I don’t know about you, but ever since the beginning of November, the Internet and especially social media has really gotten me down. I’ve known for a long time that I’m addicted to checking Facebook and Instagram, doubly so if I have posted something. (Has anyone liked it yet? Any comments?) Before my second child was born, I bought a clock radio—yes! a clock radio!—so that I could stop relying on my phone as an alarm clock. I was checking my phone (email, Facebook, Instagram) as soon as my eyes opened. That’s not an exaggeration. My phone was right next to my head on my bedside stand. After my son was born, I went back to using the phone simply because for the first few weeks of his life at home, I had to wake up every 2 hours to feed him, if he didn’t wake up himself. (He always woke up himself.) With the ease of setting multiple iPhone alarms, I used my phone each night—I was worried. When he was well out of this phase and prompted by reading that Arianna Huffington escorts her devices out of her bedroom each night, I went back to using my clock radio.
Right now, my phone resides in the master bathroom charging at night. I want to get it downstairs. But, I have family in Alaska and, apparently, a lot of anxiety here in Ohio, because I worry about getting a call in the middle of the night, which would be 4 hours before the middle of the night in Alaska, that something bad has happened. Can I convince myself that if I get the message hours later and after a good night of rest I will be better equipped to react than if I woke up in the middle of the night? I don’t know.
For about 3 weeks now, I have had “social media-silent Sundays.” (I cheated to upload my Week of Thanks-Giving post, if anyone is keeping a record.) It’s weird because on the couple of days I’ve done it, I have missed checking my phone. I look for my phone. The first time, I checked my email like no one’s business. I even read a few sales emails that I subscribe to for inspiration for my work. I do look at them, but it’s usually before I settle in to write, not when they hit my inbox.
I also noticed that I started taking advantage of the “few” minutes that I would have used to check social media sites. The dishwasher was unloaded-reloaded in the early afternoon which allowed me to spend more time in the evening talking with my husband or reading. Because I love reading, I snuck in a couple of pages from my current book. Or, I started researching the author, trying to figure out age and the geographic locations mentioned or checking out other pieces they wrote. The quality of what I was reading during those minutes went up. Social media posts vs. articles, research, books? The latter, please.
It’s not a complete fix, though, because I find on Monday morning, I’m eager to jump back on and see if I missed something. Of course, I haven’t missed anything oh-so-exciting that I feel the need to ditch my efforts.
A lot of people seem to be paying a lot of attention to dumb social media posts. (And, I’m guilty, too.) I don’t think I’m going to be able to wrangle the phones/tablets/computers out of anyone’s hands anytime soon. So how can I stop this nonsense? Stop reading the dumb posts. Leave the audience. Every turned your back on someone who was saying foolish things to you? Not only does it feel good, but it’s a pretty loud message. Okay, okay, I know it’s just one day a week. But, it’s a start. Will you start, too?