Mom and baby relaxing at pool blog image

This is the face of someone who hasn’t been on Facebook or Instagram for over a week… ahhh! 🙂

Last week I declared that I was going to take a one week break from social media and watching the news. I had become a total news and social media junkie, and it was beginning to affect me in negative ways. My anxiety was rising steadily about the state of our world; finding myself fretting all. the. things. throughout the day. My screen time was embarrassing and I felt like I wasn’t as present with my family. With one week of summer left before my kids went to school, I knew this was the time to take a social media break and enjoy the real time moments. I also wanted to see if my anxiety would decrease by not watching the news.

So here we are, one week later… and I wanted to share the 4 benefits of giving up social media and TV news for 1 week

1. Feeling less Anxious

If you watch the news regularly and also consume it via social media, you may be feeling pretty anxious these days. We’ve been on the most wild roller coaster ride in the last 5 months that won’t quit!

Since the Coronavirus emerged, we’ve been inundated with ever changing pandemic guidelines; quarantines, a struggling economy, school closures, and the politicization of drugs and vaccines — do they work, do they not work? Then add growing racial tensions brought on by the death of George Floyd; protests, riots, increasing crime in big cities; a contentious presidential election, left vs. right, pro this and anti that — GAH, MY HEAD IS SPINNING!!!

With around the clock news consumption, one may think…

A.) America is falling apart;

B.) We are on the verge of another Civil War; or…

C.) We need to shelter in place from this virus until there’s a cure.

It’s enough to make even the most level headed, calm person go a little mad. That was me, the calm person going a little mad.

Within two days of giving up social media and TV news, I felt my anxiety diminish. As I focused on living my day to day life and interacted with people in my community I realized a reassuring truth: we don’t all hate each other! That may sound silly to say; but the media has a way of sensationalizing and pitting people and groups against each other. If you’re too immersed in it, you can believe the narrative. For the most part, people are kind and good; polite and respectful. The divisive fringe voices that are being elevated in the media do not represent the majority of American people.

2. Increased Productivity

I have realized what a G I A N T W A S T E O F T I M E social media is! Literally, it’s stupid. lol! Without all the mindless scrolling, I was able to do so much more with my time! In the last week I have been so much more on top of my personal/family affairs. A task master, if you will! I’ve scheduled doctor appointments that have been on my to-do list forever; completed projects around the house that have been needing updating; organized my email inbox and unsubscribed to annoying junk mail. I receive 100+ emails a day from stores/companies that clog up my inbox and bury important emails. Unsubscribing is such a tedious task, but it’s a load off when you can reduce your daily emails to just the ones you care about.

Essentially, I’m much more organized with my daily schedule and weekly planning.

3. Enjoyed being “in the moment”

Without social notifications pinging me throughout the day, I picked up my phone so much less. When we went out to eat as a family I didn’t have a reason to take my phone out of my purse. We’d sit and talk to each other over a meal, vs. half listening while I scroll. I wasn’t focused on taking videos and pictures of the kids during the day so I could post it… I was just enjoying the moments. No “outfit of the day” selfies for my Facebook style group, or Instagram style page. If my son asked me to swing on the swing set with him I’d say sure and go do it. Often times I’d tell him “in a little bit” and make him wait, or just hope he’d forget his request! I know I’m not the only mom guilty of this!

It was also nice to sit on the couch with my husband and watch Netflix! I haven’t watched TV shows for entertainment in a while, it was only news when the TV was on. I watched two Netflix series last week and made headway on my new book! My screen time was down 54% from the previous week, whahoo!

4. Got More Sleep

I have a terrible habit of staying up late once the kids go to bed. I crave that kid-free ME TIME. Much of that time is spent sitting on the couch catching up on Instagram stories from my favorite influencers; posting pictures and videos from my day, and conversing with friends online. And when I finally go to bed, I lie there and scroll my phone for another hour before I fall asleep! It’s so dumb.

As last week progressed, I noticed I went to bed earlier and earlier each night. Without Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok videos to scroll through, I didn’t have much to keep me up. By Friday night I was in bed by 9:30 pm! I already see my fine lines fading with more sleep, haha!

Giving up social media and TV news for one week has been an extremely eye opening experience. I realize how stuff that doesn’t matter was taking away from the stuff that does. I’m not saying people shouldn’t follow the news and current events. We absolutely should be informed about what is going on in our world. But we should take it in at healthy doses so it doesn’t affect our mental health. I’m going to try and bring back social media in smaller doses. To keep it in check, I may relegate it to laptop check-ins at home and not have social media on my phone.

I hope this blog post encourages some of you who may be feeling similar to live social media free for one week. Or cut out watching news for one week and see if your anxiety decreases. I promise you’ll be glad you did!

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