How I really switch off…
A question I seem to get asked a lot is how I cope with spending so much time on social media. I see where they’re coming from, the internet can be a toxic place at the best of times, never mind when it’s your job to be online day after day. But somehow, I prevail (mostly).
I’ve grown up on the internet and so I feel almost… wise to it now. I don’t let myself feel guilty when I take a weekend off (who even notices anyway?) and I have never gone down the self-comparison route. I don’t believe anyone has it all, no matter what their Instagram feed suggests.
Saying that, I still need time away from it. Working from home and for myself means there’s no end to my day; even if I do consider my to-do list ticked off (this has never happened), there’s always comments and emails I could reply to. This is further muddled by the fact that I love reading through the messages I get, so is it really work if I enjoy it this much?
Whatever the outcome, I need time away from screens, and I need a schedule that allows me to take time away from my online life and to be present in the real world more often in order to feel sane!
I think summer in general brings about a lot more opportunities to be off your phone, and I’ve definitely been embracing a technology-free life without even thinking about it.
Making evening and weekend plans helps me to stay offline, so I try to organise to meet with friends who live nearby to go for brunch or coffee or a walk around the park quite regularly. Even a short walk on my own to break up the day really helps to revive me, so I go back to my desk with fresh eyes and a bit more motivation (and probably 10 more emails to reply to…)
I also like to set my phone to ‘do not disturb’ throughout the day if I feel like my notifications are distracting me. It means my phone doesn’t keep flashing up when I’m reading or with friends, and it also allows me to do work uninterrupted so I’m not spending unnecessary time at my computer to compensate.
A Girl Gang That Gets Me
I am forever thankful for having a group of close friends (and an extended circle of good people) to help me navigate life in general, not just the trials and tribulations of Janet on Instagram calling me fat.
My friends have never seemed overly interested in what I do (obviously I know they care, but we don’t often chat about our jobs in general) and I think that keeps me grounded. I talk to them every day and I get FOMO (fear of missing out, FYI) when I see them hanging out together when I’m away on my fancy blogger trips. It feels good to know I have a life waiting for me back at home, in some weird way. I have people who hold me dear no matter what my Instagram follower count.
Making Time For Mindful Downtime
In all honesty, I’m still making sense of mindfulness. Do you have to actively take part in being mindful or is existing enough??? Unclear tbh.
Anyway, I’ve definitely been trying to be present and aware as much as possible. Sometimes if I’m too busy, especially when I’m rushing around running errands and hurriedly replying to messages on my phone at the same time, I get this peculiar feeling like I’m not really here… almost like an out of body experience.
Activities like sitting in bed in the evening and carrying out a bit of beauty prep while Jordan talks to the cats next to me, or spending time in the bath without my phone (shock, horror) and losing entire weekends to a good book all make me feel like I have more of a grasp on my life, but maybe even then it’s not enough. Maybe I need to focus more on being happy doing even less than that, I’m not entirely sure.
It’s all a journey, and any time I spend being present and listening and taking everything in is better than time spent scrolling mindlessly on my phone.
Taking Steps To Protect Myself
I am lucky enough to be reasonably thick-skinned (I grew up with three brothers, which is probably the most you can do to prepare yourself for a life on the internet), but more than that I take measures to protect myself. When hormones come in to play, the slightest hint of negativity can have an effect on me. During these times is when I tend to spend less time on the internet; I won’t be so diligent with my Instagram inbox, I’ll be good to myself and get more sleep. I think sometimes that’s all you can do. Some days it’s definitely more about just making it through the day!
I didn’t really have too much of a plan for this post, but the more I wrote down how I felt, the more I realised that this is a work in progress for me. I’m continuously trying to balance my work life and my downtime (along with socialising, sleep, life admin and all the rest), and that is okay.
It’s good to admit you don’t have it all figured out, but that a willingness to learn and some sort of plan for at least the immediate future is enough.
Do you guys have any tips for switching off? Please add yours below, I’d love to hear your thoughts…