The End Of My Social Media Ban

Honestly, I didn’t know if I would succeed or not.

There were little moments when I did miss having those apps to turn to on my phone such as when we were out and Jonny would go to the loo, leaving me to twiddle my thumbs and people watch without my phone to hide in.

My morning’s have changed, I no longer waste the first hour of my day living through the updates of others. The social media ban has forced me to focus on my own life rather than comparing it to that of others.

Mental health wise I’ve noticed a definite improvement to my anxiety.  I’m finding it easier to have a positive outlook on things without thinking that I need to constantly share what I’ve been up to.

I do think there are good qualities to social media, however. I’ve met some lovely people through social media, and the sewing community and the support/cheerleading therein are truly lovely by-products of it.

Instead I’ve found myself with a lot more spare time which has been amazing. There’s been more listening to music, more being creative – knitting, sewing, blogging, journalling and reading. Things that feed my soul rather than draining it. I’ve also managed to finally declutter our home and create a calm home environment.

Now I’m not going to cut social media out of my life completely. I am, however, going to manage it so that it can’t take over again. I’ll be using the iPhone screen time app to set time limits of 20 minutes per day for social media. I even got Jonny to create a pass code so that I can’t continue scrolling even if I wanted to. (I know that my terrible willpower would mean I’d just get sucked back into the scrolling without this!)

Once I’d downloaded the apps again I had a mass un-following/muting session so that I only get accounts that bring positivity into my life.

Do I feel happier? Honestly, I think I do. It’s empowering knowing that now I’m choosing when I want to access social media, rather than letting it become an all-consuming autopilot and that’s a really happy thought.

How do you manage how much time you spend on your phone? I’d love to pick up any helpful tips you’ve got!

January 2019: 5 Good Things

As the month has drawn to a close I’ve found myself making comparisons to this time last year. I’d just quit teaching, was unemployed and my mental health was, quite frankly, in the bin. Fast forward to January 2019 and I’m honestly happier than I’ve felt in a long time, due partly to the lovely things that have happened this month.

1: Trip to London

We spent the first weekend of the month down in London to see the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and oh my word, it was AMAZING! The way they brought the magic to stage was incredible and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was almost in tears at one point. I love the Harry Potter books so I was very pleased that the play did not disappoint!

Whilst in London we also spent a day wandering around the V&A Museum which was as brilliant as ever and I had my first ever visit to the Tower of London. Being an enormous history geek this was a real treat for me.

2: Meeting up with old friends (and new!)

Whilst in London we met up with some old friends and their little boy – meeting him for the first time was lovely and it was so nice to catch up over brunch.

The following weekend saw us down in Chester catching up with some other friends and their new baby girl. Needless to say, all the warm fuzzies were there post both meet ups.

3: Social media ban

I could hardly write this post without mentioning this. I’ll blog in more detail about the impact removing social media for a month has had but it’s been fab. I feel so much happier without it having such a grasp over me.

4: Quality husband/wife time

Jonny spent 5 out of the last 9 weeks of 2018 away travelling for work so it’s been fantastic having him at home this month. We’ve had a couple of cinema trips, chilled out at home and generally just spent time enjoying each others company and it’s been perfect.

5: Getting back into reading

I’ve always loved reading but found that I’d got into a rut of not reading anywhere near as much as I would have liked. I managed 51 books in 2018, so I was still reading but I want to improve on that this year. So far I’ve managed to get onto my 9th book of 2019 over the last month.

I know a lot of people don’t enjoy January but this one really has been such a good one. It’s been nice to get back into a happy place (carrying out a HUGE declutter has definitely helped this!) How about you? What has January had in store for you?

How I Created a Calmer Home

Since I started my social media free month I’ve found myself with a lot more spare time, which has been lovely!

I’ve used a large chunk of this time to finally get a handle on the state of our house. It was by no means a mess beforehand; I think I’d perfected the art of having a home that appeared tidy but had clutter hiding EVERYWHERE. In our living room footstool, in every drawer and cupboard, under our spare bed, throughout the house in various Ikea storage boxes.

We moved into our house in August 2016 and we moved with a lot of stuff we probably didn’t need. I moved in alone, with the help of parents, siblings and friends whilst Jonny was leading a field trip in the Himalayas and was totally overwhelmed by the process so ended up just stashing a lot of stuff. Finding homes for things rather than properly sorting through the stuff we really needed or not.

