Last Friday night, after spending most of a bad day (and week) looking at a screen, I decided to switch off my phone for the weekend. More accurately, I uninstalled social media apps, turned off useless notifications (all but calls from my parents and professional emails) and unplugged the Wi-Fi – apart from a short message on the family group chat and that one photo I posted on Instagram on Sunday evening, I stayed away from technology.
It felt amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, I like social media. For all the bad press it gets – and I’m in a good place to know it can be used to cause hurt – it also has many benefits. As a freelancer, it allows me to network with potential clients and have some kind of office banter with virtual colleagues. As an expat, it helps me stay in touch with friends and family back home. Like everyone else, I also use social media to stay informed, get inspired and connect with people who share similar interests. I met lots of wonderful people through my blog and social media accounts, and remain good friends with some of them. I even met my husband through a social sharing website!
But sometimes, it becomes too much.
Last week was stressful and draining. When Friday came rolling around, I felt anxious and overwhelmed – a fertile emotional ground for comparison.
I often feel like social media and its constant stream of words, images and videos create ‘noise’ in my head; I needed some quiet time in my own mind to relax and collect myself. I know mindfulness sounds like a cliché buzzword, but even without embracing the whole thing, a few hours of just ‘being there’ can work wonders on one’s state of mind…
Since then, Edward and I have made a conscious effort to reduce the time we spend looking at screens, especially when it’s for unproductive stuff. We still watch TV (we are currently binging Suits on Netflix) and use our laptops, tablets and phones to write, edit photos and put together vlogs, but we try to limit this to a few hours every week. Some evenings, we even tuck all electronics away in a drawer and forget about them!
I still love social media (and look forward to the day where I can set everything back to public), yet I truly enjoyed those few days off it. And even though this week was a million times better than the last, I’m considering taking at least a few hours away from any screen ‘just because’…