What & Why / My Social Media Vacation

I was packing my bags (at the last minute) before heading home for the holiday and some much needed family time. I was just about to throw my laptop in my bag so I could do some writing, emailing and editing during my time off. Then I had a thought: what’s the worst that would happen if I just…didn’t?

So I unpacked my laptop, hopped in the car and headed towards good times.

Once I was on the train, I realized I didn’t even feel the slightest bit of regret. I love traveling by train, alone or in good company. I spent the entire train ride catching up with my dad and sister, laughing (mainly at my dad’s jokes) and people watching (which only provided more jokes). And once we arrived, I knew I wanted to take things a step farther. So I decided to go cold turkey, and spend some time away from the blog world, social media and email.

I took all of my favorite social media apps and moved them on my phone so that they were out of sight and out of mind. I turned off all notifications, and stopped incoming mail from hitting my inbox. I wanted this to be a clean break. I wanted to be fully present with my loved ones, in every moment. Not half at the table, half in the tweets.

So, what happened?

The first day, I noticed the difference. I woke up and felt off when I was sipping my morning coffee at the table with my dad and didn’t have a Twitter or Instagram feed to scroll through as I sipped. We are so connected to technology that even our most basic rituals are consumed with it: morning coffee, waking up, and the smallest things. I honestly didn’t think I’d finish out, but made a conscious intention to do what I set out to, and finish what I started.

By the end of the day, it was a completely different story. I left my phone in far off corners of the house and forgot about it for hours. I wanted to be farther and farther from the thing I was leaving behind. By the second day, I was reveling in the vacation.

The social sphere has become such a integral part of our lives that most of us don’t remember a time with out it. It helps us run our businesses, connected with our loved ones and stay in the know. It helps to alleviate our fears of missing out. But guess what? You’re probably missing more by staying glued to a screen that you ever would by stepping back and taking a break.

Relaxing is something that I often struggle with. I always feel like I can be doing. Yesterday, I tried to take a thirty minute nap and it quickly turned into 15 minutes of tackling my inbox and 10 minutes of laying really still on my bed with the lights off. That, my friends, is not healthy.

Disconnecting is healthy. Turning off the notifications every once in a while is a way of saying no, and putting your needs first.

When my break was over, I honestly forgot that I was on one until someone sat net to me and checked their own Instagram feed. Oh, I guess I could do that know… But the desire wasn’t there. I could have kept going, and stayed away longer. And I definitely had to brace myself when I turned email back on and was smacked in the face with an unread number too outrageous to repeat.

Guard you time fiercely. Be generous with it, but be intentional about it. – David Duchemin 

I didn’t take this break to prove a point, to myself or anyone else. I wasn’t trying to make a statement about the hyper-connectedness and false senses of “being here” plaguing society. I did it because I felt that my time wasn’t my own –it was divide among different networks, all which had the power to interrupt one another and cause distraction. I wanted to take the reigns, and be in control of how and why my time was being used.

I’m back on now, the notifications are back and the updates are rolling. I’ll definitely be taking social vacations more frequently, but I’m glad to be a part of such a dynamic community. You guys are always worth coming back to.

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  1. This is such a wonderful post. I really think most of us, myself included, realise how much we rely on social media to waste our time away. An internet detox once in a while is definitely a good idea.

    alexandrakaty.blogspot.co.uk

  2. All of this… yes. I have such a hard time stepping away.

  3. I totally agree with all of what you said; I don’t feel it’s necessary to permanently switch off our technology. It’s part of our lives now and we should accept it.. but not let us dictate to us what we do.

    I think it’s worthwhile taking little breaks – even if that only means switching our phones to silent/turning notifications off – it gives us time to LIVE.

    • I totally agree with both of you.

      I feel like people go to the extreme sometimes and make social media the enemy when it’s the TOOL. Just like with any other tool, we choose how we use it, if we need it, and when we don’t. I think it’s all about being aware of what we are doing and how we are feeling and adjusting based on that.

      Loved this post Amber!

  4. UGH I need to do this!

  5. I find it super hard to turn off from social media and technology. as soon as i wake up my phones in my hand and i’m scrolling through twitter. thats bad and I am defo planning a much needed break.

    bonitarochelle.co.uk

  6. Whenever I can I turn my notifications off. Or drop my phone down the toilet wiping out it’s existence completely.
    But you are so right, not only do I enjoy life more without social media, I feel more connected to the people I’m with.

  7. Disconnecting takes effort, like any addiction! We are obsessively staring at & checking our social media, so day one may feel odd (like you mentioned). We need breaks. :] // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  8. Yey! So happy to hear this 🙂 Time off is great! Plus, it sounds like you reconnected with yourself and focused your energy on what’s right for your heart. So proud that you took the punch and decided to take control of what sometimes can be the social media madness!

  9. Lately I’ve really been trying to not be on my phone so much! It’s so hard but it really is worth it! We all need a break and need to live in the real world…. talk to people face to face…. explore more, find beauty outside and not on the screen…. I’m always more inspired when I not so connected!

  10. Lately, I’ve noticed that I immediately check my email or scroll through my Instagram feed whenever I wake up. It’s a habit I’ve been trying to break, and it’s more difficult than I first thought.

    You’re right. We sometimes become so focused on getting that perfect Instagram shot that we forget about the things and conversations happening around us. Love that quote you included.

  11. Yes, I agree! I love everything about technology and how it has changed the world we live in so dramatically, but agree with you the downside is the constant checking and feeling like you need to be connected all the time – it is very draining. I often intentionally give myself mini-breaks offline where I don’t check anything and turn off the reminders on my phone. I’d definitely consider going completely offline – a full detox sounds like it would be a good idea!

  12. I love this! Sometimes it seems as though the subject and act of social disconnect has become a competition and a challenge among the social world that it sort of defeats the whole purpose. We spend way too much time attempting to document our lives for others to see that we forget to actually be an active participant in our own lives. In a sense, we take a back seat and observe behind cameras and computer screens. Before we know it, time has gone by in the blink of an eye and all we have left are distorted memories.

    Jo | http://adoseofjo.blogspot.com

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