Fast forward to this month and I discovered the Marie Kondo show on Netflix. I’d tried a while ago to KonMari our previous home but stalled pretty much straight after I’d sorted through my clothes. This time round, however, I was more determined.

It’s been almost a month in the making but I’ve finally sorted through everything in our home. I found the KonMari method of taking everything in one category out and sorting through the things that spark joy really helpful. I didn’t go as far as thanking items for their role in my life, and some things that don’t spark joy but are a necessity needed to stay such as cleaning products.

Now I’m (almost) finished, everything has a home. We’re 20 bags and boxes lighter. Our local charity shops have done very well out of my decluttering and we’ve made just over £40 from old textbooks and books that were never going to be re-read. Weird as it sounds, I feel much calmer at home now. There isn’t that nagging thought that I need to just sort out the kitchen cupboards or that I really should declutter the stuff from our storage boxes.

The only category left to go is the sentimental stuff. Photographs, old diaries, wedding paraphernalia, trinkets/souvenirs from various trips, a plethora of old birthday/Christmas/anniversary cards etc. I’m a little stumped as to how I go about dealing with this lot. How do you organise your sentimental bits and pieces? I could really do with some ideas on how to tackle this last area of our belongings!

A Social Media Detox

Towards the end of November/into December I had a bit of a rough ride with my mental health. This culminated with me pretty much completely drained after 2 weeks of almost constant socialising and general people-ing. I’m an absolute homebody and very much need my quiet downtime to recharge!

I did the usual end of year reflection and tried to pinpoint if there were any specific triggers that were making me feel worse. I kept coming back to social media. I’ve mentioned on here before my love/hate relationship with it but by December it was definitely straying into the unhealthy territory.

After a lot of deliberation, and a serious wake-up call from my phone’s screen time update, I decided that I needed a complete social media detox. At one point I was using my phone for up to 5 hours on my days off, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Turns out that old saying is true: comparison really is the thief of joy. The more time I spent looking at the highlights reel of other people’s lives, the worse that I felt. Yet I didn’t seem to be able to stop myself. It’s something I’ve blogged about before more than once!

The coming New Year gave me the final kick up the arse that I needed to do something about it. I didn’t want to enter another year feeling awful so on December 31st I deleted all social media apps from my phone and iPad.

Day 1 wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had been expecting. (The hangover probably helped me not wanting to look at a screen!) I spent the day curled on the sofa reading and watching trashy TV and didn’t miss stalking the lives of others at all. There was one moment during an ad break when I picked up my phone without thinking and opened up the folder where the Instagram app had once lived before I truly realised what I was doing. Slightly worrying that it had become so much of an autopilot for me.

Day 2 was a real eye opener. Without social media apps to procrastinate on in bed, before I dragged myself out, I turned to YouTube. Now I very rarely watch vlogs at all and I’d certainly never watched any of the big YouTubers’ stuff. They’ve never held any appeal for me. That is, until that morning. I woke up, Jonny had left for work and I had an hour and a half to kill before I needed to be leaving. I spent an hour watching vlogs. AN HOUR. I even fell down a Zoella rabbit hole. I had never watched a Zoella blog in my life prior to then. I casually checked my screen time app and was honestly disgusted that I’d wasted that much time. And it was wasted. I gained nothing from it other than a feeling of disappointment that I’d not managed to instantly have a more productive morning routine. I deleted the YouTube app in order to avoid this happening the following morning.

Days 3 and 4 were easier; I had high hopes that I’d be more productive with the removal of the apps that my scrolling had transferred to and it did work. I was starting to spend less time on my phone but I still missed stalking the lives of others.

The weekend was far easier – we were away in London so had plenty of lovely distractions (including the incredible Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play!) A friend we met with did mention that she’d tried to find our how long we were in London for so had looked on my Instagram, only to find no posts which made me think I maybe need to live my life more rather than just posting about it on social media!

Now I’m a week in and I’m honestly not missing it as much as I thought I would, it’s by no means easy but I do feel like I’m having a more productive January than I would have done otherwise. I’ve read 3 books already and had a massive wardrobe clear out!

Have you ever tried a social media ban/detox? If so, how did you find it helped or what do you do to minimise your screen time? I’d love any ideas to help if/when I do feel ready to reinstall the apps.