In my opinion, we are truly living in a digital era right now. Technology is advancing, social media platforms are growing and online careers are becoming more and more accessible. Every day we find ourselves communicating through texts, complimenting through likes, and sharing our day through photos and videos on social media sites. Everyday we are spending more and more time ‘online’ and that is why I think that it is so important to learn to take back control, to truly appreciate and understand all that surrounds us.
Now, don’t get me wrong, being so online isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 85% of my job is online, and I absolutely love it. Social media is ultimately the reason I have a job, and allows me to do what I love. But, I’ve also realised just how easy it is to get caught up in the totally online world and how important it can be to sometimes just let go. I know what your thinking, taking time offline would be totally counterintuitive if my business is pretty much all online. I get that – it does sounds scary but I want to talk to you all about how taking an hour, an evening, or even a day back to yourself to be truly offline, can really help find your fire, confidence, and help you gain control back in your life.
The Pros and Cons
Ultimately, the internet is the reason I have my career and some absolutely amazing friends within it. Social media has been an incredible part of my job – and having the ability to share my life online has opened up a lot of amazing opportunities to me, that without it I would have never had. Because of that I believe that embracing the digital era we live in can be a massive pro – and something that can really create positive impact, change and have great influence. However, on the other hand social media sometimes drives me insane. I feel like social media creates a hell of a lot of self criticism and comparison among users, which is a huge negative in my eyes. Nine times out of ten social media only shows the highs and things that people want to see, not the lows of heartbreak, sadness, unmotivation and eating ice cream from the tub whilst watching the notebook on repeat (yes, we’ve all done it!). Although it is extremely easy to forget, social media is ultimately a highlight reel of the best parts of someones life.
Why I went offline
Now, for the past three weeks, I’ve been really sick. I’ve had little to do other than sit in my apartment, catch up on Game of Thrones and eat beans on toast. The incredibly glamorous life, right? But basically I was forced to have a social media blackout, and go totally offline. Not out of choice, but because I was literally too sick to create new content and I was sleeping a lot to try and let my body rest. At first it totally stressed me out. My analytics and engagement were dropping and there was nothing I could physically do about it. I found myself feeling really down and disheartened, that I had worked so hard for something – and then getting ill was just ‘throwing it all away’. But that is when I realised, that there was no point resisting it and the only option I had was to embrace the social media blackout, and truly use the time to go offline and find peace and content within myself.
What going offline taught me
Going offline taught me a lot, but in particular that when I wasn’t living life behind a lens, I actually opened my eyes up to the true beauty around me. It was then when I realised how caught up I had got in my little online bubble, and how much life was around me that I was always too ‘busy’ to appreciate. After embracing taking some time ‘offline’ I stopped scrolling mindlessly through social media, and comparing my body, looks and likes to someone else that I’d never met. I spent my time becoming a better person, girlfriend, friend and coach and put my energy into uninterrupted, and incredibly positive planning for my business. I took time to read books, I meditated, I went on walks and I found time to do the things that I loved – most importantly, with the people that I love.
In conclusion, going offline was a real learning curve for me, but something I’m now going to make a conscious effort to do more often. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely lucky to have the job I have – and I love it never the less. But I’m also now more aware of the implications so much time online can have on an individuals mental health and wellbeing and how important it is to just ‘switch off’ every once in a while. As I’ve mentioned above, my business revolves around being online so you’ll not find me on a retreat in the middle of the desert any time soon. However, I’m making the time to go offline on a daily basis, and ensure I clock off when I finish work, instead of just before I go to sleep at night. I’m taking time at a weekend to enjoy phone-free experiences and I’m going to monitor how much time I spend on my phone every day.
I encourage you all to try and go offline, even if it is just for one day. Go out and experience something new with someone you love.
I also encourage you all to reflect on both the positive and the negative experiences you gain through the use of social media. Do you find motivation and inspiration in everyone you follow, or do you find your usage negatively impacts your body image and self esteem? Once you can identify where you need to take back control, you can start to make a change to a happier, more focused and truly beautiful life.
Have you experienced a social media blackout or ever gone offline? I’d love to hear your thoughts and if it helped you to find happiness again.
Love, Beth x