Taking time out to recharge our batteries.

Taking time out to recharge our batteries.

I want to talk about time today and especially the importance of taking time out to recharge our batteries. Time is very precious. We can’t buy time and as we get older there seems to be more behind us than in front of us. Before I came out to France I was feeling very frazzled. It had been an enjoyable but busy summer. I flew out here last Tuesday choosing to deliberately spend time on my own.

Taking time out to recharge our batteries.

I started writing this blog ten years ago at about the same time as we bought our apartment here in the South of France. Since then the digital world and social media have exploded. Hours can be lost scrolling! So I decided to take a digital detox. I have been choosing to go for long walks in the countryside and spending time just staring out of the window watching the clouds float past. For the first few days I found this challenging. The urge to pick up my phone and check my emails at regular intervals was powerful. How had this happened without me noticing?

Grimaud village

I began listening to podcasts about social media and how it is set up to draw us in. Each time we get a “like” on Instagram or Facebook we get a dopamine rush which can become very addictive. There are some very interesting masterclasses on Calm, a meditation app that I use regularly. about how this works. The one on “Stillness” by Pico Iyer and “Social Media & Screen Addiction” by Dr Adam Alter are both worth listening to.

Grimaud Village

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against social media. I have met a number of wonderful people through Instagram, some of whom have become good friends. It is just that I have decided that I want to be in charge of how I use social media. I now set my kitchen alarm clock for an allocated time span and as soon as it rings I log off and maybe head to the local wine bar to meet with friends for a coffee or glass of the local wine

One thing that I notice about the French is that if you pass a stranger whilst out walking the always say “Bonjour”. The same in the local shops. Have we lost this common courtesy and interaction with our fellow human beings. i suppose it is the price we pay for living in a busy towns and cities like London.

Grimaud village

I remember as a child spending hours playing on my own (my two brothers were much older than me) and sometimes feeling quite bored. Yet boredom is good for us. It is often when we have our most creative ideas. That is why “sleep on it” is good advice. Our brain is working away in the background and we often wake up with a solution to whatever problem had been bothering us.

Grimaud village

That brings me to the question of sleep. So many of us are not getting enough. It is so easy to get caught up in a Netflix series and keep watching long past our bedtimes. Also, the blue light from our devices mimics daylight and does not allow our bodies to make the necessary hormones that generate sleepiness. I have a warm light filter on my computer and have recently bought a pair of blue light blocking glasses for reading my kindle (the older versions don’t offer a screen filter).

I would love to hear your comments as to how you manage to keep your sanity in an ever more distracting world. What social channels do you love or hate and how and why you use them? As a grandmother to three young boys, 8, 6 and 4. I am fascinated to see how their brains will develop in this ever changing digital world.

Grimaud village view

Nothing is more important than taking time out to be still. We all need to switch off and recharge our batteries.

Now I am incredibly lucky and grateful to be able to come to this part of the world and enjoy the abundance of what nature can provide to soothe my soul.

Grimaud village
French vineyards South of France
Grimaud Village

I hope you enjoyed these images. So quiet and peaceful.

Resources to help you to take time out to recharge your batteries

Used wisely our connected world has many good resources to offer. Below are a few I like.

One of the main ways that I use to stay as calm as possible in this busy world is through meditation. I have two apps that I use, Headspace being the main one. I have written about the benefits of meditation here and here. I also follow Dr.Chatterjee on Instagram, he does some excellent short podcasts. I also have his book “The Stress Solution”.

Over to you and your opinions and if you have any good resources or ways of taking time out and recharging your batteries do please share them.


  1. Mara
    18th October 2019 / 17:10

    I like your post that remind me of my trip in Croatia early in March. I experienced same things as you did, not a single moment thinking of busy life in Canada. The answers we seek are within ourselves, so every day I have to find time to “live in the moment” and enjoy those that I encounter.

    • 18th October 2019 / 18:20

      So true Mara we just need to give ourselves space for the answers to come to the surface.

  2. Susan Harper
    18th October 2019 / 17:11

    Lovely photos and a message we all should heed. I fear for the younger generation the most.

  3. 18th October 2019 / 17:16

    I so agree about being bored… it is priceless. I too get a rush from social media while my husband is very critical of it all. But we all have to find our own time and way. It always seems that everyone else is “on” all the time which of course is not true. But so it seems. I have yet to take a real digital break, but I know I am not doing blog posts very often any more. I think, perhaps, I’ve said all I can say! Anyway, very thoughtful post and thank you Josephine.

