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I have been in a funk lately. Nothing life-or-death, but constantly feeling drained and operating under fight-or-flight mode. Ive had a short temper, and no attention span. These are normally symptoms that my extremely-introverted self needs to step back and re-charge my batteries, but that didn’t make sense because I am spending more time alone than ever.
I am a self-employed hairstylist, but I only work in the salon a couple of days per week. The rest of my time is divided between my blog, my Etsy shop, and my Young Living business. These are generally pretty solitary pursuits, with most of my time spent sequestered in my home office. So why do I feel like I am on constant overload?
Introverts can enjoy being around people. But to really re-charge their batteries they need time in solitude. We need time in our own heads. We need time to process.
The other day I sat down to read. This is one of my favorite introvert/me time activities because I can so completely shut out the outside world and immerse myself in a book. I found my concentration drifting. Then I got a text. Then I checked Facebook. 30 minutes later I was still watching videos of dogs sitting in their water bowls on my phone. Hi, my name is Melissa and I am a social media addict.
We are never truly alone when Facebook is at our fingertips, and I am starting to realize how much social media has started to impose on every area of my life. My phone is always in my pocket, and as soon as a notification dings, I am pulling it out and checking it. What if I miss something?
When we have a face-to-face interaction, odds are there is no yelling or screaming involved. Sometimes people think things without saying them out loud. And I definitely couldn’t tell you who someone is voting for just from looking at them. But on Facebook thoughts spill out uncensored, and tempers flare behind keyboards. We can’t infer tone from a post, and so things often feel abrasive and pointed even when they have nothing to do with us. The negativity is relentless, and we are allowing it into our minds on a near continual basis.
If the posts from our friends and acquaintances aren’t enough, there’s also the news alerts on the side to inform you of the latest tragedy and calamity. We used to consume information at night on the evening news for a half an hour, but now we are barraged with all sorts of horrific events day and night. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a break.
The first step to ridding my life of the negativity that social media has brought with it was recognizing that it needs to be a tool that I am using, not something that is controlling me. As I often do when I have a situation to map out or problem to solve, I sat down and created a spread in my bullet journal where I could jot down some ideas for breaking my Facebook addiction, as well as keep a running log of how many times I checked the site. On my MacBook I run the program Rescue Time. This doesn’t inhibit me from going on Facebook, but at the end of the week it will email me a report of how much time I spent doing what on my computer, and categorize my productive time vs. the time I wasted. Its very convicting!
My phone is my biggest problem, however, because it is with me 24/7. I reason that I have to be reachable at all times because of my salon business, and that I need to be active on social media because of my blog, but those are really just excuses so I don’t have to break my addiction. If my personal life is in balance, my business will benefit, so I am starting to see the value of just turning the phone off once in a while, or leaving it on my desk instead of dropping it in my pocket. I installed the app Checky which tracks how many times a day I open my phone screen. Again, this isn’t something that will stop me from accessing Facebook, but it will give me some accountability.
I had a discussion the other day about social media and how it can be a draining time-suck. My friend Susan directed me to this post by the Nester. It gave me a lot of hope that she was able to say no and guard her time, yet still have a flourishing blog and business. Its all about priorities, and I am so thankful that I am getting mine in order.
Do you struggle with spending too much time on social media? I challenge you to sit the phone down for a bit today. I know I will be!