I am a firm believer in boundaries, but I can't say I've been the best at them in the past few months. Social media and my phone have slowed me down on projects, made me less present and caused me to be paying more attention to curated feeds than reality. Setting boundaries can be one of the most freeing, yet tough disciplines to implement into life. It's not fun (especially when you first start), but it's worth it for the changes that it brings.
Taking breaks from social media is a popular thing, but often we fall back into the same mindset and habits if everything is the same. I've done this way too many times. After a few days of being back in the loop, I find myself once again spending too much time and experiencing discontentment in my own reality. At the first minute of being back, I wasn't intending to throw out all the results I worked so hard for.
Stepping back only helps when I take what I've learned and then make tweaks to keep for the long haul.
Coming back with no limits or boundaries, the same feelings will flood back. The feelings of discontentment, insecurity, and restlessness. The hours of scrolling and the fear that you are somehow missing out are hard habits to break. Social media isn't just a distraction for me, but something I try to fill myself up with during hard times. For the most part, it just magnifies the problems I'm already facing. If I'm lonely, it just makes me feel lonelier and like everyone is hanging out except me. I started to believe these lies and it just dug me deeper.
Boundaries allow you to experience the joy of something without going overboard.
I've found myself struggling with Instagram the most. All my other apps I had an easy time limiting myself with, but Instagram has a way of just sucking me in. The exciting news of another engagement, trip or graduation keeps me scrolling. My best friend's page leads me to some mutual friend I haven't seen in ages and so on. I was losing precious hours of my life to Instagram every week and I knew something needed to happen differently.
Now, I use the time limit feature on my phone and only get one hour a day on Instagram. When it hits that mark, it'll send me a notification and I need to get off. It may sound like a lot, but the time goes quickly. For the first few weeks, I hit it quickly and felt like I didn't do anything profitable. But as time went on, I found myself sticking to it and being intentional about my time. I was going to make a post and actually interact with people. I still have days where my habits aren't perfect, but I'm working on it and making progress which feels good!
I no longer want to miss moments because I'm so caught up with letting everyone know what I'm doing.
Whatever is on my phone will be there when I get back. It usually takes away from the moment instead of adding anything to it, anyway. Checking our phones incessantly is usually a sign of imbalance and boredom. I'm not proud of the times I've been distracted from an important conversation or moment. Our phones shouldn't be coping mechanisms — but tools we use in a healthy way. Feelings, situations and conversations can feel real and awkward, but we must be there for whatever it is and isn't. Just existing side by side all the time isn't fair to yourself or others. When we show up, let's make sure it's all of us.
I was waking up to my alarm clock but letting myself scroll through social media in order to really wake up. Can I tell you this is the worst idea I've ever had? Scrolling through social media before you do anything else with your day is just allowing a bunch of other people to get their fingerprints on your day before you even take that first sip of coffee. Seeing other people's stories and words before anything else never made me feel "inspired" as I claimed. It made me feel sad and behind. It made me feel like I didn't measure up. And those feelings took me down and dragged me throughout my day.But the strange thing about that? My "sad" feelings led me to pick up my phone even more and scroll even more as if I thought the solution was somewhere in my news feeds. It never was. It never will be. — Hannah Brencher
In the past few months, I have changed. I'm trying to make sure I have a schedule set for the week and goals to work towards keeps my priorities clear. But as I sit here now, I know there is still more work to be done. I need to reevaluate, set some new boundaries and do some work inside.
The future is too bright and big to spend it behind a screen and in our little worlds.
Distractions can easily mess up our productivity and our ability to get things done in a timely manner. I'm guilty of this because I'm always preoccupied and trying to multitask. The problem, though, is by doing too much I'm not getting much done on any one thing. My feelings and thoughts are wrapped up multiple things and places. I was jumping from one story or project to work emails all while simultaneously trying to do assignments and I felt like there wasn't enough time in the world for anything.
One day, I looked down and noticed the problem was right in front of me. It was hard to admit, but so helpful start me on a path that actually goes somewhere. I don't want to just talk about doing the thing on my heart. I want to go out and actually do it. I want to write the book, finish the degree, and start the big project.
Social media is powerful and has its place. I actually love it! Through social media, I've shared my unsaid words, sent letters to strangers all over the world, met some of my closest friends, and gotten opportunities I wouldn't have found otherwise. It has given me a deeper connection with people and given me a place to give and share hope. Maybe it's not about leaving, but adjusting how we use it.
Whether we control the devices in front of us or it controls us is a choice we have to make on the daily.