The concept of this post was born last Friday night when I saw David Byrne perform at 80/35, the local music festival I attend every year around the 4th of July. I can’t recall verbatim what he said but it was something along the lines of “make sure you’re not experiencing the show through your phones or iPads.” Basically he was saying be present and enjoy this in real life, not through a camera lens, Twitter feed, or Instagram photos. His message resonated with me because like anyone, I can be found guilty of getting too wrapped up with trending hashtags, capturing the perfect photo, and seeing who might be posting what on Facebook. So after two days of taking photos, checking texts, browsing hashtags, Instagram updates, Facebook posts, and my Twitter feed, I decided to take Sunday off, as in off from social media, my phone, and almost all web-based browsing.
This isn’t anything new for me. Whenever I go on a holiday or find myself away from home for a few days I try as hard as possible to stay disconnected. I usually tell my family that they won’t hear from me unless there’s an emergency. During my last big trip I posted once to Twitter and Facbeook because I came upon something interesting. Other than that, I didn’t think anything was worth updating until I returned home. While it might sound crazy it’s actually quite refreshing. Usually when I reconnect I find that I haven’t missed much. Case in point, the last social media timeout I took was during the naming of baby North West and the latest Paula Deen scandal. I guess I didn’t miss much.
Now don’t get me wrong, I stay connected most of the time, but even when I’m connected I find ways to take a mental break from the over stimulation that social media brings about. Here’s how I do it:
- I avoid checking my phone in bed, unless it’s a call or a text, or my weather app because it’s always good to know what’s in store for the day. All that other stuff can wait.
- I avoid checking my phone during dinner.
- I avoid checking my phone when I’m driving (I shouldn’t have to explain why this is important!).
- I try to find one day a week where I disconnect and don’t check social media or post to social media.
I understand there is some irony in this post because I’m reaching most of you through social media. My point isn’t to give it up because there are a lot of wellness benefits – staying connected to friends, being up to date on current events, no matter how trivial or important, and just being active and engaged in online communities. I think all of those things can do wonders for your health. I do, however, think one day a week of being disconnected is also good for your well-being too, so give it some thought! Until then, expect to hear from me about six days a week on social media and one or two days a week on my website.