This previous month, took a social media vacation as a result of I wanted to reset some issues.
I wasn’t feeling productive, I felt stagnant and in a rut, and I was always overwhelmed by the sensory and emotional bombardment of an always-on information cycle.
So I shut off Fb, Twitter, and Instagram for 30 days.
I didn’t delete my accounts, merely took the apps off my telephone and didn’t log in on desktop. I stored LinkedIn because a) it’s a part of my day job and b) it doesn’t seem to have the identical drag-down impact on me as the other channels do.
When I felt like posting, I advised myself to write down as an alternative. If I couldn’t discover it in me to write down, I hung out with another artistic pursuit – music, needlework, visual art and lettering, no matter. When I felt like thumbing and scrolling, I picked up my Kindle and read as an alternative.
In that 30 day interval, I:
- Read 7 books
- Wrote over 30,000 phrases
- Was far and away extra targeted and productive at work
- Hung out at the barn with my horse
- Labored on a big cross sew challenge
- Did a number of overdue tasks round the house
- Spent additional quality time with my kiddo
I estimate that on average I reclaimed Three-5 hours out of daily, from my hour-long commute each method on the practice (now spent reading, writing, or listening to podcasts as an alternative of just thumbing by means of Fb) to time in the evenings and on the weekends that may too typically get consumed with being on my laptop or telephone.
Right here’s what else I discovered.
1. Too Much Social Media Dulls My Creativity
I spend numerous time on-line for work, and it was far too straightforward for me to only linger, aimlessly wandering by way of social networks and into conversations or content material that left me feeling empty and annoyed.
What I realized is that social media was typically a crutch for me, a first go-to place when I was feeling stressed and I wasn’t tuned into why I was feeling that approach. So as a result of it was available and straightforward to seek out, I would simply click on open Fb or Instagram to attempt and soothe myself or give my brain hamsters something to do.
After I shut the apps off, when those emotions confirmed up I had to actively ask myself “What do I need right now?” when I felt mindlessly drawn to flipping by way of my social feeds, and consciously tried to determine what I was feeling.
Bored? Tired? Procrastinating a activity I didn’t need to do? Lonely and craving connection?
I felt all these things at one point or one other, but most frequently I realized I was muting my creativity…out of worry.
Incessantly I don’t write, or create, or play music because by some means I nonetheless really feel unworthy of those pursuits – they really feel frivolous, and like I must be doing one thing “productive” (extra on hustle tradition under) – and I also am afraid of being dangerous at them. I’m still unpacking where these misguided notions of artistic perfectionism come from, but suffice it to say it was a bit of an epiphany.
Whenever you flip down the white noise of senseless distraction, you possibly can clearly hear what’s in your personal coronary heart and mind (even when it’s arduous to listen to).
2. I Had a Arduous Time Letting Go
Once upon a time, I had 15 minutes of sort-of notoriety in a very small nook of the internet. That was a long time in the past now, however there have been good issues that got here out of it. Job opportunities, ebook deals, speaking engagements, friendships, experiences, a sense of belonging to one thing greater and a feeling that I had one thing of value to say.
There were additionally dangerous things. Business failure, broken relationships and friendships, layoffs, rejection, harsh criticism and rebukes from digital strangers about all the good issues that I apparently didn’t deserve or earn.
Lots of my social networks have been serving as heavy, moss-covered anchors holding me in my past self fairly than permitting me to move freely, absolutely and confidently into who I am immediately. I still felt like I owed individuals explanations for why I didn’t write six extra books or chase an enormous talking career or why my business failed and my career stalled. I stored revisiting nasty comments from individuals about how I was a no one, working in a mediocre profession that I had by no means earned to start with (regardless of the last decade+ experience I had before I ever found social media). I was listening to and seeing the “hustle culture”, and feeling responsible that I didn’t actually need any part of it.
So I was caught on this limbo of needing validation that I nonetheless had a spot in this business – a big part of which had lengthy forgotten about me, frankly, when I didn’t keep on the ‘influencer’ lists – and needing to break free of those self-inflicted expectations and baggage.
Once I disappeared for a number of weeks, it was clear what number of superficial relationships I’d been clinging to, considering these individuals truly observed whether I was around or not (spoiler: they didn’t) and that they have been taking note of what I was doing or not doing (spoiler: they weren’t).
Now I understand how it’s gone time to set down these heavy previous burdens, minimize the stale previous ties, and begin recent.
It was a huge weight off my shoulders when I gave that present of freedom to myself. It made a palpable, concrete distinction in my mood, my sense of self-worth, and my sleep habits when I eliminated toxicity and negativity from my midst, and when I advised myself as soon as and for all it was okay to say goodbye to that a part of my life.
