I recently took a two week break from Facebook. It was during the school holidays, so I could say that I did it so that I could be more "present" for my children during their holiday time. And that was certainly a contributing factor. I was more available to them, and I was setting a good example for them by not having my eyes glued to my phone or my ipad constantly. However the reason I needed a Facebook break was bigger than that.
I had become more and more addicted to constantly scrolling through Facebook, determined not to miss a thing! There were so many posts from friends and family, posts from artists I admire, posts from inspirational living pages, health and wellness pages, local community noticeboards, local businesses, businesses from across the other side of the world, art and craft communities, health communities, food communities.......how could I keep up with it all if I wasn't checking Facebook every 10 minutes to make sure I hadn't missed anything?!! And if I just disappeared from Facebook, wouldn't all these people forget that I existed, or at the very least, be highly offended if I didn't "like" or comment on their every post. I didn't want to upset people.
Eeeeeek! The whole Facebook treadmill was causing me quite a lot of stress and anxiety. Which is exactly the reason why I needed to STOP!
And do you know what happened when I stopped? The world didn't stop turning. I politely excused myself from Facebook for a while and nobody got upset. In fact, ironically, before I completely removed myself from Facebook, my post explaining why I was taking a break got a whole lot of likes and supportive comments! I'm guessing I'm not the only one out there who feels Facebook overwhelm from time to time.
Something else happened when I took a break from Facebook..........I made these:
While I waited in the car or on the sidelines at basketball training, I crocheted. I did spend some time on Pinterest gathering some inspiration for things to make (thus the cute rope bowl) but I didn't linger on there endlessly and get overwhelmed with what to do first. While we watched TV together as a family in the evenings I worked on my crocheted scrappy blanket. It felt soooooo good to actually have something to show for my time. I haven't been making much art lately, because it sometimes feels like you need a huge chunk of time and all your supplies and a clean studio to make art, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all that and not START. Crochet, knitting or hand stitching is so portable. You can pick it up and put it down again after just a few minutes if you need to. In this way, you chip away at a project slowly and you actually DO IT. So satisfying!
I also spent some time just alone with my thoughts; daydreaming, planning, pondering, relaxing and recharging........when you're on social media constantly there is no room for that kind of thing. You get information overload and it crowds out anytime for introspection and contemplation, which, in my opinion, are essential for a healthy mind and soul.
Did I miss stuff while I was away from Facebook? Probably. I know for sure that I missed wishing several friends a happy birthday, but if the truth be told, before there even was Facebook, I probably wouldn't have known it was their birthday, or if I did, I wouldn't have remembered to send them a card or a call them anyway. So if you were one of those whose birthday I missed, please accept my belated happy birthday wishes and know that even though I didn't send you a Facebook cheerio, I hope you had a lovely day celebrating the anniversary of your birth. xoxo
So the question is, now that my two week fast is over, am I back on Facebook? The answer is "sort of". I have checked in, had a few scrolls, liked a few things over the past couple of days, but to be honest, it felt kind of dull. I don't feel that addictive pull to "keep up" and stay involved in everything that's going on there. If the truth be told, life isn't actually going on inside Facebook. It's going on in the big, wide world. I don't feel the need to know about what's supposedly going on in other people's lives every second of every day. I'm enjoying actually living my life. Doing things, makings things, talking to my kids, daydreaming and spending time with my thoughts. I won't put a full Facebook ban on my life, because history shows that feeling like you can't have something leads to feelings of deprivation, and that just makes you want the banned item even more. But I do plan to keep Facebook's place in my life a lot more low key. If I feel like it's becoming too overwhelming again, I won't hesitate to do another Facebook fast. It's been invaluable to me and to my family.
Have you ever taken a Facebook fast or a break from social media? How did you feel about it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.