Picture this – you wake up and you do not check facebook, instagram, Pinterest, text messages, or emails.
Does that scenario scare you or make you feel relaxed?
For me, it sounds scary, but also sounds incredibly freeing and I am about to experience how it feels because this weekend I am going “un-plugged.”
Instagram consumes more of my time than I’d like to admit. I think I justify my always-online behavior because I use social media for the Studio 29 Photography business and blog. 75% or more of my business is because of social media. Instagram has initiated conversation and work opportunities time and time again for me and I am forever grateful.
But, on the other hand, time and time again instagram, facebook, and pinterest have taken away from valuable time with my family and friends and time is something I can never get back. I am working on being more mindful about how I spend my time online. I feel a strong sense of anxiety or worry about being always-online because I am anxious about the urgency in which I respond to messages, emails, inquires, and comments or questions. I am always working hard to continue to cultivate, grow, and engage in my online community.
My dear friend Alyson and I talked about disconnecting from all social media last weekend because it was her 5 year wedding anniversary – but, I felt the need to be “connected” because I was doing a home tour photo-shoot for West Elm and I wanted to take behind-the-scenes insta-stories.
We decided this weekend would be appropriate time to unplug from all online activity because it is a Holiday weekend and we wanted to prioritize spending time with our family and disconnect from the online space.
It is really great to do the disconnect with a friend because we are able to fully take a step back from the pressures of our online presence AND she will know why I am not texting her back for 48 hours. 😉 I already know it is going to be liberating and I am excited to have this weekend of reflection.
I am excitedÂ to completely disconnect because even though I try my best not to, I am guilty of playing the comparison game. Photos of amazing trips to the prettiest breakfasts all have theÂ opportunity to create a sense ofÂ jealousy. I feel like separating myself from online posts + conversations will give me a chance to focus my attention on allÂ the good things in my life and be thankful forÂ everyone and everything.
I am looking forward to being more aware of everything that is going on in front of me and not just on my phone. I am excited to have my chin up and shoulders back instead of hunched over my laptop or cell phone. I know it sounds a little cliche, but it is so true that life and love is happening every day around me and I am probably missing or overlooking so many things because I was busy double tapping and scrolling aimlessly.
I want to be inspired to set stricter boundaries during the week and be more aware of how much time I am actually aimlessly scrolling.
My ultimate goal for disconnecting is becauseÂ I want to become a better listener for my husband, family, and friends. I want to have better focus on the people and conversations that are happening directly in front of me instead of being side-tracked or worrying about the conversations I need to have with people online or the partially answered emails in my drafts folder. I also want to worry less about the daily pressures of worrying how people will perceive my life.
NOW Â R E M E M B E R . . . I had mentioned I was not doing this alone.
Let me introduce you to my friend Alyson Morgan. She is an amazing (often solo parenting) mother of two beautiful babies, an incredible gardener, blogger, and just the kindest soul you will ever meet. You can follow her journey towards a sustainable homestead onÂ Â Maia Terra + see hundreds of beautifully narrated photos on herÂ instagram.Â Trust me, you will not be disappointed, you will be inspired, enlightened, and maybe even learn something! And, if you are a fan of the moon, you will LOVE her feed!
We both will be turning off our phones and shutting down our computers at 2pm on Friday and agreed to remain absent until Monday morning.
We came up with a few reflection questions for before and after the disconnect and we both answered them. My answersÂ are shared on her blog and below are Alyson’s. This is a two part post; part 1 initiating the disconnect and part 2 reflecting & encouraging others to take time off from .
When was the last time you disconnected?
Allyson: I started the beginning of the year with a three day yoga retreat. It was my first time away from the kids, ever and I took that opportunity to go completely offline. I came home with a renewed sense of self and equanimity. And though I cant go on a yoga retreat every weekend, I can have a different kind of getaway. AJ and I took a weekend a month after that to put down our phones and reconnect with each other and our family and feelings. After that experience we talked about doing it on a more regular basis in an effort to cultivate a little more connection with each other too.
Are mostly you on your phone for social media or for texting/calling?
A: Iâ€™m on my phone mostly for social media, face time with my mom, and texting. But I also use Pinterest for managing my household, finding inspiration, books + resources, meal planning, garden resources. I love pinterest, I planned and orchestrated my kitchen renovation on that platform with the help of my mom in California. It really has become a mainstay in my day to day operation. Phone calls are hard with two kids playing, fighting, singing and being kids in the background. Social media and texting are a way for me to connect with my friends and family, but on my terms, without all the background noise.
Do you use your phone for work? Do you use your social media accounts for work?
A: I use my phone as my main computer a lot of the times. Iâ€™ve been using my phone and social media increasingly as I launched my blog and am trying to grow the ecocollective with contributors all over the world. So Iâ€™ve been using it to reach out and connect. Like with you! I feel like you get to be more a part of my life since we both are active on social media.
How are you feeling about the disconnect? Anything causing stress or worry?
A: Iâ€™m nervous and excited. Iâ€™m nervous about really seeing how much I use social media as a crutch or filler when I need an escape. There is also an underlying feeling of the fear of missing out, but in this process I wonder if that is not misplaced. What small things am I overlooking in my day to day when I’m looking at a screen. Iâ€™m excited for the opportunity for space and reflection.
What are you doing to prepare for your absence?
A: To prepare I am trying to check my phone less. I think that the impulse to pick up my phone and check it is going to be tough to overcome at first. I was even thinking of finding a safe place to stash it. Out of sight, out of mind? Also letting friends and family know what’s happening so they don’t think something is wrong.
Why do you want to disconnect?
A: I want to disconnect to create a boundary in my life and to think more intentionally about how to use social media in a more healthy way. I enjoy using social media and I think if I can do it with more structure I will find time in other areas of my life.
What are you hoping to reconnect to?
A: Iâ€™m hoping to reconnect to my own inner workings. When I feel like I need an escape or time to myself, what are concrete actions I can take for self care. Iâ€™m looking to reconnect to what it was like to not have a phone! Do you remember a time without your phone? I remember being a kid, even in high school, with nothing to answer to in this way. Time spent in a more free way, playing games, instead of browsing the internet, facebook or reddit, I would actually pick up a book or draw or write. I need more of that in my life. I think as I practice this disconnect more it will change my perspective on how much time I actually have.
What are looking to achieve through this?
A: Iâ€™m looking for a little perspective and a little balance between my inner needs, my family and my outer self. Especially as I am spending more time on the computer and the internet for work, I want to learn how to do it in a more mindful way. I want a chance to check in with my priorities I’m looking to feel a little more focused and grateful for what is right in front of me.