Thoughtful Thursdays: The Importance of Unplugging
I can’t believe my commitment to Thoughtful Thursdays has played out so nicely. Three posts in a row?! It honestly feels as though I just wrote the cloth diapering post yesterday. This week has F L O W N.
This is more of a legitimately thoughtful post wherein I’m writing in a stream-of-consciousness manner, reflecting on my current views and relationship with Instagram.
At the beginning of the week I took a little Instagram break to let my mind rest and my creativity kind of reset itself. The break was only two and a half days long, but it felt like a good space to just sit back and really be present in my day-to-day.
It’s so odd, and I’m unsure if it’s because I’ve used IG as such an integral part of my life for professional purposes or if it’s genuinely out of interest, but I tend to spend hours a day on my phone. Emails, IG, texts, web-surfing — you name it.
A few months ago I took a week long break and that was huge for me. Huge! I could feel my mind being overloaded and the comparison trap was running rampant every time I opened the app. I’m usually pretty good about staying in my lane and just watching and creating stories, but I do have a handful of influencers I follow that I can’t help but admire in a big-sister-cool-girl way.
I really hope none of you all feel that way about me! If you do, please just understand that I’m out here being myself with a grateful heart and I try to help others when I can. When I say “help” I’m referring to sharing some things that inspire me and answering thoughtful and personal DMs. Sometimes I can’t use my energy to reply to every heart-emoji or simple question asking where I got my shirt, but sometimes I do.
Instagram has most certainly evolved to being a second life for most all of us, especially those of us who bring income in from our platforms. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what I would be like without IG. I bet we all do.
I think for the most part, I’m happier when I feel connected and inspired, and IG really helps facilitate those things for me. There are other ways to fill those needs, and I definitely go through seasons where I’m craving being out of the house, meeting new people, diving deeper into my connections with existing friends, trying new restaurants, etc. I definitely think that social media fills a gap for me that I’m sure some people fill with religion, addiction, etc. — at least it has in the past.
The first months of motherhood for me were really isolating, and I had never breastfed before. I had nothing to do while he nursed besides scan the room, stare off into space, or rub his soft head. Every two hours for 7.5 months, I sat with my baby on a boob and my phone in my hand, scrolling IG. I tried reading books or anything else, but when you’re up for an hour here or there, especially in the middle of the night, the phone is so tempting. It’s so bittersweet because you’re having these fleeting moments with your special baby, but somehow you sometimes feel alone.
Eventually, I started feeling so so guilty for the possible EMFs Phoenix was absorbing from my phone use that I cut back. I would leave my phone in another room and would legitimately stare into space while nursing. I would daydream about Phoenix, about my life before him, about everything. I still do this, by the way. After ditching my phone for (most) feeds, I noticed feedings were actually over long before he was fast asleep. My phone would keep me in the rocker, scrolling while he snoozed on me instead of in the crib!
When I was pregnant, I also took several IG breaks. I hated being hovered over by friends, family, and strangers alike. I also went two weeks overdue and there was honestly no way to fully avoid questions and calls. I wanted to be left alone so badly. I still look back and just wish everyone would’ve respected my attempts at protecting my energy in such a sacred time. My only regret was not being direct enough. It’s like they thought I was pushing them away to protect them from me being overdue or something. I’ll never understand. I just wanted to be alone in my special zone and be with Phoenix alone for those final days.
Anyway, cut to now. Every morning, my alarm wakes me up, I check Timehop while still laying in bed, turn my phone off Do Not Disturb and get out of bed. If I’m really drowsy, then I might check my texts from the family group chat or maybe even my DMs on IG to kind of wake me up more. I get up, make coffee, open the blinds, and sit down to a couple hours of IG.
A COUPLE OF HOURS. Do you do this? Am I crazy? from 7-9 I am playing with babies, on IG, playing with babies, feeding them, putting them down, looking at IG, working out, looking at IG, making a snack, etc.
I will say that from the moment Collin opens his eyes to the moment he leaves for work, he’s on his phone as well. Not calling him out (hi, babe!) but it’s just the way we’ve always been! Especially since he’s never been much of a morning person.
Anyway, when I take breaks, I don’t do this. I clean the house, I watch Youtube videos, I read books, I read Tarot, I write blog posts, I listen to podcasts, I GET SHIT DONE. I realize I am spewing with creative energy and just want to be doing things. I feel like sometimes the constant scrolling freezes me in time.
That’s what it is, and we definitely don’t need to be scientists to know that social media takes us out of the moment. We are instantly thrown into a safe, bright, satisfying space full of infinite inspiration. Ding ding ding! Dopamine.
The internet is so incredibly vast that you could be on it all day for the rest of your life and not see everything. No matter how hard you try, you will always be missing out on something…
LET’S NOT LET IT BE OUR LIVES.
I’m all about responsible social media use. I think, as I said above, that we are happier when we feel inspired and connected.
Personally, I view Instagram as a space to share some of my life, my interests, my family, and hopefully inspire others along the way. I find joy from curating a cohesive feed, it’s definitely fun for me. I also find joy from addressing readers (and watchers) directly via Instagram Stories in a less formal and more personable way.
I guess where I’m at is with IG I’m looking to intentionally log some business hours during each week as well as some personal fun use. I don’t want to really ever create a separate account for just family and friends, I can text those people.
It’s just all about coming back to the why. Why do we do any of this? Why do I want to share this picture? Why do I want to make this story? Why do I want to capture this moment? Why do I want anyone else to see?
That’s where I get a little wary. I don’t need to share my life to fill fulfilled by my life. Neither do you! Sure, it feels good to get some support when you’re struggling with an issue, or even going through a positive experience in life, but I think it’s important to be able to stay present and enjoy our lives in person.
This is NOT ground-breaking conversation, but it’s definitely something I’ve always felt “guilty” of. The truth is, I don’t have any freaking energy to waste on feeling guilty. EVER. I don’t need to be embarrassed by how frequently I’ve checked Instagram or how I sometimes get too attached to likes or views. I can either choose to change the way I’m experiencing it, or not. I can choose to correct or experiment with the problem, or keep going like I am. There are choices. The guilt is pointless.
Like I mentioned in the very beginning, this is merely a stream-of-consciousness post just kind of checking in with myself. I also am checking in with all of you since you’re one of the reasons I’ve stayed in the internet bubble for so long! I really do love connecting with you all, and if one post of my wrinkly, dimply inner thighs makes you feel good about your own, then all of this is worth it.
What’s your current relationship with social media like? Leave some insight in the comments below!