It’s all the rage – taking a break from social media, getting a digital detox. And I can attest to why it’s so popular.
In January, we moved house, district, jobs and schools. It was a massive, exciting, back-breaking move. I also started a new full-time job as a communication and brand champion for public transport in Dunedin, where me moved. A lot of change, all for the positive.
In the thick of it, I didn’t have time for anything ‘social’, but when I finally did, I elected not to rush back to my computer. I decided I would just focus on being present, and after work switching the PC off, putting the phone away unless needed for life admin. Of course I kept in touch with friends and family through direct email or messenger or whatsapp, but I uninstalled instagram, and stopped Facebook notifications, and simply didn’t open them.
It was bliss. Bliss because I was just in the moment. I’m not a huge social media follower or poster, so this wasn’t as dramatic a move as it is for some, but it was deliberate. Being present even when there’s ‘nothing to do’ really pushed me to do more meaningful things like read books more, for example. It highlighted what is and isn’t important to me, and what commitments I can make to social media that are within my character.
Some tips about taking a social media holiday:
- Everyone is different. Some people find social media sharing therapeutic, while others, like me, find it a chore at times (especially if related to business). If you’re the latter, take time out before social media is no longer enjoyable.
- I didn’t let people know I was having time out, because it was only around a month. If you’re a regular poster, it might be worthwhile letting people know.
- For me, this was more about being present in the moment, and not filling in gaps looking at my phone.
- I didn’t set out to do this. When I realised I hadn’t posted for ages, or scrolled through FB or Inst, I decided to keep not posting and avoid looking.
- I found I played more toys with my son, breathed the sea in more, and called people more – when you’re not always seeing what people are up to, you feel the need to call and properly catch up!!
- I can also see now how much time we (everyone) spends on their phone – missing out on the direct connections between life, instead of via a phone.
As to the move, well here we are in the wonderful great small city of Dunedin, where the beautiful, white beach with it’s perfect surf waves and sunny promenade is 20 minutes from the centre of town, with its university, public art gallery, civic centre, cathedral, and as it happens my job working at the regional council. I feel particularly proud and joyful that I have a rewarding role that encourages travelling by public transport, which is one of the most sustainable social, economic and environmental solutions for this city, and our planet.
We’re a little bit in love with where we’ve ended up, and it has made me realise how much I love the ocean and the sound of waves crashing in the distance.
I’m also looking forward to immersing myself into the local fashion scene too, already knowing a few influential and active people around here, including Senorita AweSUMO, who also runs Stitch Kitchen.
And this week, Dunedin ID Fashion Week has started, and I’m looking forward to seeing what that has to offer. Looks like the perfect opportunity to get back on the social media horse.