- Couples Retreat
Stress from computers can be a unique kind of stress. On Sunday night I got a message on my computer that there was a software update available for my operating system. Knowing it could take awhile to download, I pressed the appropriate keys and went to bed.
On Monday morning I noticed there seemed to be one last step needed for the download to complete. Trusting my computer completely, I pressed enter. Frustratingly enough, I got a message indicating it would take an hour to download the update and I had a Skype counseling session in 30 minutes!
No worries, I thought. I’ll just cancel the update. I tried and tried but I couldn’t find a way to cancel it. I shut the computer off. I searched for different ways to abort. After the second or third time I shut it down, something happened. You know that little circle that spins round and round when your computer turns on? Well nothing happened but that. I couldn’t get into my computer at all anymore!
I contacted the person I knew I was meeting by phone. She graciously agreed to a phone session. Fortunately, I knew I had an easy day and could remember all my appointments. The frustration grew though as I realized I couldn’t reschedule their next appointments and I couldn’t accept payment as it’s all done through my computer.
I thought of other solutions. I did up credit card authorization forms by hand to type in the payments later. I wrote down a reminder to call people I met with this week. And as soon as I could, I booked an appointment with the Genius Bar for Apple computers and drove into town.
Enroute I evaluated how well it was serving me that I hadn’t gotten my phone and iPad email in working order. I put that on my mental to do list.
Twice during the week I went to Calgary. My hard drive hadn’t crashed, just the software. They put it on again and gave me directions on how to download my back up drive at home.
By the third day, being solution-focused and positive was, although helpful, wearing a bit thin. Who knew you should keep a paper copy of product key information for software in cases like this? I spent hours on the phone with software companies explaining my situation and getting the necessary information. Who knew the back up drive could make it difficult to find all the necessary information? The stress from computers was growing!
In between these annoyances, I went for walks. Getting my circulation going was helpful. It was also good to practice mindfulness. I paid attention to blades of grass, the buds and blooms sprouting on the vegetation, the sounds of the birds and the wind, and the variety and depth of all the colors of nature. (For more information on mindfulness, please read this blog. )
I also focused on my breathing and let all other thoughts go. (For more information on meditation, please go to my Breathing Meditation blog.
I also paid attention to how I was framing this whole experience. Yes it was aggravating, and yes it was taking longer than I thought it would, but things could have been much worse. I could’ve destroyed my hard drive and needed a new computer. I didn’t. I may not have had a back up drive but I did.
I chose to concentrate on how well things were going under the circumstances and how fortunate it was that I could run to a friend’s house to look at my online appointment calendar daily. I thanked my lucky stars that I had planned a week of catch up and planning instead of booking lots of appointments. I didn’t get to do those things but at least it afforded me the time to go to Calgary and to a computer whiz for assistance.
There were a few blips along the way. For example, somehow I totally missed an appointment. It wasn’t in my online calendar and the couple were not impressed. I apologized and tried to rectify the problem. As of today they have not returned my messages but I take a deep breath, remind myself that I’ve done everything I can do, and say ‘Que sera sera’ (whatever will be will be). It’s not a situation I can control and I make the decision to let it go.
Stress from computers is something all too familiar for many of us. We get a stark reminder of how much we rely on the damn things when they don’t work. But we also have an opportunity to put things in perspective, to take action to solve the issues, to practice mindfulness, meditation and acceptance, and to get some exercise and fresh air away from the blue light. Think mellow yellow.
For more tips on managing stress, read an article from the Mayo Clinic.