Have you ever thought about taking a break from social media? I stepped back from blogging several weeks ago, and seriously cut back on the other forms of social media I use most often: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
I didn't really mean to do it. It just sort of happened as I was finishing up my manuscript and needed extra mind-space to think. I needed a buffer between me and the emails and comments and updates that take up time and residence in my life on a regular basis.
I'm a uni-tasker by nature. And I'm not embarrassed about that anymore.
By taking a break, I learned a few things:
1. Taking a social media break feels good....eventually.
It took several weeks for the emails to slow down. I get tons of emails each day...mostly from comments on my blog that are automatically sent to my inbox. At first, it felt really strange. I felt a little lost without the daily affirmation from my blog readers. No blog post = no comments = no emails. And it made me realize how much I'd come to depend on those emails, how often I checked my inbox, and how much time it takes to respond.
I began to enjoy the freedom.
2. Life goes on without my updates.
Truth: nobody really cares what restaurant I'm eating in, what I'm having for dinner, or what I happen to be thinking about at this very moment. They might care about the robin's egg blue toenail polish I'm wearing, but do I really need to post a photo of my toes?
3. When you don't have to let people know what you're doing, you can actually enjoy things more...for yourself.
Back to the toenail polish. If I'm not planning to post a photo of my toes, would I choose blue? Or would I just enjoy pink, because that's my favorite, (but not an Instagram-worthy/comment-worthy color?) Social media makes me unnaturally conscious of what others think. I don't like that about myself.
But I do I like pink nail polish. So there's that.
4. Life is better without distractions.
Oh, the things we miss. Oh, the beauty all around us that's lost as we stare into our phones. I missed a wonderful conversation, in my own living room, with our son - because I sat on the couch and worked on editing a photo for Instagram and forgot to join in. The photo was lovely, but the conversation was even lovelier...and I missed it.
I'm trying to practice setting my phone down - away from me - so I can fully embrace the moment I'm in.
5. To live intentionally, you have to let some things go.
Let's be honest. We are all juggling a lot of balls. The responsibilities of life can be overwhelming, and sometimes it's impossible to see where we can make any adjustments at all. There have been seasons of my life in which I've yelled, "TELL ME WHAT I CAN DROP! BECAUSE I CAN'T SEE A SINGLE THING I CAN LET GO OF!"
That's not a good place to be.
But perhaps asking God for wisdom, for clarity, and for help would be a good thing. Sometimes we do need Divine Intervention in order to see how we can make some changes.
Living intentionally means making some tough choices so that we can grab ahold of what's really important.
6. Creativity takes time and space.
Creating stuff takes work. It takes commitment. It takes nurturing.
And I'm not just talking about art and writing.
Parenting requires creativity. So do most work-for-pay jobs. LIFE requires creative thinking and problem-solving. When our lives are so crammed with information and factoids and busyness and activities, we simply cannot function as creatively as we should. We end up doing bare minimums out of necessity, because we just. can't. do. another. thing.
Time and space are rarely handed out on silver platters. They must be fought for. They must be valued.
This means we must choose to sit and daydream,
which looks a whole lot like wasting time.
We must stare at clouds and quilting patterns and fireflies and pretty pictures.
We must take naps.
We must read books.
We must play.
We must listen to music.
We must take walks.
We must talk.
We must leave margin for serendipity.
We must value time and space as soul-rechargers, rather than seeing them as pockets to fill with more activities and media.
I'm still working out my relationship with social media. It is here to stay, and it will always be part of the work I've chosen. But taking a break, stepping back, letting things settle a bit.....well, it can only be a good thing.
It feels like rest.
How about you? Have you ever taken a break from social media? What did you discover when you did? Is this something you would be willing to try?