Three. I’m Not Finished Yet.
So I for positive discovered that I needed to reconcile my past, and my deep experiences within the deep finish of imposter syndrome.
Once I began to try this, I discovered something superb.
It came out in words, principally, as I gave myself unfettered time – and privateness – to put in writing issues down with out having to share them with the world. I journaled and scrawled on napkins at espresso outlets and wrote weblog posts I didn’t publish (but). I labored on things that have potential to end up in the ebook I’m engaged on, which evolves a bit daily as I develop my considering and ideas. But in the phrases, I started discovering an necessary thing.
I’m not carried out but.
Simply because I’ve closed one chapter on my life doesn’t imply I don’t have many more in entrance of me. And it doesn’t mean that they will’t be not only nearly as good but higher than that one was. I have so much to offer, create, and discover, still.
Which will sound painfully apparent to you, however using social media to wallow in my scar tissue was obfuscating that very clear and optimistic fact from view. I was believing a bunch of false things about myself and my work that merely aren’t real.
So now I get to dig in and transfer into this new chapter with my eyes open vast, my ears open even wider, and my coronary heart and thoughts receptive to the things the universe has in retailer for me.
It’s a loopy weird feeling to walk into an unknown future without armor on. With out throwing my arms up in front of my face and utilizing the model of me that’s a decade previous to defend myself from a version of me that’s greater and wiser and brighter and scary.
Worry of success is an actual factor. Worry of the unknown is an actual thing. Now that I’ve recognized these things, I’m digging in with professional assist and a lot of self-reflection and care.
However the noise of the internet was protecting me from realizing numerous these things, and discovering the courage to actually surrender to it as soon as and for all.
4. I Need Better/Totally different Filters.
I’m a sensible individual.
I don’t need the internet to incessantly inform me every part that’s incorrect with the world. And no, that doesn’t imply I’m shielding myself from viewpoints which might be totally different than my very own, or turning a blind eye to the difficulties we face as a species proper now.
I’ve made the mistake of jumping into the fray, lamenting and retreading what seems like a very damaged world daily, all day lengthy. And it’s not only exhausting, it’s damaging. Significantly. My feelings have been feeling the load of all the awful issues on the market, and I was always feeling overwhelm that I couldn’t tackle all of it, helpless and powerless about my individual impression or lack thereof, indignant that it was all occurring, and guilt that I wasn’t doing extra.
I am completely capable of being informed and educated beneath my very own energy. I know the place to go to seek out the knowledge I want. I am lively and engaged in causes that matter to me at a degree that’s manageable for my life and emotional capacity.
And I do not have to drown myself in it constantly so as to self-castigate and attempt to make up for the issues I have not but executed.
So I’m using robust filters for the individuals I hold around me, the subjects I’m prepared to interact in, and the overall power and angle I need to deliver to the world. There’s sufficient negativity round to choke a herd of elk. I don’t need to add to the noise, and I definitely don’t need to hold subjecting myself to it coming from others.
There’ll be modifications to the best way I present up on-line in consequence.
5. It’s Not All Evil
Social media will get a nasty rap, and a whole lot of occasions when individuals write posts like this, they end up burning the whole thing to the ground as a waste of time.
That’s not true for me. I have plenty of friendships that I’ve made on-line that I take pleasure in. I like keeping up with individuals I’ve met during the last a few years. I like the clever little quips on Twitter that make me chuckle or marvel at an excellent flip of phrase. I like learning about new issues because I was curious and clicked on a link about one thing I don’t know something about.
So I’m going to maintain doing that, I’m simply going to be a lot more aware about how and when I do it. I doubt I’ll do all of the prescriptive issues like setting timers and all that jazz. It’s not my type.
However the time I’ve spent away has helped me understand the place it matches in my life and the place it doesn’t, and I assume that may help me make sensible, sane decisions about my networks and content material and the time I spend on-line.
If I’ve discovered anything at everywhere in the years, it’s that there isn’t a prescription. There’s no “right” means to do that, and whatever works for you is the best reply for you. Mine will look totally different. That’s ok.
As I’ve all the time stated, the tools themselves are inert. It’s the humans behind them that make or break the expertise. So I’m just taking higher cost of my own position in all of it, and creating the sort of on-line universe I truly need to participate in.
Thanks for coming alongside on this experience with me. I’ve received much more to share with you, and I’m wanting forward to connecting with you along the best way. I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered in your personal social media holidays, or what else you’d wish to find out about mine.
Within the meantime, the subsequent chapter starts…now.