  4. Sara
    18th October 2019 / 17:47

    Although I use technology a great deal, I am not on any social media and I cannot actually see what benefit it would bring to me. I think it is different for you, Josephine, because you have your blog, and probably need a presence on the others but I have no interest in celebrity culture and all my other interests are catered for via newspapers, magazines, iPad and phone apps, word of mouth and good old fashioned phone calls and meetings with friends. I do not need to know who is eating what, going to the supermarket or who liked what! As an ex child mental health worker, I saw enough of the misery caused by social media to put me off for several lifetimes! The idea of just turning it off was so outlandish to so many young people that it was rarely worth the breath to say it.
    I did suggest all media off an hour before bed knowing full well I did not do this myself, but I am a very good sleeper, so can sleep immediately after being on my IPad or Kindle.
    I do feel a little like the odd one out regarding my non-use of social media, but I still cannot see its point! Can anyone enlighten me?

    • 18th October 2019 / 18:18

      Hi Sara
      You are correct I do need to use social media for my work however I am very selective and limit my time on these platforms. I would rather go for a walk or read a good book and definitely do not like celebrity culture. Neither of my adult children uses social media much. My daughter has just gone freelance as a speech therapist and has created a Facebook page. I will yet to see what happens with my three grandsons.

    • Elizabeth Forbes
      29th October 2019 / 10:32

      Hi Sara, my husband and I came to social media relatively late and only use Facebook but we have found it invaluable to keep up with friends scattered around the globe. We don’t follow celebrities, unless you count Max Out in the lakes who is a dog!

  5. 18th October 2019 / 18:02

    I so enjoyed these photos – what a gorgeous area you’re in! Will have to pop over from Aix and stroll those lanes some day!

  6. Jo Johnston
    18th October 2019 / 18:15

    The photographs of such lovely scenes was a real treat. I agree that much time is wasted on social media.

  7. Angela in NZ
    18th October 2019 / 19:48

    From time to time I find myself purging Facebook and Instagram to ensure I don’t disappear down the rabbit hole. I only joined FB to see photos my grown up children post, but inevitably my number of ‘Likes’ and ‘Follow’ crept up. Now they consist principally of travel, gardening and some mature fashion. The travel bug has hit us strongly since we sold our holiday home and my husband retired. We most definitely will have a social media and email free 3 weeks when we go to China next week. No Google anything and many other restrictions. It will be good for us I’m sure to break the habit. We are very fortunate to live in a rural location outside of our biggest city and whilst the main highway is not far away (has some benefits) we are surrounded by nature. Native bush across the tidal river and many other broadleaf trees in our acre garden bring a wonderful array of bird life. My me time is usually when hand weeding, and yes there’s plenty given the size, a task which I don’t see as a chore but rather an opportunity for quiet reflection. My husband usually finds some small, and recently larger, construction project about the place to keep himself occupied. We are both only children so grew up entertaining ourselves and this I hope will serve us well going forward. We left ‘town’ 7 years ago and when we go down there from time to time we now shudder at the thoughts of ever living there again. We have found our happy place at just the right time in our lives and frequently pinch ourselves at how we arrived here given we’ve only had twenty years to build this life together.

    • 19th October 2019 / 08:06

      Hi Angela
      Thank you for your comment. We too are thinking of moving further out of London in the near future. The place we currently live in is very green however it is ot far from Heathrow airport and the noise polution and traffic has increased over the last few years. We are looking ro somwhere quieter.
      I love listening to birdsong. We had a cuckoo, a very shy bird, come and pirch on our balcony yesterday.

  8. Wendy
    18th October 2019 / 20:15

    Your photos today are absolutely lovely, thank you. Have you noticed that a lot of people nowadays are looking at their phones whilst walking?! Apart from the danger of walking into things or falling over, they are missing out on observing the world around them. Awhile ago now I started sitting down for 10 – 15 mins every morning to eat my breakfast without any distractions at all. Once I have finished eating I just sit and do nothing for a few minutes and it’s the most relaxing part of my day. It has also become a habit so it’s not difficult at all now to just sit quietly and relax and think.

    • 19th October 2019 / 08:07

      Hi Wendy
      Walking in London has now become very hazardous nearly everybody is looking at their phones.

  9. PatB
    18th October 2019 / 21:14

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures, a virtual vacation. I have the same concerns and appreciate your well written post.

  10. Brenda Chell
    18th October 2019 / 21:15

    Some great comments here. I love nothing more than a good read and a walk taking in beautiful scenery. Thank you for showing yours Josephine. Good to listen to Dr Chatterjee and Headspace too. Hmm, I do worry about my three lovely grandaughters in this digital age. Maybe they will eventually come to realise too many hours are wasted just watching what other people are doing. Also information can be obtained so quickly from talking to their tablets it’s hard for them to understand the concept of waiting and patience ..

