9 Days of Going Without…and Going Within.

If you follow me here, you may know that Roger and I spent the holidays in sunny Mexico with my family. It was a wonderful adventure and we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

But you wouldn’t know it from my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds.

You see, I posted exactly zero times in the 9 days we were away.

ZERO.

As you may recall, it took me a verrrrry long time to get on social media. I was afraid of it forever and yet I have found myself enjoying the camaraderie and the sharing that comes along with using the various platforms I’m a part of. It’s fun to be connected to so many amazing people from all over the world and it’s exciting to see what they are doing and to be able to support them in their initiatives.

But for 9 days, I went without, ignoring my knee-jerk reaction to post whenever something interesting happened.

Because so much of what I was seeing was brand new to me, I could have easily gotten sucked into my phone on the beach, in the restaurants, snorkeling at Xel-Ha, hiking the ruins at Tulum, exploring the cenotes, swimming in the giant ocean waves and wandering around our beautiful resort experiencing strange new wildlife. Everything was so spectacular and beautiful and exciting and new that I could have easily spent my time taking pictures and posting about each new experience.

Instead, I went within. I fully enjoyed and experienced the moments.

And it was heaven.

Being truly present, without the need to snap a photo–and then spend 5 minutes crafting some words to go along with it–felt liberating beyond my imagination and although I felt a little “naked” without my phone for the first day or so, I relaxed into the notion of being completely untethered; and it felt like freedom.

Talking with my niece at the spa waiting to get our hair braided felt more intimate knowing that I didn’t have my phone to distract me from her stories. Dancing with my nephew felt more authentic knowing that the moment wasn’t captured on film. Playing “monkey in the middle” in the pool or experiencing Christmas morning without snow felt more special knowing these memories we shared weren’t documented, but rather they were simply experienced.

Because I took a break. 

Being on vacation is supposed to feel like getting away from it all. It’s supposed to be different from our every day, otherwise why would we bother doing it in the first place? And if we spend a lot of our time on vacation doing the same thing we would do at home, are we really “getting away from it all?”

My experience in Mexico has reminded me that every day, I can take a break from social media. Every day, I have an opportunity to restore and renew myself, and our vacation has helped me create boundaries around my use of social media. I now give myself time limits to spend on the various platforms I’m a part of, and when I go out with friends, I resist the urge to pull out my phone. It feels disrespectful to me now and yet I have been guilty of doing it countless times–getting together at a coffee shop or restaurant and placing my phone on the table. It’s a subtle cue that I don’t value our time together enough to make it only about us.

In my opinion, this behaviour is rude and egocentric and I vow to never, ever do it again.

Since returning from Mexico, I have come to realize that my sense of obligation to my “followers” was self-made and egotistical. To be honest, while we all enjoy seeing people’s posts (why else are we on social media if not to be social?!), the truth is that no one misses me when I am gone for a few days.

Seriously.

It’s fiiiiiine.

And in our regular lives, people don’t miss us when we are gone for several hours each day, either. They are too busy living their own lives, and our FOMO needs to relaxxxxx. We are NOT missing out on life just because we aren’t scrolling endlessly.

In fact the exact opposite is true.

Social media is NOT where life happens.

Life happens in moments–moments we are at risk of missing if our heads are perpetually buried in our phones.

Thinking back on memories, it can be hard to believe that was once the present. Social media can be an amazing tool for helping us re-visit moments in time that we may otherwise forget or that we want to document. But some of my greatest memories from childhood or some of the most profound moments in my life are ones that are completely undocumented.

And perhaps that makes them even more special.

I realized I’d become addicted to my phone and social media in a similar way I’d become addicted to alcohol. When our phones vibrate or ding, the reward centre in our brains lights up and we get that hit of dopamine that has us coming back for more, more, more.

But the longer I went without my phone, the less I felt I needed–or even wanted–to be connected to people who weren’t enjoying my experience with me. It actually started to seem ludicrous to me that instead of having fun with my family, I’d rather be stuck on the sidelines, posting something for a few minutes and missing out on the real fun that was going on.

It was a big shift in perspective and I am grateful for the experience of it.

So, I encourage you to take a social media break if you’ve never done it. If you’re planning a holiday, consider leaving your phone in the hotel safe while you go out or else choose specific times you’ll use it. Resist the urge to pull it out every time something seems post-worthy and try to enjoy the experience of your holiday without the urge to take photos at every turn.

Back at home, you can still experience the freedom and exhilaration that comes with being phone-less by simply leaving it alone for a few hours!

  • Prioritize Self-Care or Family Time: Set a time–say 8 p.m.–after which you won’t look at your phone. Turn it off and plug it in and forget about it until morning. Instead, read that book you’ve been wanting to sink your teeth into, go for a walk after dinner with your spouse or play a board game with your kids.
  • Create More Time: Often, we can get sucked into social media and then we wonder why we never have time for the things we want to do! In the morning, instead of starting your day on social media, develop a healthy morning routine that feels good to you. I like drinking warm lemon water, eating breakfast and moving my body. When I have time, I also like to prepare my dinner meal in the morning (this may seem strange, but while sipping on my smoothie, I find it easy to season meat, chop some veggies or throw a crock pot meal together). Perhaps you’d enjoy meditating, doing some simple stretches, reading something uplifting or taking your time to get ready for your day.
  • Ease In: If you’ve never done it before, ditching your phone while going into the world may have you feeling completely naked and can even cause anxiety. But it’s a habit we can build upon, and research shows that social media and phone usage can actually contribute to our anxiety. Try taking a drive to your favourite coffee shop, sit and have a latté and people-watch for 30 minutes. Discover how it feels to escape your phone and be in the energy of the world. Or, challenge yourself to leave it in your pocket–on silent–and explore how it makes you feel to go without.
  • Time-Management: Choose a day–I like Sundays–to completely disconnect for the day (or as much of it as possible).
  • Get Out Without! Go skiing for the day and leave your phone in the chalet. Hit the mall solo and enjoy the sights and sounds of the experience without having to post about that great new sweater you bought on sale. Enjoy lunch with a friend and leave your phone in your bag. It might even signal to them that you’d prefer a distraction-free visit.

Lessening our reliance on phones and social media might be just what the doctor ordered if you’ve been feeling sad or depressed by other people’s feeds (remember, it’s unhealthy and unproductive to compare our “behind-the-scenes” with other people’s “highlight reels”) or the news (things can look pretty bleak at times) or by a fear of missing out.

Because the only thing you’re really missing out on is your life.

And I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

 

P.S. I launched my 14 Days of Wellness by email, so if you'd like to receive the daily intentions, sign up over on the right. Simply enter your name and email address to begin receiving the messages today. Let's make 2018 YOUR year to care fiercely for your body! It's free, with no diets, products, challenges or catches...just a chance to remember how amazing your body is--for 14 days.

P.P.S. Speaking of health, on April 21 & 22, 2018, Roger and I, along with our team, are hosting The Healthy Brain and Body Show for a second year. We are so excited to bring this show back even bigger and better! We would love to see you there as an attendee, where we have so much we want to share with you. We can't wait to explore, connect, learn and shop at the show WITH you! Please say hello if you come. Roger and I will both be there the entire weekend. It would be a thrill to meet you. 🙂

And if you--or someone you know--might be interested in being an Exhibitor with us, feel free to send them here where they can view/download the Exhibitor/Sponsor Package. Note that we have SOLD OUT of Sponsorship spots and we are over 75% sold out of booths!

We can't WAIT to serve you, so remember to save the date! 

P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. Plus, as a thank you for joining, you will receive my 14 Days of Wellness. http://sarahtalksfood.com/

 

 

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