My psychiatrist Dr. D., the best psychiatrist I’ve ever seen, has shared with me about healthy habits he incorporates into his life. Some examples include: he meditates daily, he’s deeply committed to a faith, and he “unplugs” on Sundays. He genuinely seems like a happy, mellow guy. Dr. D. is onto something good, that’s for sure, and God knows I’d like to be more easygoing and grounded like him.
When Dr. D. told me about his unplugging habit, I almost gasped. That was when I was still in love with Facebook. I recently returned to using Facebook after a long hiatus, and I was having a blast with it. When I opened a Twitter account it added fuel to my plugged-in fire. Don’t even get me started about emails – I’ve always been a bit overzealous with them long before Facebook got off the ground in 2004.
To top things off, I discovered that if I could find a good network signal, my Kindle Fire could connect to the internet when I was out and about. In using all these devices I wasn’t manic by any means, for I wasn’t up at all hours online or doing anything foolish. I was simply online too much and I used Facebook and Twitter to procrastinate on exciting tasks I should have been doing, like researching my Medicare drug plan and starting traffic school. 🙂
Then I started my blog “Birth of a New Brain”. Filling my hours with blogging and reading others’ blogs made the time while my girls were at school made the hours fly by.
But as I got more and more active with Facebook, and Twitter, I developed the “I might miss something really important if I’m not online every few minutes” syndrome. A couple Facebook friends I admired seemed to have the same affliction as me. They both mentioned to me that they were going to leave Facebook for while. I realized that I was felt tempted to take an Facebook vacation of my own.
Early this morning, I realized that my joyful use of Facebook and Twitter and my love for blogging are becoming besmirched. (Besmirched is such a great word:”to soil, to detract from the honor or luster of”.) In any case, I’ve become too obsessive in using Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Both of my daughters tease me about being on the computer too much; they are absolutely right, and their observation makes me feel lower than a anaconda’s belly.
This morning I also panicked because the coming day had a complete lack of structured plans, and that unnerved me. My Facebook/blog routine is firmly set in place each morning. I wake up earlier than the rest of my family, take my meds, eat pomegranate Greek yogurt, and make my blessed coffee. I prepare the girls’ lunches and pack snacks. Then I sit in in front of my Sunbox for half an hour to Facebook/Tweet/email to my heart’s content. The thought of giving this routine up for even one day a week freaks me out. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll appreciate my social media all the more if I take a 24-hour-long hiatus each week. I need to reassure myself that if something really important happens online, I’ll find out about it eventually and the sky won’t come falling down.
In what could have only been divine timing and a good omen, this afternoon I came across a blog post by the writer Cristi Comes of the acclaimed blog “Motherhood Unadorned”. Her article is titled “When Blogging and Social Media Overwhelms”, and it was exactly type of subject I wanted to read about. I’m superstitious and a believer in signs and in my opinion, this was a bold sign from the universe that I needed to read her post immediately.
Cristi’s post was a fascinating, personal read. Her social media experience was relevant to so many, and her post gave me hope for dealing with my online addictions in a healthier way. I couldn’t figure out how to “reblog” her post, so I’m pasting the link for you below. (Cristi’s blog is worth checking out for many other reasons as well; she’s also an editor at Postpartum Progress and an amazing mental health advocate!)
I’ll definitely report back about my quest to unplug on Sundays (or maybe another day of the week!) and I promise I won’t lie if there are slip-ups. There’s a reason I call my Kindle my third child…it’s going to be tough to cut off my virtual stimulation, but I have a strong feeling unplugging will be worth it so I can focus on something else besides a screen.