Mental nourishment in the form of unplugging

My year of happy project is nourish, and for me, a huge part of nourish is making sure you’re in a place where you feel mentally and emotionally nourished.

Today let’s talk about social media 🙂

If you’re on any of the social media platforms, you’ll regularly hear your friends/ followers mention that the noise is too much.

The social media noise, that is.

We’re all aware of Facebook envy, where you imagine that people’s lives are the sum total of their updates, because nobody posts about the flip side of the coin, real life.

Instagram has made it a little worse for some people, I’d imagine, with beautiful pictures of families, homes, baking, and so on.

I remember when we went on a beach holiday, scrolling through my phone pictures, I’d see both Instagram-worthy photos (the beach…) and also the moments between Instagrams, like time outs and laundry day craziness.

The truth is I’ve never really felt like I needed to unplug because I try to live life on my own terms and not compare myself to others… and I feel relatively well balanced.

You see, I set up some boundaries for myself years ago which are now very firmly entrenched habits:

  1. I like to be more of a contributor than a consumer on social media. If I’m on a particular site, it’s first to contribute (post, photo, etc.) and then to consume (check other people’s pretty pics and status updates).
  2. I also use social media to connect with people. So if I scroll through my feed and see something I enjoy, whether a post or a photo, I’m probably going to comment or “like” that snippet. I want people to know I’m reading, watching and enjoying catching up with them, no matter how superficial.
  3. And of course, being a time management coach, I do have very firm time boundaries for myself.

Also, very old-fashioned of me, but I actually still use Pinterest for my original reasons, storing bookmarks and websites I may want to reference again, and of late, as a search engine for pretty things.

I have, in the past, prayed and felt like I couldn’t hear very well because my brain felt too cluttered.

I sensed then that I should take a bit of a social media fast to clear my head a bit.

Since I didn’t feel that it was completely necessary to not have any involvement, I did a “light version”:

  • I blogged in advance for the week ahead.
  • No internet at night after supper. Night times were now reserved for cooking, husband and kids, gym, photos, prayer and Bible reading and other projects… like the good old days!
  • When I’m at work, I only read blogs while eating my lunch so if I could only read and comment on three blogs during that time, then so be it.

What were the results?

  1. I got a ton of things done around the house.
  2. I heard a lot from God – I journalled too so I wouldn’t forget it all.
  3. I felt calmer and more peaceful.
  4. There was more time so I slept more during that week. My usual was 7 hours back then and I was getting in 7.5 – 8 hours daily.
  5. Of course my Feedly had about 200 items in it (I was subscribed to about 75 blogs) and I unsubscribed from a few feeds, the ones where I wasn’t even slightly tempted to do some catch-up reading.

I still don’t think I’ll do it very often but I think I’m sold on doing at least a quarterly social media fast.

What about you?

How do you think this could benefit your life?

Is it time to do a social media fast?

 

PS I’ve even heard of someone who does one every weekend, and another who does a week once a month. If you’d like to chat about getting help with your own time boundaries, contact me.

Create, connect and then consume

At the beginning of this year when I was working through my Amazing Life workbook, I wrote down some habits I either have or want to have in my life.

One of those is a habit I’m trying to form which is easier said than done some times but works very well for me at other times.

That habit is to create before I consume… on social media.

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See, the thing is when I grab my phone in the morning to switch off my alarm, I could scroll through Instagram mindlessly for a long time.

Now, if I want to go on Instagram, I have started disciplining myself to first create my own post (or posts) and then to scroll, like and comment on others’ posts.

It helps me feel like I’m adding to the conversation and not just being a voyeur. There’s nothing wrong with just scrolling but Instagram has changed its algorithms so people will start/ have started seeing only the posts of people they engage with.

What does this mean?

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If you like or comment on feeds, those are the ones that pop up first.

I would never ask people to turn on notifications for my posts. First, because it’s inauthentic (I have not turned on notifications for anyone else and I don’t intend to do so) and second, red numbers of things to check just don’t work for me. Unread emails are the only things that bug me – whatsapps, messages, phone calls all just look… interesting. But I’m not curious like I am with emails.

I haven’t noticed too much different in my feed yet probably because I’m doing exactly the same as I was before. I’m on less – that’s why I’m reading so many books every month – 7, 7 and 10 so far this year.

I now see Instagram as a party and if I see people in the 5 minutes I’m there, great. Let’s chat and connect. If I’ve missed you, hopefully I’ll see you next time. But if you’ve left me a voicemail, I’ll definitely contact you and chat back 🙂

Do you have social media intentions, boundaries or policies for yourself? Please share!

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