Every once in a while, I see a post on Facebook or another online platform announcing that someone’s taking a break from social media. You’ve probably seen these too. I always thought it was funny or strange. Why would anyone want to take a break? It’s not a big deal to be a part of these communities, I would find myself thinking… In fact, it’s really fun and now, you’re going to miss out!
Then I did it myself. In March, I went off the grid for 7 days, and was amazed by the revelations that the process uncovered for me. It was all pretty standard textbook stuff… Stepping back, reassessing priorities, and finding a sense of self once removed from the constant buzz.
I was at a point where social media was consuming me. It wasn’t a PART of my life. It was the entire basis around which I conducted each day. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat were my main addictions, and there was an inescapable pressure to keep up with it all… Scroll. Like. Follow. Post. Snap. Laugh all the laughs. Feel all the feels. Rinse and repeat.
I realized I had a genuine fear when it came to the idea of disconnecting. Maybe part of it was due to the fact that we moved to another state where we have no family, and making friends has been a slow process. Maybe I was just addicted like everyone else. I can’t say I’m totally recovered, but I’m trying.
I do have to say that being a work-from-home mom, social media truly helps me feel connected to people. I enjoy catching glimpses of everyone’s lives, as well as keeping people up to date on mine. As a first time mom, I’m notoriously posting photos of our son in that #SorryNotSorry way. What it all comes down to is that I don’t want to miss out, and I don’t want our family and friends to feel like they’re missing out either. Time passes so quickly.
That being said, I lacked balance in my life. I felt in a way enslaved to social media – like it was a job that I had to attend every day, and if I didn’t show up, I’d not only be missing out, I’d also be letting someone down. Such a weird, twisted way to feel. I’m pretty embarrassed to even write about it, but I want to be honest because I think it’s important to realize that many of us are in that same spot. Too many of us.
This blog started off with a focus on decluttering and simplifying my home. I wanted to minimize all the ‘stuff’ and focus on what matters. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I can apply that same mission to other areas of my life.
After my 7 day “detox”, I decided to get rid of Snapchat, which was not an easy decision, as silly as that sounds. Several of my friends told me my Snapchat account was their favorite one to follow (What?!), and if I went a few days without posting, they would notice and ask about it. So there was this weird pressure I felt to not stop. Admittedly, it was really fun to snap and post the smallest moments of my life – and to feel like I had friends joining my journey. Even the mundane came to life with Snapchat. It was awesome, but something had to give. Do I miss it? Yes, but missing something is okay, I discovered. The more important thing is feeling a balance in life which is so elusive these days.
I’m still on Facebook and Instagram, and don’t anticipate deactivating those accounts, but I am working on how often I check those sites, and how much time I spend scrolling. I don’t want it to consume me. I have other things I want to accomplish. Books to read. Art projects to finish. Stories to write. A family to love. New friends to meet. Memories to make. Life is so precious. Every passing moment is one that we’ll never revisit again, except in our memories.
Whether it’s scaling back on social media or something else (TV? Games?), only you know exactly what your life needs…
Expand your mind.
Try something new. Heck, try something OLD.
The opportunities are endless. Don’t you come back telling me you’re bored. 😉
“Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to the other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you.” – Helen Keller