Social Media & The Funk It Puts Us In
Have y'all ever felt so un-inspired that all of the fun colorful things and Ted talks couldn't even light that fire?! Well... I felt this deep in my bones in the month of April and after a lot of soul searching and some reading I think I know why.
My social media de-clutter
Towards the end of February I really started feeling like social media was leaving a sour taste in my mouth. And not the good kind like my fav sour gummy worms. I mean the kind of ugly feeling of not being good enough.
I stumbled across a new video published by the group Yes Theory on YouTube all about giving up Social Media for a month. Yes Theory is a group of guys that have dedicated their lives to inspiring people and living their life to the fullest. Their motto is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and I just love that. The idea of the video was to observe how much time a person can get back by giving up some of the fluff of social media! Check out that video here!
My biggest downfall is Instagram. Watching this video I immediately realized that this was an issue and I could easily put a wedge in my routine to change things up a bit. I created usage rules for myself; I was only allowed to check these sites when I am on my computer, because after all... I was using them for "business reasons." Or so I told myself!
How I was using social media
Ok, we've all been there. All of a sudden you come to and you realize that you've been scrolling through your Instagram feed mindlessly looking at new picture after new picture, its 3 years later, your dog is hungry and you haven't showered.
But seriously, I hate when I catch myself doing this! I pride myself on trying to live a very mindful life. I want to be intentional with my time and that does not mean doing mindless activities like this.
I mainly use Instagram as a business tool. The end goal of my time spent with Instagram is to increase my visibility, share my work and connect with my community. BINGO! That last one is SO important, we will come back to this later.
See, the issue is that I found myself scrolling, scrolling scrolling. Stopped at a red light, before bed, when I wake up, when I go to the bathroom (LOL), when there's a lull in a conversation and so many more instances!
So, Why does this suck?
I don't even want to think about how much freaking time I've wasted away by scrolling! A few minutes here and there does not seem very harmful. But when you add up all of these little interactions, you end up looking at your phone usage and whoops! You've spent an hour on Instagram today. Not so bad right? It's just one day! Nope, you probably do that everyday! That's 7 hours a week!! I can think of about 100 things I could do with those 7 hours in a week and I'm sure you could too.
What I've Realized
I truly feel like my social media de-clutter was part of the reason that I got stuck in a funk. You're probably thinking to yourself, "Huh? That doesn't make any sense!. You should've felt relieved!" Well, friend. Let me explain!
Like I said before, I would be spending time with my boyfriend scrolling. I would be sitting in a line at a store... scrolling. Every. single. second. of boredom that I was experiencing, I was filling with a mindless activity that didn't even fulfill me!
After I had spent some time away from Instagram... I realized I had way more time in my day than I thought recently. I had actual time to just sit and be with my own thoughts. And that... is scary as hell!
Social Media gives us this false sense of being busy, feeling fulfilled and being connected. I started to feel seriously lonely without Instagram. Isn't that crazy?! De-cluttering my social media was like ripping off a band-aid to some other issues that I had going on that I was just ignoring! For months and months I would complain that I didn't have time for anything personal that I wanted to do! Reading, painting, writing a book, exercising, the list of things goes on and on. I was making an active choice to be on Instagram and this also meant that I was making an active choice to NOT pursue the things that I really want out of life. And this just feel down right, crappy.
What I did to get out of the funk
So with all of that being said, this week was the first time in a while that I felt like the fire was finally lit under my ass! Getting out of a funk can be seriously hard but we need to experience these difficult times to learn to be better in the future! I am grateful for this period of rest and observation. I have come back to my business with a shining smile and a brain full of new ideas that I want to work on! Here are some of the things that I did to get me going again.
1. Community! So remember before when I said that I felt seriously lonely not on Instagram anymore? I know it seems awfully easy but it finally clicked! I need to make a constant effort for face-to-face human interaction with people that lift me up, inspire me and keep it real with me. I don't want the false sense of inclusion that Instagram provides me with. I want to make genuine, real connections with the community around me.
2. Be patient and give yourself some time! There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking some time off for you to get yourself in the right head space. Think about it like this. Our bodies physically need sleep because it is the only time our brains have the ability to "flush" themselves. Now, I won't get into the mumbo-jumbo of this because well, I'm just not a scientist!! The point is, sometimes one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to just fucking relax!
3. Get outside, exercise, take your dog on a walk! Nature is proven to increase creativity and exercise is proven to just make you a happy person! When you get your body moving it allows you this beautiful time to get your gears going too. Plus it just feels good to be doing something for you and only you!
What should you do?
Go for it! If you feel like your life is being taken over by the little screen in your pocket then you should 100% go for this social media de-clutter!
I am currently reading "Digital Minimalism" by Cal Newport to explore this social media crap a lil more. He explores the changes that our society has experienced in the last 5-10 years and the impact that it has made on all of us. I have been ripping through this book and it gives amazing actionable steps to help you peel away from all of your digital devices!!
Be mindful of how you end up feeling during this little experiment. Did you have more time? Were you constantly reaching for it? Did you have a serious case of FOMO? What did you do fill the time that you got back?!
Contrary to popular belief, I am not becoming a hermit and never going on Instagram again. I enjoy it sometimes! I think it can be a seriously amazing business tool. It is legitimately free advertising. If you're a new artist starting out it is one of the best tools you can use. I also do enjoy an occasional scroll through some funny animal videos and memes. BUT... will I be more mindful about my time in the future? HELL TO THE FREAKING YEAH!