My Social Media Holiday
Last time we talked I had threatened a social media detox. December 5th I turned off the notifications. Specifically Facebook and Instagram. Taking a break from the daily checkins was something I knew I wanted to try. December is a busy time, my mind was a cluttered mess already, and I wanted to really enjoy the season, so the timing was right.
Within a day I realized that I just might have been addicted to social media. It was my vice, my escape. It numbs your emotions as you unconsciously compare yourself to a multitude of people you may or may not even know. Is that a bad thing to want to escape reality for a few? I suppose we all have our weaknesses, but even I know that too much of anything is never good.
I noticed that every time things got a little stressful, wether that meant parenting challenges, housework overwhelm, or even a slow moving line at the store, I would instantly feel the desire to “check” my feeds. And what better way to check out of your own reality than to snoop on someone else's. A reality where nobody shows any pictures of supper boiling over to a crust on the stove. Instead we take a quick break to check in on how other people are making it, and guess what, their “making it” looks way better than mine! Everytime.
How about a trip to the medical clinic where you have to wait for an hour and a half without scanning Insta or Facebook? Could you do it? I had to dig deep people, very deep. And if your neck isn’t hunched over distracted by the glare of the screen you realize that 89% of the population is. Actually lets make that 99% in a waiting room. What on earth did we do before?
I have to say that my brain physically felt different during the first few days. It almost felt like it was getting a massage… I could literally feel the neutrons reconnecting I swear. I happened to be taking a day trip as a passenger in the car on day two, and I can’t remember the last time I just embraced having to sit and be. It may sound cheesy but I enjoyed taking in the view outside my window or listening to the words of the song on the radio. I had to actually make conversation with my husband, instead of mumbling and nodding as I half listened, half googled some random thought. I was fully present in the moment. That's when I realized I may have lost my ability to be still, to be patient. I almost instantly felt connected to life again.
Without the distraction of my screen around me in the house I would pick up a book I had been meaning to read. I tackled that closet that needed organizing, I took my time cooking a meal. I was more present with my family for sure and I just found that I thought slower, I drove slower and I was more in the moment.
I also enjoyed the fact that facebook would email me when events were coming up or remind me of birthdays, so I didn't feel entirely out of the loop. And instead of a generic birthday wish on FB I actually sent a physical text, a real sentiment!
So ya, positive changes for sure. I have to say for about two solid weeks I didn’t even want to check my feeds. I knew this was a good thing, exactly what I needed. I had more neutrons left to connect. Ha!
But closer to Christmas I was tempted to check in. I mean, the concerts, parties, holiday memories, I wanted to have a peak. Also, I suppose things started to get more hectic around my house so ya, I was looking for a quick distraction. I admit it. And one quick hit lead to another and so on and so forth. Until there I was before bed, numbing myself to sleep to the voice of Jillian Harris’s insta stories…..why?
So the results of my trial? The detox was definitely an eye opener. For me and my mind I think less is definitely more. Social media is a wonderful way to stay connected and I appreciate it for that. I enjoy seeing what my people are up to, I really do, but a quick scan periodically would suffice. More time alone with my thoughts isn't the worst thing, infact I felt like I could connect better to who I was authentically without the influence of page after page of comparison.
The quick, instant, over domination of social media has us losing connection to the slower more important things in life, this I know for sure. Eye contact, communication, and the biggest one for me…patience. I couldn’t believe how impatient I was. I needed to be doing something or looking at something all the time. Just sitting was torture. So I will practice standing in line without having to “check my phone”. I will turn off my screen when my kids are around, and when I’m out with friends, the phone can stay in my purse. Surely the world will be alright without me for a few hours?
I'm sorry that I don't have a definitive answer on wether or not social media is necessary. I was hoping for a major epiphany. It has it's place...I think. But if it starts to take over it can get messy. So yes, I will continue to use social media but I am making a very conscious effort to to use it minimally. Just like the chocolate bars…all in moderation people.