I know many of you are focused on things like losing weight and creating more space in your life for 2017 BUT I’m going to challenge you to step back and focus on your relationship to social media and screens.
Ironic, right? You are reading this on a screen, you are subscribed to something that is sharing this with you- but I’m here to ask you to take a break. Not all the time, but sometimes. Not every day but at a designated part of the day, week, month. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE connecting with people on social media. I love pictures and stories and chatting with people…
HOWEVER, I am also committed to a life of freedom, creativity, joy and ease and that means that my social media time is one tiny, tiny part of my life- I draw, paint and create in my home office. I write daily. I exercise daily. I find time to cook for my family and to connect in person with people I love. I sleep 7-9 hours a night. I read 1-2 books a week. I listen to 4-5 podcasts a week. I’m not listing this off to boast or make you feel bad- I’m just sharing with you what I have gained from being more mindful about my media intake. I have found significant shifts in my relationship to time from developing some boundaries and implementing practices around social media and TV.
As a society, We KNOW we are addicted but have you ever STOPPED and looked around in line, at the park, in waiting rooms. There are so many screens. So much looking down…MY new practice in these spaces is to look around. TO try to make eye contact with someone, to smile. Sometimes I just stand and breathe, sending lovingkindness to everyone in the room. Not from judgement or wanting things to be different, but just to stop and see it all. To take it in. To see my REAL life. And sometimes, I answer the text that came in, answer a work email ( SO I CAN HIDE THE PHONE WHEN I GET HOME WITH THE KIDS), or I actually call someone I love to hear their voice. I know, so old school- right?
Some define yoga as the ART of paying attention. Yoga is my art, part of my creative life. We talk about yoga practice as a way of refining our focus, our clarity and helping us to really develop one pointed attention and awareness… Usually on our mat, it shows up as staying in a pose with a breathing technique, for some time. Yoga challenges us to hold and breath not to jump in and out of the moment or the breath or the pose. This is one way our yoga connects to our real life. It helps us build inner strength of focus and presence and to stay with it for a bit longer than we did before.
Regular consistent breath-full yoga & mediation practice can…
*help build our focus muscles.
*give us a little more attention endurance for our real life experiences.
*invite us to be a little less distracted.
*strengthen our awareness of when we have gone back into zombie/ autopilot mode.
Here is something else I have noticed ESPECIALLY over the past 5 years..I have observed that people who abuse social media and do not have their own contemplative practices live with a LOT of FOMO ( fear of missing out) and that people who have a contemplative practice ( which naturally strengthens self awareness and inner courage ) and have some boundaries around social media experience more JOMO ( joy of missing out).
What does this mean? I think it means that peeps who deeply commit to their inner lives, and do the work to know who they are and stand in that power have WAY less time, energy, resources or interest in looking around to others lives for comparison. I believe folks who have a strong sense of self, clarity around choices, actions and values spend more time living their own life. More time engaged with other humans they love or cultivating their own unique passions and talents. And I think that’s pretty awesome.
Here’s what I invite you to try…
- Schedule time in silence away from screens. This can look like writing pen to paper, walking in nature with no music or podcasts, sitting in meditation… anything counts as long as there is no music/ noise and no screen with you. You could call this downtime..
- Jump on the mat. Grab your yoga mat for some advanced practice. This means, just chill on your mat, with your self. Add some movement. Connect to your OWN body. Stay in a pose longer than normal and breathe. Move to the next pose. Stay in that pose longer than normal. What comes up? This might be very hard the first few times. That’s okay. Remember, we can do hard things.
- Take a break – just for a little! Jump of Facebook for a week or so. Take it off your phone or log out of all the social media so that if you try to get on , you have to login which will remind you that you don’t want to be on! Some people take a whole day off a week – or a week off a month. Once you break that habit, it’s easier and easier to take regular breaks and to engage more proactively and meaningfully when you get back on. They also say your time spent on social media drops significantly lower when you do take breaks-I notice this in my own life- after a media detox, I’m always using it less when I turn it all back on.
- Engage with people who bring you joy- unsubscribe from peeps who make you feel bad, unworthy or less than. I have done this ( and keep doing it!) over the years- it’s GREAT- now my feed is people I love, doing things I am interested in- where I want to share, support and cheerlead for them.
- Leave your phone at home or in the car. As much as possible.
If you see something on social media that is quite personal, on your mind, or upsetting instead of responding to the person on the screen- maybe contact them offline. Most of the time, just adding a comment does not really help that person in crisis ( although, I know in some cases it can!) But, if you can actually do something to help or you are very close to this person and they have posted something – it can be a really nice practice to call them and reach out about the topic .. rather than just responding to the whole public.
At the end of my life, I want to be known as someone who loved and lived really well, wholeheartedly. I want to be known as someone who created and cared and led an inspired life. * Scrolling on a device is not something that I want people to remember me for*
I would LOVE to hear what you do to protect your valuable time and to put boundaries on your social media..