One of the best and worst elements of our generation is that we are always connected. It means we can move wherever in the world and still feel close to the people we love. We can check in on people that need us. There is always someone to talk to. But recent discussions about how we socialise have prompted me to really think about what it means to connect and what it means to disconnect.
How connected am I to social media?
This is a question that I think more of us need to ask ourselves. I used to be fairly disconnected. I’m the one that doesn’t always have their phone in their hand because they can do without it. Now, however, I feel more addicted to my phone than ever. I use it to keep in touch with friends and family I no longer live by, to distract myself when I need it and to work with. My entire job is based on staying connected. Recently, I fear that I spend all day at screens: my computer, my iPad and my TV. I need to reasses and disconnect.
My notification obligation anxiety
There are lots of elements of social media that I find quite taxing on me. When my phone is full of notifications, I feel really anxious to get through them all. This applies to so much of my experience online! I hate having an inbox full of emails so I stress about getting to inbox zero. If I’m online in an evening, I’ll get work notifications and it will interrupt my whole evening because even if I don’t act on it, I’m thinking about it. Different platforms also require different levels of attention. Instagram expects a post a day to stay on people’s feeds. Twitter changes within minutes. It can sometimes feel so overwhelming to be bombarded with so much information, all at once, all the time.
A trial of disconnecting
For the last few weeks, I have really tried to limit my use of screens and find a better balance and I can honestly say that I feel so much better! In that time, I have taken time of work to avoid screens, and taken a trip away to experience new things. I have taken more breaks to go offline and invest my time in more physical things, like reading and creating. Instead of calling, I have been home to spend a long weekend with my family. I’m also trying to get out of the habit of sitting with Adam and us both being on our phones!
Staying connected is great in so many ways but, for me, I’m learning that it needs to stay in its lane! For work, for staying in touch and for entertainment, sure. But it’s definitely time to be more present!