7 Days Without Social Media

Last Tuesday, I was having a pretty rough day. In some ways, it felt like my life was crashing down on me. Now, you may think that’s a little bit dramatic and truth be told, it was. I have a great job, I live in a nice apartment complex with an amazing pool, I just traveled to Puerto Rico and had a “let’s move here” kind of time, my parents love me and I live in a thrilling, young, vibrant city.

But when something bad happens, it’s easy for me to get caught in my head. I try and control an outcome I cannot control. Frankly, it sucks. On Sunday, this happened. And by Tuesday evening, after turning over every possible outcome and trying to figure out how I could manipulate the situation in my favor only to realize this was not healthy and would not benefit anyone involved, I had decided that things needed to change. So, I took inventory of things that had the “ability to set me off,” so to speak. Things that instigated my worry, my control, my insecurities. Most of that really comes from within and while changing one’s behavior is not an overnight fix, there are certain tactics one can use to thwart negative feelings. For me, there were two main things I decided to focus on. One: running. Two:  ignore social media.

Running instantly clears my head and helps me sort things out.

As for social media… I don’t know about you, but when I jump on social media, I see a LOT of negativity. Sure, there is the occasional cat video or young adult quiz, but mostly, my feed is filled with political stories preceded by commentary attacking other viewpoints. Any real conversation is squashed immediately. And I find myself doing this as well. It’s not beneficial to anyone. I see people slighting each other when they disagree. I get photo reminders of a past I’m trying to think about less.

So, I’ve given it a week. I’ve run consistently and have come to a lot of conclusions on those runs. As for social media, here are the top ten things that happened this past week that I attribute to breaking away from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

1 – While this was probably the shittiest week of the year that I have had personally, not having to deal with other people’s lives on social was a blessing.  Sometimes, you need to set it all aside and focus on what you are feeling and what you need. 

2 – I started to rebuild old friendships. 

Almost immediately after I posted I was going to stop on social media I received text messages from some old and fairly new friends I hadn’t heard from in some time. Texts continue to come in from a new person every day. You know who you are and I’m so thankful for you.

I also decided it was time to reach out to people I care about that I mainly kept up with on social media. And trust me, I’m still in the process of doing this.

3 – I also fostered new friendships. 

While rekindling old friendships was definitely more apparent, not being able to communicate with people on social meant I had to text them one-on-one, pick up the phone and dial or meet in person. I also found I had time on my hands that would have been spent wandering aimlessly on social so I wanted to go out more and actually talk to my friends (including my mom) more often.

4 – Watched LESS TV. 

I’m honestly not sure why this happened. I would have thought the opposite. Instead, I used more creative outlets to cure any boredom that popped up.

5 – Stopped worry so much about what others thought.

This was a big one for me. Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying to prove, not only to others, but to myself that everything was happy and colorful and that I’d worked through everything I needed to post divorce. Don’t get me wrong, the last year has brought some amazing adventures – my solo camping trip, starting to learn to sail, sharing unique experiences and traveling to Puerto Rico with a remarkable, one-of-a-kind guy, and road tripping to Florida. I would not trade in any of those experiences but did I need to share everything on social so people knew I was having an epic time?

6- Time to reflect on me. 

I think this is pretty apparent in this post that in the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting. But this week also forced me to figure out how to reflect daily. I think I might be one who meditates now…

7 – Missed support of runners. 

If there was one thing I really missed about Instagram, it was the support of runners across the nation as I logged my slow or short training runs. I enjoy running alone as I train for longer miles, but sometimes the encouragement from other runners is desperately needed.

8 – Read more. 

I’m a slow reader and I finished a whole book.

9-  I missed out on being part of a friend’s adventure to explore a new country she will soon be moving to and various beer events happening around town. 

10 – I wrote a lot. 

I forgot how much writing can help me heal. I’m not talking about these blog posts, I’m talking about furious writing, ramblings and rants that no one will ever see. Stories I’ve had in my head inspired by dreams that I’ve never written down before. Hopes, dreams, reality and total fantasy. Sometimes it’s good to let it all out.

11 – I know I said ten but I just thought of one last thing… I ate less. 

Without social media, I didn’t’ constantly see food postings so instead of listening to my eyes, I listened to my stomach.

Social media isn’t bad. In fact, it has inspired people to act, it has started conversations about important issues and brought people together.  I’m not saying I won’t use social media anymore. But, I am saying, for me, it’s an easy distraction when I could be healing and growing and developing new skills.

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