Social media was hurting my well being so I decided to do something about it. I couldn’t completely deactivate my accounts because I use them on a daily basis for work. The only time I would be online would be through a web browser. I rarely scrolled to see what was going on – it was liberating!
I quickly realized that in taking care of myself, I was unconsciously hurting feelings of others. It looks like I’m online, you can see my accounts are active, and you’re technically able to interact with me… but I’m not answering. So what is going on? What made social media have such a negative impact on my life?
#4 – I was losing hours of my life mindlessly scrolling.
For clarification, I feel I should preface this section with the fact that I am the person who has left her cell phone in another state. I don’t check my phone at dinner, have limited notifications turned on and genuinely could not care less about what everyone else is doing, and I don’t have FOMO (unless you live in a beautifully converted van). Maybe it was the way I was raised, we’d all sit at the dinner table every night when my dad got home, discussing our day, laughing, arguing, and trying to respectfully clear our plates.
It is rare to consciously be timing ourselves. I guarantee you are spending twice (if not triple) the amount of time you think you are looking at social media. That being said, I would lose 2+hrs a day cry-laughing so hard at Tik Toks. The bright screen was detrimental to my sleep patterns. I would look at my phone in bed, scrolling out of habit not paying attention to anything or paying too much attention and I hadn’t even brushed my teeth. I’d start and end my day scrolling, whereas I used to light a ton of candles, read a book, journal and draw before bed.
This was not okay.
#3 – My feeds were pushing me content that had a very negative impact on my well being.
I make a point to be selective about what I do and do not see. I like to spend my free time reading things that put me in a state of harmony. My feed is a ton of outdoor photographers, herbalists, activists, sustainability, and climate accounts. If you haven’t noticed – we’re in the midst of a massive climate crisis. Morning, noon, and night all I saw was proof that we are killing our planet and Mother Earth is MAD. Tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, floods, tornados, volcanic eruptions; when you look at it from above, it almost seems like its the end of days.
Humans just being alive, myself included, perpetuate the problem. The little things like going to work to license music for fashion (which is major industry causing pollution and waste), answering transactional text messages, and being social seemed absurd to me during this time. ‘Who cares about fashion week? Who cares all the cool kids are going to this party? What’s the point of it all when our planet is dying and we’re part of the problem, not the solution?’ I’d think to myself.
The darkness got to a point where I was listening to music that preserved this sense of despair. I ran over a squirrel on the canyon road during my commute to the office. Immediately, I pulled over to find there was no way the squirrel was coming back from that. While having a hard cry, I acknowledged the irony of the moment. I reached out to a friend who talked me down from that spiral. Looking back it was clear I was desperate for relief from that pain caused by a feeling of helplessness.
The internet was such an angry place going into the end of 2019. When I realized how deep the hole I fell into was, I decided I needed to focus on the things I could control like shifting my energy toward things that didn’t deplete me.
#2 – Setting Boundaries.
This is huge for me and also a two-part answer.
My job’s sole purpose is to be a middleman. I spend my day fielding both internal and external inquiries from literally every direction imaginable. Quickly, I get pulled down so many different paths. I try to prioritize my own tasks while simultaneously sympathizing with others that their work is just as important. From the outside, I’m sure it seems nearly impossible. To be completely honest, it IS impossible. When I am asked “how do you do it?”, my response is usually, “I don’t.” Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or has some sort of addiction problem.
I study time management and have honest conversations with superiors I respect to learn how to increase my career potential. A large factor in my success has been to not allow the distraction of the internet. I found that in times of overwhelm, I’d become paralyzed because I didn’t know where to start. A habit I formed in that state of stress would be to kill time by scrolling through social media. I didn’t realize how bad it had unconsciously gotten until I took the option away.
My job doesn’t end in the office because it is relationship-based. This means when I leave work, I’m still in work mode. I have people wanting to get breakfast, coffee, dinner, take me to a concert or event, send me their music to listen to, get any kind of face time with me, etc. There are people very hungry to ‘make it’ which means I am viewed in a position of power to help them succeed. This leads to stalking me until they get the response they want. I get messages, calls, emails, even packages I didn’t ask for delivered to my private residence. I never post about where I am when I am actively there or people show up. CREEPY RIGHT? I’m a nobody who works behind the scenes because I don’t want to be famous… imagine what it is like for someone who actually is.
I like to think of myself as a kind person who can understand why people would view me (or my role) on a pedestal. I’m sure there are many cases where someone’s ego LOVES that pedestal. I’m not one of them; it all became too much. All we really have in life is time so I decided to stop letting strangers take so much of it from me especially when it was so emotionally draining. I can’t control other’s actions but I can control how I allow them to affect me. To shift my perspective, I decided to delete social media.
#1 – I’m living my life offline.
I may not have posted in a while, but that doesn’t mean I’m in a bubble at home bored out of my mind. I’m still going on adventures, taking pretty pictures in the woods and laughing with my friends. I started to resent the people who would NEED to take pictures for the sole purpose of posting it to Instagram. They’d spend our entire dinner checking how many people liked or commented – who cares? I sure don’t. However, I do care that I am choosing to be present in a moment with you and all you can do is look at your phone. It is very disrespectful.
We put so much value in strangers on the internet’s opinions of us based on posed imagery. I don’t want to waste the time I have left caring about how many followers or likes I have. I care more about leaving this planet better than I found it; leaving people feeling better than when they first came to me. Allowing social media to put me in such a negative state will not allow me to be successful in that mission. During 2020 I’m focussing on being present, appreciating I am alive, noticing the beauty of this planet while taking every measure I can to protect it, and preserving my space by setting boundaries. I want to be the best version of myself and limiting social media is a crucial step in doing so.
I took almost 3 full months offline and it felt GOOD. The break really emphasized areas in my life that were lacking or needed a revamp. The biggest change I noticed was that I immediately became more present. I’d have long conversations with friends because I only focused on them. When I felt out of the loop, I reached out and had amazing connections with people. The extra time I had created for myself opened up space for more art, writing, painting, drawing, trying new meals and having an overall general effort in focussing on my wellbeing (like Yoga & Meditation studios).
Going forward, I won’t answer your messages pitching me your music. I am much more inclined to respond if you treat me like a normal human being rather than a transaction. I cannot accept unsolicited music as it puts me and whoever I’m working with at legal risk. Unless you have a legitimate reason to ask me about my business, I do ask to keep inquiries off my channels. Going forward, I’ll continue sharing snippets of my life while living the majority of it offline with my loved ones directly.
Thank you for reading and I appreciate your interest in my journey!