Walmart pick-up and finding a new rhythm
If you haven't read the first post in this series, I invite you to start at: What I learned from being social media free.
I wish I was joking when I said that during the first week of being social media free I ordered Walmart pick-up at least 4 times.
To be fair, we had just arrived at a rental house in Florida where we would be spending the next month and a half as a family. I had groceries to buy, small items we had forgotten, and of course craft supplies for the kids. But to be honest, my orders were mostly out of boredom and an attempt to find a new rhythm.
Before deleting my social media apps from my phone, I had gotten into the habit of checking them regularly. My prime scrolling and consuming time happened at night after the kids were in bed, and I had time to sit and relax on the couch. So that first evening after the kids had settled in and fallen asleep, I sat on the couch, picked up my phone, and thought, "Now what am I going to do?"
There was a Walmart 2 minutes from our rental, so it was an easy excuse to order something and pick it up the next day. But after a few days of this, I realized I wanted to spend my time differently. Not only for the benefit of our bank account, but also for my mental health.
I had brought a book along that I'd started months earlier but never finished, "A Lineage of Grace" by Francine Rivers. It's a collection of five separate stories about influential women in the Bible; a work of Christian fiction. I had enjoyed the book, but just hadn't made time to read recently. But now, I had time.
Honestly, it was difficult to start reading again. Social media is so easy, ya know? Pick up your phone, scroll, consume. That's it. Obviously it can be interactive or thought provoking at times, but it can also be mindless. Reading a book is not mindless.
First of all, you actually have to READ. And not like a handful words in a headline or a couple paragraphs in a caption, but rather multiple pages and chapters. It's time consuming and a commitment of mental energy. However, I've found over the years that once I get past that initial hurdle, reading a book is so much more fulfilling.
Some nights I had the mental energy and would read for hours on the couch, so pulled into the story that I didn't want to stop. It was refreshing and energizing, and I would go to bed afterwards feeling fulfilled in my spirit.
But I didn't read every night. Some nights I watched the Iowa Hawkeye men's basketball team. I grew up playing sports, but neither my husband or I are much into watching them now. However, the Hawkeyes have several good players this year, and it became a fun experience for us to share. Our kids even joined us on the days they didn't play late at night, and our daughter now says her favorite player is Luka Garza.
And still other nights, when the Hawkeyes weren't playing and I didn't have the energy to read, I just went to bed. Which was weird. Some of you may be thinking, aaaaand what's the big deal? That's not anything revolutionary. But for those like me, who tend to do things at night, who have a hard time ending the day, and who feel like now is the only time I have to get this done, going to bed can be a challenge! And social media had not been helping.
Before taking a break from social media, it had done one of two things:
1. Distract me from what I really wanted to accomplish at night, causing me to delay and stay up way later than necessary.
2. Distract me from what I really needed: sleep. Nights that I had been too tired to do the dishes or pick up the playroom, too tired to make a blanket or read a book, I would get in bed, pick up my phone for one last look at what was going on, and then spend way longer than I wanted looking at posts or reading articles, catching up on friends' stories or watching videos.
There's nothing inherently wrong with either of these types of distractions, but they are just that: distractions. Distracting me from what I actually needed and wanted. I was often tired during the day, and after spending a long time on my phone, I didn't feel better. I felt more tired, depleted, and sometimes anxious about things I had seen and wanted to do something about, but couldn't because it was time for bed or it was outside my control. It didn't feel healthy for me, and is what eventually led me to take a break from it.
For the first week or two of being social media free, I felt myself instinctually reach for my phone throughout the day, but eventually, I didn't anymore. And I was okay with it. I felt calmer, more connected to my present life, and more rested.
I'll go into more details in upcoming posts, but for now I'm wondering, do you resonate with any of this? Have you taken a break from social media before? If so, what was your experience like? If not, why not?
There's no judgement in these questions, just a genuine curiosity. I think we are all better when we are honest with ourselves, and I hope this can be a space where we can begin to be honest with others, too.
Until next time, stay cozy, creative, and kind.