    • 19th October 2019 / 08:09

      I agree Brenda patience is in short supply. What happened to delayed gratification? There could well be a backlash similar to the current awareness regarding “fast fashion”.

  11. Sandra
    18th October 2019 / 23:47

    Lovely, thoughtful post, Jo. I just returned from a 4-week vacation in France where I tried to stay off my phone and the Internet for most of the trip. Long walks in the Dordogne, the Lot and Pays Basque helped to recharge my soul. I love Paris, but, like most big cities, the pace is too frenetic. People seem to be afraid of downtime and are constantly scrolling on their phones. Those of us who grew up without the Internet and mobiles know better.

    I always say “Bonjour” in France to everyone I meet, but I gigle inside, as that type of courtesy would garner strange looks in NYC where no one even makes eye contact. Remember to say “Bonjour” even when entering a waiting room in a French doctor’s office! 🙂

    • 19th October 2019 / 08:11

      Hi Sandra “Bonjour is definitely important here. I forgot to say “Bonjour” when I got on the bus from the airport to get here. The driver said a very loud “Bonjour” and waited till I returned the compliment before giving me my ticket.

  12. Julia
    19th October 2019 / 03:02

    Lovely photos and text!

  13. Catherine Doran
    19th October 2019 / 11:02

    You do not need to go to France to find chatty people, here in East Yorkshire it is normal to say hello to people especially in shops and it is normal to chat to complete strangers whilst waiting in ques or at bus stops and I am sure this is true of many rural areas, it is big cities where everyone is too busy to talk. I love reading your blog, thank you for taking the time to write it.

    • 19th October 2019 / 11:33

      You are quite right Catherine. My husband found that when he went up to the Derbyshire on a fishing trip.

  14. Karen McB
    20th October 2019 / 00:51

    I deactivated my Facebook account for a year, and just started checking it again about a week ago — mostly because I was missing out on some family news. I can already feel myself checking in more frequently, commenting and responding more … a dangerous trend. You are so right about the attention sucked up by the digital world. I like your solutions!

    • Melinda Rhodes
      10th November 2019 / 03:59

      Karen, you can also turn off your notifications on your phone. That is very helpful . Social media can be addicting – searching for likes – praise and accolades.

  15. 20th October 2019 / 01:36

    Beautiful photos, Josephine! I’ve become increasingly aware of and concerned about the amount of time I spend online, particularly time wasted scrolling. The feeling that I need to be constantly connected is difficult to step away from, but I like your idea of setting a timer and will definitely give that a try.

    Elaine @ Following Augustine

  16. Elizabeth Forbes
    29th October 2019 / 10:34

    Lovely post, I really like the photos. Most important thing about using social media? Turn off notifications so it doesn’t keep interrupting you.
    Also regarding the Kindle, if you have an e-ink version (can’t be read in the dark) it does not produce any light to disturb your sleep.

  17. Melinda Rhodes
    10th November 2019 / 04:29

    Hello, I wanted to comment, sort of on subject. The photos here are wonderful. I have looked at your blog, not all the posts but a few for tonight ~ very nice. It is clear to see that you manage yourself emotionally and see the importance of certain key factors that contribute to well being ~ rest, stress levels, meditation and calm quiet time. I might add a key factor for me is to drink plenty of water in addition to a clean diet. It is clear to me you are thoughtful as to what you are putting on the inside. I am happy for you. Though we don’t know each other I am glad you have found serenity. I am well aware, wishing happiness, grace and peace for others has a positive effect on my own state if mind. I recently visited England for the first time. I did this overseas trip alone for reflection and self awareness. Emotionally, I sorted out barriers and found a stronger woman when I returned to USA. I learned completely what my emotional boundaries were and set them on some loved ones that needed a line in the sand. I thank you for the – how to care for my cashmere lesson. I will just add, I have had FB notification turned off on my phone for several years now. Though social media is necessary ~ it doesn’t make us better and the search for likes is ……..
    The blog is enjoyable

  18. 11th November 2019 / 08:25

    Hi Melinda
    Thank you for your long comment. I try to mamage my emotional state however I would say it is wrork in progress. I would not say that I have found serenity although I definitely exerience this state at times. There are periods when I experience anxiety and lack of sleep. I try to drink enough water however I could do better expecially in the winter months.
    I do not have any social media notifications. Those would definitely drive me mad.
    Glad you like th blog and had a positive experience in the UK.

  19. Natalie
    11th September 2020 / 20:34

    I enjoy fashion for older women but I’m not on facebook. My husband and I have decided it’s just not for us. Taking my time alone in the mornings to be by myself and have my morning devotions has kept me sane since our son was young. My husband is a social butterfly but I need my alone time, As the years have gone by-married 31 years now-we have adjusted to one another more and more to make the other happy.

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