Hear my out on this one.
The word ‘cleanse’ normally elicits a reflexive reaction on my part, being a medical doctor and having encountered some fascinating ways in which people clean themselves out (I’ll spare inserting an exhibit A and B at this point because I think we’ve all come across some ridiculous cleanses). But this time, I needed one.
It was getting excessive. My use of social media had taken over my free time and had felt almost like an addiction.
Think about the number of times you click on that FB app. Or the Instagram button. Or any of the other links meant to connect us with one another in this day and age.
Now think of the time you spent scrolling through that app’s feed- reading your friends’ updates or looking at photos of those in your community, or even those you follow on the other side of the world. It’s an amazing hobby, really, surfing through those social media applications. But it also comes at a price.
I needed a little nudge from my son the other day to realize just how bad it had gotten, when he pulled my imaginary blinders off and commented on how I’m ‘always on the phone’. It’s true that work requires me to do so, as does all the work I do writing, and the sharing of both medical and personal information that make up my blog and social media presence, but it all comes at a price.
I’m just not willing to pay that price.
So I took a step back and re-evaluated. Soon enough, I realized what I think I’ve known all along- I needed a social media cleanse.
So I did it. I made a conscientious decision to limit my use of the phone. I decided that a week off was a good time to spend away, from everyone’s updates, whereabouts, and specifics. No more scrolling of the thumbs- gave those suckers a rest.
And guess what?
It was fantastic.
When I put away that phone, I picked up my son more. Spent more time looking into his eyes. Played games, had a conversation, or two, or twenty. I finished some things that had been in the back burner- one of those I’ll-finish-this-later’s. Got to spend one on one- truly one on one- with my husband. Listened to some music on the way home instead of the yapping of a podcast, as I typically do. Took in the landscape on that drive home, too. Got to exercise by walking with my family, by playing tennis and by boxing and jumping and wrestling. But best of all was the laughing. We laughed long and we laughed hard. It was the well-needed and so-oft-forgotten laughter of yesteryear. And it was back.
I got it all back thanks to the cleanse and it was worth every single second.
I can’t tell you that social media is now a thing of my past. It’s not. I love how it allows me to connect with not only friends and family from close and far, but also with new connections, like other doctors and professionals in the health field. I may still be active in it, but I’m certainly less so now, because I’ve re-discovered the happiness I had before this form of technology came out and I’m most comfortable somewhere in the middle.