I made the decision this year that as soon as our holiday started, I was going to take a Social Media break. In fact a break from all things online -Social Media, the iPhone and everything that requires or more to the point – encourages a ‘check-in’. The best way to do this was to let the battery on the mobile run flat. It can be very effective!
Not quite what you expect to hear from a Blogger is it. Nevertheless, it was going to happen – come what may – and what better time than August!
I have to confess that for the first few days of the holiday, I did a little dipping in but then I stopped. Completely. Nothing terrible happened – quite the opposite, in fact. Here are some of the things that I realised during my enforced break and ‘check-out’.
A Holiday becomes a Holiday
The whole point of having a holiday is getting away. And what I realised is that for as long as you are constantly checking in with Social Media online and with home – you never actually arrive on the holiday. So after doing the ‘arrived safely’ messages, that was it.
Remember those days of queuing up for the telephone after 6pm or 10pm armed with the code for the UK and a handful of Pesetas or Drachma? As long as you were able to get through to one set of parents, word was shared back home that all were safe and well.
And how you couldn’t wait to get on the phone to everyone once you arrived home to declare your safe arrival and regale them of your holiday tales. Then, you’d be ages finding out all of the news and gossip from home. Newspapers will have been been a few days behind at best and generally so much happened at home while you were away.
With the instant gratification of Social Media and mobiles, nothing needs to wait until you return home. News and the joy of ‘catching up’ has become a thing of the past. It’s a shame. I opted for a holiday ‘holiday’ this year. I’m so glad I did. It has been a real eye opener. I even kept it going for the rest of August.
It’s a Distraction
Social Media and being online generally is a huge distraction. Whatever you are doing will go rapidly off course the minute you check in online. Business or personal. This one was really illuminating for me. I suppose when you magnify this, it’s a good explanation of how it can be such a time thief. It can suck you right out of the moment that you are in.
It is very easy to be consumed by something that is online that is not actually relevant to anything you are doing or thinking at that moment in time. It’s not what is going on in the here and now. For as long as the phone is in your hand, you are never truly present or engaged in what is happening before you. Productivity plummets. If I don’t need to be there, there is no need for me to show up.
It Frees Up Time
Not checking in to the phone, being online or looking at Social Media suddenly frees up a whole load of time.
Quality time to actually get things done. Loads of time. Lots done. I particularly noticed this when returning home. I had a huge amount of time to dedicate to what was in the here and now. This happened to be preparing for my daughters visit to a festival and getting her secondary school ready. We had the best of times and days together. I worked while she was gone (offline) and we had some grown up time too. We managed to fit quite a lot in but not in a ‘busy’ kind of way.
Looking Up and Out
So under rated and so very necessary. There is a lot to be said for the ease of indulging in a little people watching and just doing nothing. You can also fly though books at a fast rate. You start to notice and take interest in other things. You have the best of conversations and giggles – uninterrupted. And with a view like this, who needs the phone.
It Heightens Guilt
Yep! You will always be reminded of something that you should have done. That ‘oh shit’ I forgot about that or wow, I really should have done that before I left. I didn’t, it’s too late now and I don’t need to be reminded. I’m not going to spend two weeks thinking about what I could have done.
I replaced FOMO (fear of missing out) with glad to be missing out (GTBMO). It doesn’t quite have the same ring but its double the pleasure. Being totally absorbed in the now, particularly when on holiday, is deliciously liberating. Checking back in with me and mine in these surroundings is plenty. There is nothing quite like it. Creating space for a good old holiday dust-up is what dreams are made of – yep really. No point keeping it all in is there. Holidays and being together are all about being real – warts and all. There is no hiding behind screens in this ‘vacay’.
It Can Change Your Mood
Absolutely 100%. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve felt it. It really is a mood hoover. As well as making your head feel every so slightly fuzzy, it can transport you back to ‘busy mind, busy life’ mode. If we are honest with ourselves, we sometimes reach for our devices at times when we feel we are lacking in some way. Not quite enough. If you do ever feel like this, reaching for the online world will generally make you feel worse. This one has been a no-brainer. Not taking any chances on this holiday.
There is just one problem with having these breaks and that is that they become deliciously moreish. It has certainly made me start changing up the way I will be doing things from now on. If there is no need to be online or attached to a phone, I shall be doing my best not to be. As much of my work is online, this is incredibly important.
This was such a reality check and I’m far too scared of missing out on what is going on in front of me.