Why I took a break from Social Media

I am just going to be frank here. On Monday evening, I had a breakdown.

I have been treading water for a while, and finally the wave hit. It sucked me under, to point where I was drowning, and desperately scrambling for air. I felt suffocated and like I couldn't see clearly. The water had not just gotten into my lungs, but it had gotten into my eyes too, not allowing me to see things correctly. I felt like the validation I crave off social media was morphing my view on the world, and those around me. I felt like I had to start searching for that love within me, instead of longing for it off others. I needed to take time to care for my own self, nurture my obviously fragile state of mind, and just be sure that I was in the right place, doing the right thing.

I rather dramatically deleted all the apps in my "Social" folder in my phone, as I felt like I needed thinking time. After a culmination of events in the days leading up to Monday, I just felt lost, like I had no idea where I was going, where I came from, or just who I was as a person. I felt like in the days leading up to this, I had done things that weren't very "me", which forced me to reflect and consider who was this person I had ~temporarily~ become.

All of this does sound very over-dramatised. I mean, there are a shit ton of people in this world that have never accessed social media, or maybe they have, and they just aren't so attached to it. I have built a life for myself on social media, and I rely on it for so much. Which is scary. And that is why I knew I needed a break. I have somehow connected the anxious feelings I have to social media. It is a double edged sword. It makes me feel reassured, the messages I get, the ease of the scroll through Facebook, somehow it's calming. I use my phone in anxious situations, looking at my phone somehow makes me feel better, like a comfort blanket almost, I rely on it.  But at the same time, it clouds my judgement, makes me doubt myself, and most importantly, uses up WAY too much of my precious time.

This is not saying I don't want to use my time replying to or initiating conversations with people, but I just need to find the right balance.

I cannot tell you how much better I feel after this mini-break. It has changed my perspective completely.

Here are just some ways this detox has helped me, as someone with anxiety and depression. I will say, I am the sort of (depressed) person who procrastinates and wastes time (usually on social media) to get away with not doing stuff I need to do. (Such as studying, cleaning etc.)
  • I have finished several Uni assignments that I was struggling to complete. I have used the free time I do have to motivate myself and get stuck into projects with upcoming deadlines. 
  • I have kept on top of household chores that I typically let slip. Any free moments, I have told myself to make them worthwhile, and I have washed up, done my laundry and other small tasks that I often neglect. 
  • I have started reading again! Yes, I actually have picked up (numerous!) books and began to actually read. I can't believe it. The past few months I have struggled so hard to motivate myself to do something as simple as read a book. 
  • I have started to not neglect my fitness regime again, and with the help of my new Fit-bit, I have been incorporating more activity into my day, which includes going to the gym for the first time in months.
  • I have cleared out my whole wardrobe! I have been meaning to do this for months, it had gotten so messy. I spent a big chunk of Tuesday evening sorting and listening to my favourite music in the process. 
  • I have felt like I got the space I needed to just breathe. 
  • I have paid more attention to what I am watching on Netflix, YouTube or TV. Previously, I would scroll through my phone at any given opportunity, which meant I never paid full attention to what I was meant to be paying full attention to. This one sounds kind of petty, but honestly, it has made me appreciate the beauty of switching off whilst watching something on the box. 
  • I have had time to write this blog post. 
  • I have had time to work on my freelance projects. (I do marketing on the side)
  • I have optimised every moment. Again, this may sound a little petty, but instead of scrolling on my phone whilst the kettle boils, I have washed a plate or wiped a side. 
  • I have had the much needed time to just think. I would have never realised, nor appreciated, how valuable distraction-free, pure thinking time is. I have been able to think a lot of things through without having the pressure to instantly reply. We live in a world where we feel like we can't leave people on read or that we should never just take a few extra minutes to think a response through. We often say heated things in a heated moment without considering every outcome. I am so happy I have been able to reflect on this, it has really really changed my perspective. I can't emphasis this enough. 
  • I have tidied out and completely organised my room. 
  • I have deep cleaned said room. 
  • I have discovered new albums and actually enjoyed just, listening.
  • I have walked home from work, to remind myself that enjoying nature with nothing else distracting me is an act of self care.
I have spoken a lot about distractions and being distracted in this post. We are constantly told to be present and live in the here and now, and I think that is such a crucial part of what I have realised this week. I have only been offline for a matter of days (4 or so to be exact), and I feel like I am ready to come back. At first, I wasn't missing it so much, but since I am sitting down to continue writing this, I have realised I feel confident, reassured and motivated to crack on with the world and what it has to offer. When I say offline, I wasn't strictly offline. Like I said, I have enjoyed watching YouTube and because of my job (I am a social media assistant for my university), I have had to still log into their social media accounts. I went a little bit too offline at first, I wanted to just turn my phone off and forget about the world completely. However, after a couple of concerned texts off my friends, I knew that valuing and appreciating those around me - even if it was via a message - wasn't a bad thing, or wasn't something to be ignored. I logged back into facebook messenger after a day or two, and I have took pleasure in having meaningful conversations with people that really do care. :)

“Self-care is how you take your power back.” – Lalah Delia

Not to blown my own trumpet but I feel like I give a lot of love to other people, and forget to give any of that love to myself. To be truthful, I don't feel worthy of it, which is why I think I am so willing to give it to others, people who I feel like deserve it. I was made to think for so long that I was "unloveable", which is why I struggle with the whole self appreciation thing. But that is a topic for another day. As Christopher Germer once said, "Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others." I think all of us should practise that a little more. And as a very beautiful woman once said, aka my mother, "You can't love anyone else until you love yourself." 

Don't be silly, listen to my mum. And Christopher Germer. And Lalah Delia. But particularly my mum. 

I am going to leave this post here before people stop reading anyway. (You've probably stopped by now...) I tend to ramble, but I guess it just all comes from the heart. Pure mush that was, sorry guys. 

Bye for now,
Tamzin xxx


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