What I've Learnt... From Three Weeks of No Social Media
That god damn never-ending scroll.
Instagram, Facebook, occasionally pinterest, NEVER twitter! I can lose minutes, hours or even days with it.
Any free time… a few minutes before school pick up, a train journey, an evening when my boyfriend is out working. Like virtual expanding foam plugging all the gaps in my time and my mind.
I have had countless times where I was in a frenzy of check Instagram – check Facebook - check my emails – then begin again. Around and around and AROUND.
What am I even checking??
I put out about 4-5 posts a week which should take no more than 4 hours per week max, so why am I filling my free time this way?
Because that scroll is massively addictive, that’s why. It’s virtual crack cocaine.
I hadn’t had a holiday from my email in forever! SO this Summer I decided to make a change. I took three weeks of holiday from my business and working as a NHS midwife.
I took my daughter away to stay with friends in Spain, Italy and Portugal, turned off my Facebook, Instagram AND put my ‘out of office’ on. Here’s what happened…
FIRSTLY, THE WORLD DID NOT END.
For the first few days I caught myself going to check my social media accounts multiple times every day.
I noticed that I think in Instagram posts quite often. I mean WTF?! Does anyone else do this??
But after a week I had pretty much stopped thinking about checking social media.
Suddenly I had so much more time.
I started reading my book every day, and then multiple times per day. Reading in the ten minutes I had free before making dinner, reading in the bath, reading, reading, reading. My daughter saw me reading and started reading next to me (she reads like a maniac 2-3 books per week but normally does it alone).
My brain felt like it sighed and expanded.
I began to be able to just be. To sit and enjoy an icy tonic water without the need to be ‘doing’ all the time.
I started listening to guided meditations for relaxation.
I finally felt I had time and capacity to start an almost daily yoga self-practice with free videos on Youtube. (I lack discipline and it’s taken me fifteen years to manage this!!! )
My brain felt like it had been washed clean.
Being focused on just being in my body in the present moment was completely brilliant.
I felt more relaxed than I had for years.
When we came back from our holidays I didn’t want to check Instagram or my emails. I left it two days before I reluctantly checked back in.
Bookings for my business slowed down significantly while I was away, but it was worth it to have that break.
For the last few months I have been strict with myself and only check social media and emails Monday to Friday from 9am-6pm. I am still tempted to look in the evenings and weekends, but I want good mental health more, so I mostly don’t do it.
I now leave my phone at home when I walk my dog and as much as possible. I put it in a drawer whenever I’m not doing real work.
If I have a few minutes or a half hour free I still find myself reaching for the endless scroll… but I stop myself.
I’ve realised that making time to relax every day keeps me well and this is just as important or maybe more important than all the things on my ‘to do’ list and the lure of the endless scroll.
Have you thought about taking a social media holiday??
It’s been a game changer for me.