Checking My Status Before Logging On

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By Kate Kole

I did a mini social media detox last week. Closing my Twitter tab, scrolling out of Instagram, and logging off Facebook, I declared the 72 hours dividing Wednesday morning and the weekend as deliberately free my typical news feeds. 3 days is hardly a long time and I didn’t expect any lasting life changing epiphanies to occur. I equated it more to the likes of a fruit and vegetable cleanse, figuring that a couple days of eating greens doesn’t overhaul my everyday snacking tendencies the same way a few days without Facebook wouldn’t change my online habits.

And so, it was of little surprise when I logged online Saturday morning, I had no immediate ‘aha moment’. If anything, it felt like I had hopped right back into more of the same. I began scrolling mindlessly, glancing in no particular order at status updates and comments in response. I tensed up at certain statements, mildly nodded in agreement at others, and shook my head a time or two. And then, about halfway down the screen, I considered how I was feeling. To be honest, the answer was this: somewhere between feeling nothing and feeling not very good.

I’ve become somewhat desensitized to online feuds by now, as I’d imagine that most of us have. But that being said, I still consider myself to be a somewhat (okay, highly) sensitive person. So, when I see hurtful comments or upsetting stories, I often become a bit of a sponge, soaking in the stress and sadness.

In the midst of my mess of a funk, I’m less able to remember my purpose. I momentarily forget that what I want more than anything is to make this world a better place. And if not this whole global world, then at least my local world. I lose sight of what is most important to me as I get lost in a land of feeling disappointed and depleted.

It’s often not until I’ve counteracted my feelings by rolling out my yoga mat, texting my family, teaching a class, talking to my best friend, hugging my dogs, and wiping the chocolate frosting off my face (emotional eating is real, y’all) that I feel back to my normal, hopeful self.

I used to call B.S. at the talk of people and places carrying and somehow emitting energy. I figured that we’re all living in the same world, taking in and spreading out the same vibes. But what I’ve come to believe in the last few years and what my immersion back into my go-to apps reminded me of is how much the environment around me impacts the feelings within me. And that includes what I see, read, and absorb online. I might not need social media right now as much as I need a hug, or a coffee date, or a FaceTime session, or a long walk in fresh air, or an evening curled up reading a book on my couch.

Collectively, our emotions are so highly charged right now. Many of us are hurting, and understandably, our pain has to go somewhere. But what I rediscovered in taking a few days to step away from my feeds is that I have a choice in how I channel that pain. For every heated battle and draining conversation I can hop into, both in person and online, there’s also the option to step away, log off, and recharge in another area of my life.

I can choose to volunteer for a cause I care about or donate resources to those in need. I can spend time with the people I love and work to create what I feel is lacking in my community. But I know that in order to do any of those things, I must first intentionally choose how I spend my time and where I invest the energy I have to offer.

{featured image via Unsplash}

2 thoughts on “Checking My Status Before Logging On

  1. Mr Jerome says:

    I am not overly sensitive, more of medium setting; I do however have a strong moral compass and can sympaphise with your views on social media. No matter how many positive pages or people you follow, amongst it all, there is always that undertone of hate, ignorance and bitterness. Will it ever be different?…on can hope. A greater onus needs to be put on the delivery or respect and compassion in the education system. Maybe then it will filter out.
    Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thewesternsydneygirl says:

    “When I see hurtful comments or upsetting stories, I often become a bit of a sponge, soaking in the stress and sadness.” That is so well expressed! You picked the perfect time to switch off from social media.
    I deactivated my FB nearly 2 years ago now and I don’t miss it a fear of missing out here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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