, notably e-mail and slack.

It may sound like being hard on myself is harsh. But this is a kind of restriction that I control and impose with zero external pressure, so it’s in fact not only bearable, but pleasant. It’s very much akin to the phases of taking a cold shower. The beginning is an uphill battle, and it’s important I don’t hesitate. The middle is still a battle but as long as I’m breathing intentionally it feels under control, it’s as if I could deal with it for days. The end doesn’t even matter, it’s just a flattened continuation of the middle, an electric relaxation where breathing goes back on auto-pilot as it was before I stepped in the shower, the war is over.

Note to self: Restricting the amount of dopamine hits is a lot like a cold shower. Most self-discipline efforts are like cold showers.