Taking one day a week to unplug can help you get in touch with what matters most
Social media has truly changed the way we live, and mostly for the better. Long-lost friends reconnect via Facebook, relatives around the world can watch a new baby grow up on Instagram, and news junkies follow stories as they happen on Twitter. But our new, always-connected culture can be a major source of stress, too.
FOMO - fear of missing out - happens when you're constantly bombarded with stories about hot new trends in food, fashion, travel...you name it. Suddenly, it seems as if all your friends have tried that incredible new restaurant, and you're the only one left out in the cold. Or maybe you find yourself envying the gorgeous life of an Instagram mom, one whose house is always magically clean and whose kids are always sleeping sweetly. All of a sudden, you're living with the sinking feeling that what you've got isn't good enough.
Even the very act of checking social media can be bad for your health. There's lots of documented research about the effects of screen time on children, but it can be detrimental for adults, too. Looking at your smartphone before bed has a negative impact on your sleep quality all night long, and prolonged poor sleep can raise your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression. All that just to see the latest cute cat video!
That's why this week, I'm starting a new tradition: Social Media-Free Sundays. One day a week, I'm going to swear off all social media: no posting, no quick scroll through the timeline, nothing (not even my beloved Instagram stories!). Instead, I'm going to use the time to get outside and really unwind. It'll be tough, I know, but I'm already excited for my first Sunday, and I'm hoping to do it at least through the end of summer!
Worried you may not be able to do it? Recruit your friends! Get together for brunch, a games tournament, or just a day in the park, and have everyone swear off social media together. You can even collect people's phones in a big bowl to remove the temptation to sneak a peek at their feeds - they can get them back when they leave. Plus, you won't feel the urge to check in on what everyone else is doing if you're all in the same place! Join me.