I didn’t write last week because I took a week-long social media break to enjoy my holiday in Belgium. As soon as I boarded the ferry I stuck my phone on aeroplane mode and used it solely as a camera for six gloriously days. No texts, no likes, no DMs, no calls (I only get spam calls anyway, and who wants those interrupting their crepes?).
Here’s my reasoning: Friends and family scrolling their notifications while we’re out together has always annoyed me. (I have confidence issues as is. Don’t make it too clear you’d rather be somewhere else.) As a result of this peeve, I’ve long since taken to leaving my phone at home for dog walks, dinners out, or other social gatherings where the people I’d need to call in case of emergency are already in situ. And if I do take my phone to a gathering, or to work, I prefer to leave it in my bag. If I don’t you’re probably one of those people who was scrolling as I was trying to talk to you in person. Just saying.
I decided to go completely phone free on holiday, though, because my social media usage was getting a little bananas. After doing #WriteMentor, and querying agents, and hunting for jobs, I was spending hours a day scrolling through my news feeds. There wasn’t a lot to look forward to in real life (just a heck of a lot of waiting) so that social media fix became my refuge. And not a healthy one for the ol’ mental health.
Now, I’ll be the first to sing the praises of the internet, obviously. Here I am after all. But disconnecting from it all was a huge breath of fresh air. It allowed me to be more present, to stop worrying so much about how my life compared with other people’s, and to just chill out a bit more.
So give it a shot. Switch off for a few hours, or days, or weeks. Don’t charge your phone in your bedroom, don’t take your phone out your bag in a group setting, and stop thinking about the perfect Instagram shot. Live life in real time without filters.
(Speaking of doing things unfiltered…here’s a picture of me on top of Ypres clock tower. Always face away from the wind when you have waist length hair, folks.)