I have spent the better part of the last two years primarily focused on one goal – making my life intentional. It started first with culling my wardrobe, then editing out unsafe, potentially toxic products from my personal care regime. Eating healthier was next, then getting regular exercise. But discovering the concept of minimalism and learning to live with less has been the most beneficial step in my goal towards living intentionally. When I removed shopping as a hobby and stress reliever, there was another habit that took its place – social media and the endless stream of entertainment available online. It has been apparent to me for a while that I spend too much time staring at screens. I’ve made futile attempts to schedule time for social media, but I keep finding myself picking up my phone to scroll through Instagram or Facebook.
One of the more popular green beauty IG accounts I follow announced that she is taking down her social media brand completely in the next couple months. I was so blown away by her decision as I admire the courage it takes to step away from something you have built so you can focus on what’s more important. I started questioning if I could just walk away from social media completely, forever.
Tuesday evening I was reading “The More of Less” when the concept of leveling was introduced. When you’re decluttering, sometimes it can be really difficult to just let go of an item completely. So instead you hid it away for a set period of time to see if you really need it. It’s a concept I’m extremely familiar with as its how I’ve continued to par down my possessions over the past year. But I had never thought to apply this concept to intangible items or behaviors. That’s when the idea sparked to just take a break from social media.
My first thought was to do a social media-free month for July. But I was just so excited about the positive things that could arise, I wanted to start immediately. On Wednesday, I purposely didn’t use my phone to do anything our than send a text, make a phone call, look up a recipe, and send a quick email. I didn’t open my laptop at all. I only turned on the TV for a minute to make sure we weren’t under a tornado watch/warning when a bad thunderstorm rolled in on Wednesday evening. I don’t think I can describe how much more satisfaction I got out of that day. I wasn’t tempted to scroll through IG while I drank my warm water with lemon before barre. I wasn’t distracted through play time in the backyard. I even had a really nice moment where Emma and I cuddled for a good 15 minutes on the blanket. I accomplished tasks during nap time, and I ate lunch with my phone on silent. After dinner, Ryan and I sat on the porch with a drink, watching a lightning storm and talking about our days.
I felt like I was on a vacation. I felt relaxed and satisfied. I knew I wanted to continue this experiment.
I have been on social media a couple of times since Wednesday. Even with my new mission, I felt immediately sucked in by the shared links and random stories. But none of it really felt like it was improving my life.
Tomorrow I will start my 30 days with less screens. Since that title doesn’t exactly encompass what I’m doing, here are the guidelines:
No Social Media
I primarily use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. I also spend a lot of time reading blogs. I won’t be using any of these websites or apps during the 30 day period. I also won’t be reading any blogs. I will be keeping Facebook Messenger on my phone because I have a group of friends that use it to communicate. Pinterest will also stay because I use it only to look up recipes; I ended my unhealthy relationship with Pinterest awhile ago. But I will be removing about 8 different apps to ensure I’m not tempted.
We don’t have cable, but we do have Netflix and HBO. So I’ll be limiting my TV consumption to just the few shoes we watch – Last Week Tonight, Game of Thrones, and Silicon Valley. That’s about 2 hours of TV/week. The goal is to make sure I’m watching TV because it’s something I truly enjoy and I am focused on it. No binge watching old episodes of something on Netflix while eating a pint of gelato. There are better ways to spend my time.
Limited Cell Phone
Along with deleting social media apps, I will be limiting my cell phone usage in general. While I’m not a purist in that I think I should only be using it for communication (calls, texts, video chat), I recognize that I do just pick it up to occupy myself. I will be purposely making sure it is stowed away unless I truly need to use it. I have an Apple Watch so I’m not likely to miss a phone call or text just because my phone is in my purse.
There are plenty of activities I use my lap top for that are beneficial – paying bills, checking the budget on Mint, putting together a grocery list. I’m honestly pretty good about not sitting on my lap top just to peruse the internet. But I will still be checking myself to ensure I am not getting distracted. During the week, I’ll leave computer activities to occur during nap time. On weekends, I’ll only break out the lap top when necessary.
I’m hoping to have more time available to discuss the ideas that are important to me via Lauren, Etc. It’s ridiculous that I have about 25 drafted posts that need to be edited and scheduled to publish, but I just haven’t gotten around to it! I want to spend this time being creative and ruminating on the things that matter to me, not being distracted by pacifiers. So if you’re a fan of the blog, but you normally get here via a link I’ve shared on social media, now is the time to subscribe. There is a click to follow via WordPress or email on the side of this page, below my About Me section. Or just check back whenever the mood strikes. Whatever works best for you 🙂
I want to end this by saying that I don’t think social media is innately bad. I just don’t feel like I have been using it appropriately. This is the best way for me to learn how to form better habits as well as form a healthier relationship with certain forms of entertainment.
Do you feel like you could benefit from a social media break or have you initiated a screen-ban before? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Thanks for reading!