I found myself slumped over on the couch yet again. It was a gorgeous spring day outside, yet I couldn’t get the fog to clear from my head so I sat down in my familiar spot.
There was so much to do and always so little time. Why did it always take longer to complete a task or a project than I had expected? How was it already 3pm, didn’t the clock know I had so much to still do!
To-do list overwhelm was something I was very familiar with yet something I hadn’t mastered, so down on the couch I went, phone in hand.
As my to-do list mocked me, I opened my favorite social media app, Instagram. Just a few minutes of scrolling, I thought to myself. Scroll, double tap, scroll, read, scroll.
I double tapped on photos of someone hiking, on the vacation pictures from Spring Break, on the gorgeous birthday party held for an Instagram friend.
Scroll, scroll, scroll.
Thirty minutes passed, then an hour. The usual scroll of the screen had stolen my time, and it did little to ease my overwhelm. Sitting in the front row of the world watching others hustle out their grind and live their best life while vacationing in Costa Rica added to my anxiety, rather than relieve it.
What am I even doing? Who am I kidding? I don’t have what it takes to be great!
The thoughts mixed with the overwhelm of earlier, creating a toxic cocktail that I just kept ingesting.
Then I snapped right out of the trance and the hold that is so common with social media and our devices. I called their bluff on the lure of glitz and glamour and perfection.
I realized that I could sit on that sofa for the rest of my life watching others live their life, or I could unplug from it all and go live mine!
Five simple things I’ve learned that helped me ditch the screen scroll and instead seize the day are below:
1. Turn your phone on airplane mode.
In between calls or check-ins, I began to leave my phone “off”. It is the easiest pattern break there is, which makes it easy NOT to do as well. If you feel resistance, then take a step back and test it for validity. This is not as life and death as it appears.
2. Set limits on social media usage.
Within Instagram, I set a time limit on how long I would use the program. After the time was up, I received a notification that easily stopped the screen scroll. Think of it like cold water being splashed on your face.
3. Figure out what YOU want to do.
Aside from what everyone else is doing and aside from what you feel you should be doing, take some time to really think through what it is you want to experience on a weekly or monthly basis. This could look like anything from more time cooking and experimenting in the kitchen to the ideal vacation of renting an RV and traveling across the US.
4. Seize the day.
Before you consume others’ lives, seize your own. Each morning, spend time creating or time in solitude. I like to start my morning with a 15 minute guided meditation then I move on to envisioning my future self. From there, I find that I am less interested in what others are doing and more interested in what I can do to enjoy my life now.
5. Chasing their cheers.
The next time you feel the urge to document and share what you are eating, or wearing, or where you are on a Saturday morning, stop and think about the intent behind the share. Where is the intent rooted? What if instead of telling people you were at the lake with your family, you decided to just BE at the lake with them. The eternal now is the moment that never ends, stay there and fill up on the joy of the present moment.
Our phones are a tool to make life easier, yet they don’t come with an instruction manual. Now is our chance to write our own. Let’s disconnect from the glowing screen so we can reconnect with ourselves, our environment, and our people. Live life out loud, I dare you!
About the Author: Jennifer is a simplicity coach who works with women who want to simplify their lives so they can create space for what is deeply meaningful. Find her at Jenniferburnham.com