A few weeks ago, I ran a little experiment: I took a break from social media. Six full days, in fact. That meant no checking Twitter or Instagram, no liking the comments posted on Facebook by “friends”, no suffering pangs of envy while viewing recent photos of impossibly cute royal toddlers, no keeping up with the Kardashians or anyone else of questionable famousness. I also mostly avoided online news venues, so bypassed updates about local stabbings, weather-related catastrophes, political mud-slinging, scathing diatribes disguised as opinion pieces, and the many bleeding tragedies that lead in the headlines.
It was not easy. I felt out of the loop, uninformed, and maybe even a little bored.
I also did not feel overly stressed or depressed. I sensed my blood pressure drop a couple of points. I swear I slept a bit better.
We usually talk about taking a break from social media around the big triggering holidays, like Mother’s Day and the winter holiday season, when family gatherings are promoted in advertisements and shared by friends and relatives in private missives. So often these postings are not heartwarming for those of us in this community; they’re more likely heart-wrenching. They remind us of all we’ve lost and what we’ll never have, and, dangit, it hurts.
So why do we can continue to subject ourselves to this onslaught? Good question. I supposed I could come up with a number of reasons, from wanting to keep in touch, wanting to be supportive, wanting to live vicariously through my friends’ good fortunes.
But this week I’d like to suggest we shift our perspectives from what supports other people’s happiness to what will allow us to heal and find our own happiness.
I’d like to suggest we try, every so often, to take a holiday from social media. Is this the week you can do it? Will you try it with me?
Oh, but one exception: This site and any of the others you visit for support on your journey don’t count. Stay connected to any community that offers you encouragement, love, and acceptance.
Let me know how it goes. And please be gentle with yourself.