Scrolling doesn’t give me what I need

I feel massively distracted lately, and as I pinpoint why, it’s come to one very simple conclusion: My scrolling habits are out of control.

Wood fired pizza in the Catskills at a brewery

I pride myself on being the kind of person to create healthy boundaries in my life. Between my physical health, my relationships, my spending habits, even the amount of television I watch (it averages three hours a week, seriously), I’m good at coloring within the lines. But in terms of mindlessly consuming social media, I can’t seem to stop.

For a while, I told myself it was all for my job. Working in a social media role means constantly being on those platforms, checking to make sure your content looks good—while also keeping a close eye on all of the trends. But as my current job has started to step away from the every-day slog posting on social, I realize how addicted I’ve become. And I admit to you right here that I’m not proud of it.

I think a lot of this has come to light while reading up on Mark Zuckerberg’s sit down with members of Congress this week. There’s a lot of politics around it, and you can read up on some of it here and here. But that’s not why I’m mentioning it. As someone who avidly consumes social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram, I’m being rocked by this idea that I can be sold any kind of idea by an advertiser.

Don’t get me wrong, this kind of advertising behavior has been happening for years. Radio ads, TV ads, large ads splashed across billboards. None of this is new.

What’s changed is the number of hours (yes, hours) I spend mindlessly consuming it. It’s making me sick to my stomach thinking how algorithms can “figure me out” and advertise to me what they think I want when in reality, they have absolutely no idea of what I truly want or need. Because those things don’t come in a pretty box with a bow.

What I really need is time. I need time to rest. I need time with a cup of coffee and my journal, writing words and telling stories. I need a comfy blanket and a good book—one that’s already been sitting on my shelf. I need time at home with my husband. I need time to finally sit down and reteach myself the piano because that’s a goal of mine for 2019 and I still haven’t really done it. I need time to finally dive into the cooking projects I want to do, like pickling and making sourdough bread. I need time to read my bible. I need time to pray.

Yet I waste it away scrolling aimlessly, letting advertisers push messages into my brain that I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, full enough, successful enough, or cultured enough. Brené Brown says it well in her book Daring Greatly: “We’re visual people. We trust, consume, and mentally store what we see.” If I’m spending so much time in front of these messages, I start to believe them.

I no longer want these kinds of messages in my life. I want to be the one to determine what I need. Not an advertiser. Not an algorithm.

I know this isn’t what I usually write here, but I hope you don’t mind if I do it. As you can tell, I’m sick of doing what the world—and what social media—tells me to do in order to be successful. Instead, I want to write words of encouragement and share it with the people currently around me. And I hope this little note will embolden you to encourage someone around you as well. To tell them they are pretty enough, smart enough, and successful enough. That they don’t need an advertisement to tell them what to buy or how to think.

It’s time to look up

As a result of this, I have decided to do set time limits on my phone for social media and even give myself “off” days on the weekend. Last weekend was the first to practice this, and I took the time to just soak up our small weekend trip in the Catskills. Here are some of the beautiful moments I loved and captured.

Welcome to Wellness

This new section of my blog is dedicated to a better pursuit of health. Meal prepping and eating good food are great practices for a healthier life, but this is a space to concentrate on the wellness of my mind—and the wellness of my soul.

The definition of wellness is “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” So this section of my blog will focus on good health. Not being perfect at it, of course, but actively pursuing a healthier life.

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