How is it the last week of August? I mean, really…. where has summer gone?
Not that I am entirely sad though. I always enjoy the beginning of summer and then eventually want a ‘start fresh’ with September since fall is my favourite season.
I recently blogged that I enjoyed a week of vacation to Manitoba/Kenora/Lake-of-the-Woods (wish I could go back!) and that due to no internet connection while on holidays, I didn’t have access to email or social media.
Considering social media is what I do for a living, having no access to it seemed like a problem ….. or so I thought.
After a few days of worry and not knowing what to do with my phone (it is normal to have the shakes at first when you’re on withdrawl, right?!) I finally adapted to what life felt like without a phone. And man did it ever feel good! So good in fact that I wanted to share with you in this separate post, the reasons why it was so refreshing to step back from social media and take a break from it when its something you do for a living.
Ironically, I read this article before I left about why you shouldn’t check email while on vacation and I can honestly say, a week without social media/email was one of the healthiest breaks I’ve taken in a long time.
When I try and think of when the last time was that I didn’t have access to internet on my phone at my fingertips, the last time was 2009 when I travelled to Europe. Yes we had cellphones (flip phones back then.. does that date me or what?!) but you couldn’t use them overseas as I suspect you can now with smartphones. I remember leaving my cellphone at home at the time thinking, well, the only way I can communicate to let people still know I was alive was through quick and costly collect calls or my laptop. The only way I could get access to wifi on my laptop while travelling was going to an internet cafe or paying an arm and a leg at the hostels I stayed at to connect to wifi.
My recent vacation made me realize just how dependent we are as social media users, especially since we as Canadians spend the most time on the internet than any other country in the western world.
So what were those 5 things vacation taught me about a break from social media?
- Social media networks don’t justify that you ‘lived’ through something – Just because you didn’t document the moment or snap a photo to share with your network(s) of something you are experiencing that you think is cool, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Savour those moments with those around you and those your spending time with so you can truly be ‘in the moment,’ rather than thinking about what angle would be best for the best photo op.
- Set boundaries to not miss out on life moments – If it is imperative that you be on social media during say long weekends, camping adventures, holidays, etc…. try and ask yourself if it is really necessary to bring the phone along with you. Set boundaries to your social media use – as an example, only check social media once or twice a day so you feel like you are in control of your social media habits, not the other way around.
- Use social media with intention and a purpose – This was probably the biggest lesson I learned while on vacation and then reconnecting after a week away. Was I really using social media for the right reasons before I left and in the most strategic way possible? Was I using it for professional reasons with a hint of ‘personal’ in there or was I just browsing social media to fill time that I should have otherwise been ‘guarding.’ Since returning, I’ve downloaded the app Moments to keep track of how much time I’m spending on my phone and on social media apps so I can cut back intentionally and use social media more purposefully.
- Choose to follow social media users and content that will better your life – After returning from holidays and catching up on things I seemed to have ‘missed’ while I was away, it was interesting to see how others chose to spend their time on a long-weekend in August and not for professional development or purposes that bettered them. It made me take a second look at the people and brands I follow and the type of content I am constantly indulging in to make sure that the people I follow and the content I consumer on social media channels adds value to my day whether it be from a personal standpoint (a funny laugh, a cute outfit, a good read, seeing other’s adventures and obviously my friend’s) and from a professional development standpoint (articles on social media, millennials, leadership, agriculture/food, business, #girlbosses, etc)
- See social media for what it is – likes don’t justify the means – My biggest takeaway from a social media free week? That I can still live and exist in a world without social media. While I may have felt like I was missing out at the beginning, the guilt eventually passed and I realized how amazing it felt to really ‘live’ without having likes justify the means of what I was doing each day. Being in control and having the power to put my phone down was empowering!
I’m proud to say that since returning home from vacation, I’ve made a more conscious effort throughout August to only post when I felt like I had something to say and not just sit around browsing my social media channels.
This new intention and purpose I’m using with social media has felt so good. Try it with me!