Turning down the volume

Over the Christmas holidays I took a break from social media for a couple of weeks, like I have done for the past few years so nothing unusual in that respect. However, while logged-out of my apps this time I realised just how peaceful I felt within and so after dipping back in during the month of January, decided it was time to take a longer break from my social media accounts to see what affect it had on my life. To be completely honest about it with you, with Wild Women Events on hold due to covid restrictions, I was feeling a little bit unsure as to the direction I wanted to follow in terms of what I shared online, or if I even wanted to share at all anymore, and felt the urge for a proper ‘time-out’ to really take stock of where I was at both in my own head and in my plans for my business. I’ve never really been one for planning social media content, tending to simply share my love for the outdoors and nature whenever I felt like it. But, I had reached a point where I just wanted to spend time in nature or go for a walk without taking photos to share online! I also had other projects I wanted to work on but continually found myself being distracted by the lure of social channels and unable to focus for any real length of time – I mean that’s hardly a shock, that’s what they’re designed to do! That’s why they’re so addictive! What I was finding though was that by constantly showing up on social media I wasn’t truly showing up for myself in a way that felt honest or that I wanted, neither was I following my own curiosities and spending time on the things I really wanted to give my time to. I kept pushing things to the back-burner thinking I would get to them eventually, but, the words of Mary Oliver kept playing on a loop in my mind ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’. I trust this inner voice of mine a great deal and so took heed once and for all and signed-out to figure out where I stood with the whole thing and also to really live out what I share so much about online…looking after our wellbeing in all its many facets.

It has been close to a month now and while I haven’t reached any grand conclusions, unsurprisingly I have noticed that I have way more time to spend on the things that really matter to me at the moment – gardening, reading, having lingering chats about all sorts of nonsense with my husband and children, long soaks in the bath, staring out of the window at all the birds visiting my bird-feeders, making plans for my business, journaling, pottering about doing little creative projects as I fancy as well as gaps of just being a human being, day-dreaming, stretching, pondering and playing. I think I had been kidding myself a little bit if we are being open and frank here – I was clearly scrolling way more than I realised because all of a sudden I had more time! Now, of course my work is on hold right now so that naturally has freed up some time, but I also have 3 children at home remote-learning so the days are still full and busy and still there are pockets of time to cook, grow, play, explore, and all at a much more leisurely pace – it suits me well I have to say!

I’ve been really enjoying photographing fungus over the past few months – they’re like art installations in the woods!

The increased time and ability to focus didn’t really surprise me all that much, I suppose I kind of expected that would be one of the outcomes because it had been one of the intentions of taking a social media sabbatical. I found the thing that surprised me most of all, although I’m not sure why it shocked me, was how within only a couple of days my mind felt very, very different. The best way I can describe it is like someone slowly turning down the volume on the radio…it was that profound, with each waking day my head felt noticeably quieter and clearer. In just a few days the constant noise had gone and suddenly I could hear my own thoughts with a clarity that I didn’t know I had sort of lost in the flurry of online interactions and barrage of messages seeping into my brain every single day, often without me even realising just how much my mind was absorbing. I had strict rules about phones/ social media before I tried this little experiment, with everything switched off by 9pm each night until 9am (or later) the following day, no phones upstairs in the house, never used as an alarm clock and so on, and yet, still I was drowning in the noise it seemed!

As I near the end of February I am not sure whether or not I want to sign back into my accounts at this stage. I am enjoying the clear head and free time too much! However, I also know that I have a wonderful online community surrounding my blog and business and stepping away from that is never going to come naturally to me for a variety of reasons (namely, letting people down – which is crazy I know!), and, I know too that social media is a great supportive tool for growing a small business, but for me, it’s worth remembering that is exactly what it is, a tool, and while there is certainly a lot of authenticity to be found online, it still for me feels a little hollow compared with real-life interactions. I am also aware that 2020 and 2021 so far have been tough years to engage in real-life interactions and social media has helped maintain friendships and connections in so many great ways, but it’s still not the same is it? Am I breaking up with social media? At this stage I am not 100% sure about that at all…however, I am enjoying life without it at the moment, a lot, but I also know that things may change again in the not too distant future when schools go back and I can get my events up and running again, who knows. My circle may have shrunken somewhat in some respects, but I feel a deeper connection with myself and the people in my life and I am not certain I want to trade that in just now, that’s too precious for me – I would certainly need to figure out some new boundaries with it all. I have no idea how this will affect my business in the future, maybe I will just have to get creative and find other ways, but, all I do know for now is that I am glad I followed my instinct on this one and logged-out for a breather and am happy to explore the world beyond my social apps for a little while longer. As I write this, I can hear birds twittering outside my window, I feel calm, clear and purposeful in a way that I haven’t done for a while so for now that feels like enough.

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