Where have I been? Perhaps you have “missed” my presence on social media lately…OR maybe you haven’t. I know a few of you have. I received some texts and emails asking if everything was okay. It felt good to be missed, so thank you to those who reached out to check on me.
Just before New Year’s Eve, I decided to take a short break from social media. I deactivated my accounts…that meant that I was logged out and if you happened to search for me, I wasn’t able to be found. No, I didn’t “block” anyone…I just wanted a complete break, and that meant holding myself accountable. When I activate my accounts, all my posts and photos will still be there…hopefully.
Why did I do this? Well, there is the obvious reason of cutting down on screen time. Last fall, my phone started giving me weekly updates on how much time I was spending on the various apps. It was startling, to say the least! Four to five hours a day…impossible! I thought “what could I accomplish in those hours if I WASN’T on my phone?” So I started setting limits of one hour per day on my social networking apps. That worked. Until I realized I could override the limit…
Being a blogger, it is easy to compare yourself to others. Are my posts interesting enough? Are people even reading what I write? Are my photos up to professional quality? Do I get enough “likes” or comments on my posts? I found myself comparing my Instagram posts to others a lot, and this was not good for my mental state.
Aside from cutting down on screen time and comparing myself to others, the other reason for taking a break involved my family. It occurred a few times over the holidays when I would snap a picture on my phone, one (or more) of my daughters asked me not to post it. I was embarrassed that they assumed I would post something personal. The conversation that followed was not a happy one, and I realized that maybe I was placing too much importance on social media and not enough on the wishes of my daughters.
So what have I learned?
First, I established some new habits. I learned not to grab my phone first thing in the morning and scroll through my social media feeds. At first I checked my email, but email is kind of boring so that didn’t last long. Instead of checking my phone, I pick up my gratitude journal and start my day with positivity.
My mind is so much more clear and feels less cluttered. A few of my friends asked me if I missed seeing posts on FB or IG. I don’t miss what I don’t know, right? I also feel like I’m actually more connected to people. Because I’m not seeing their social media posts, I am having more conversations with people to hear what’s going on in their lives. You know…the way we used to interact with friends and acquaintances.
How many of you check your phone while you wait in line at Target? Yep, me too…or I used to. I don’t do that as much, and it’s been nice to be present…like smiling at the adorable baby in the cart next to me, or looking at the items they are trying to sell you in the checkout aisles, or just people watching (always a fun activity).
However, I was asked the question…”How can you do your blog if you’re not on social media?” Good question! I can’t really. No one sees what I write if I can’t post it. I don’t make a living off my blog, so it’s okay to disappear for a bit. This digital detox wasn’t meant to be permanent…just a break. I acquired some new, healthier habits which I hope to continue. So I return to social media (and blogging) with a clear mind and a fresh perspective…