Social Media and Summertime

Summer is here. Not sure how that happened, but here we are. The change of pace of summer is good, but it can also be hard. Harder than I want to admit sometimes. Last summer felt like it wrecked me in a lot of ways.  I wrote all about it on the blog in the middle of processing through it last year if you'd like to hear about it. For the last few months I have been really anxious about this summer, worried I'd slip back into that foggy feeling again. Having anxiety about possible anxiety is as fun as it sounds, friends. I'm planning to tackle summer one day at a time, doing my best to not stress about what's to come, but just putting one foot in front of the other and trusting Jesus to walk alongside me. I'm doing my best to keep a routine that makes me feel sane and human...as simple as washing my face and brushing my hair each morning, putting oils I like in my diffuser, taking my vitamins and supplements, etc. etc. I'm also being mindful of taking time by myself when possible, even if it's just a few minutes each day. My hope is to do more than just "survive the summer". I want to find bright spots in my days with my kids at home, even when it feels (and is) really hard. That means setting aside time to decompress and not auto-piloting into full on check-out mode, which feels like the easier option a lot of time. Especially when checking-out is so readily available at the tips of our fingers.

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I've been having an ongoing conversation with multiple people about social media lately, and it's been really good, challenging, and encouraging. I recently shared some thoughts over on Instagram, and my hope is we can keep the conversation going. Because I'm still unsure of where to land or if there even needs to be a certain spot to land. All I know is that our real and present lives have the potential for so much good, and I'm feeling more and more weary of seeing people miss out on that for the sake of the 'gram. We pull our phones out in the middle of a group of friends and start scrolling. We feel the pressure to read and respond to messages and notifications as soon as they pop up. We capture photos of sweet moments, not just to cherish them, but because they'll look nice on our photo feed. We feel this pressure not to miss what others might be posting, and to make sure we share our moments with them as well. This is true for instagram "influencers" and us regular old humans. I know there's not anything innately wrong with sharing these things on these platforms, but we, as a society, have swung so far on that spectrum. I watched a family eating lunch together at a restaurant a few weeks ago and the teenage son scrolled through instagram the entire time. Sitting in between his grandfather and his younger sibling, he was more engaged with truck videos than with his family. And this is not a rare occurrence. I've been guilty of it too...most of us have. So I'm just trying to be very mindful of when my phone is in my hand. What message does that communicate to the people in your life when you can't put it down or you're constantly picking it up? From experience I can tell you that it makes you feel not very valuable to that person.

So what the heck do we do about it? I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon, but these are some suggestions of things I've been putting into practice: Try leaving your phone out of your reach for a day and see how many times you go to grab it. Delete instagram and facebook for a day and see how many times you automatically go to open it up. It's pretty eye-opening. When you are spending time with friends, leave it face down, or better yet leave it across the room. Set boundaries or time limits for yourself. If you're posting something, think about your motives and your heart in what you share. Ask yourself if what you're sharing online is what you're also sharing with your in-real-life people. And also ask yourself if social media were suddenly gone, would you be ok? I sadly think for a lot of people the answer is no.

Y'all I know these apps aren't bad and I know you get to choose what it looks like for you and who you follow. And there's nothing wrong with being on your phone sometimes or taking a minute to be mindlessly entertained. I just want to encourage you to make sure you're being more present in your actual life and not just your phone-life. Take a break from it and see what happens! And then let's talk about it! Preferably in person ;) 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, whether this is something you've been sorting through too, or if you feel challenged by this, or if you think my opinions are totally off-base. Let's talk. Just hit that little reply button or shoot me a message. Or if you know me in person, let's grab some coffee!