A previous version of this post was published to Mom.com on October 9, 2020.
They instantly get it.
We are all in emergency mode — in different ways and in the same ways. What do we do? Well, I’ve pulled an almost unthinkable rip cord: I’ve distanced myself from social media. (Not joking. Yes, it is possible.)Here’s what continues to work for me, but just a warning: This is not easy and takes discipline, focus, strategy, and tough-mother guts to pull off:
- Disable all alerts for all apps on my phone — the only alerts I get these days are for texts. I don’t know who has DM’d, emailed, commented, or tagged me unless I go into Facebook/Instagram/email to consciously check and see.
- Commit to NO social media on weekends. I start my detoxes on Fridays. Sometimes I’m back on Monday, sometimes I allow several days to pass before allowing myself to scroll.
- When I scroll, I set a timer for 10 minutes. When that timer dings, I PUT THE PHONE DOWN. (I do allow myself more time if I’m reading an article or watching a video I clicked on… but if I’m just scrolling and fuming about people’s perceptions and commentaries on the world: PHONE DOWN.)
- No commenting on other people’s posts unless I know them personally in real life. Likes for strangers are OK, angry reactions are not.
- No interacting with anyone who leaves a comment under one of my posts if I do not know them in real life. If a positive comment, I will like theirs. If negative, I ignore.
- My rule for commenting/debating (with those I know in real life) is: One comment to respond to theirs, that’s it. Facebook and Instagram are not a sane or appropriate venue to debate complex topics with unending back-and-forths. If you want to discuss more, let’s find a time to talk… like humans used to do.
- Remove, block, and delete are confidently enabled as needed. No, this is not censorship — this is self-care. Anyone who sends me inflammatory messages that attack and/or publicly assassinate my character about why-I-don’t-think-this-or-why-
I-should-do-that will be removed, blocked, or deleted in the name of mental health. Because none of us deserve to be attacked through a screen. (What happened to that whole anti-bullying movement in the parenting world a few years ago?!)
- DMs will not necessarily be acknowledged, read, or responded to in a timely matter. Should anyone’s DM be aggressive, it will respectfully be ignored.
These guidelines were personally created and developed for one sole and selfish purpose: MY HEALTH.
For my family, for my day-to-day ability to function, raise kids, and live a contented life — because I love and care about myself.We’ve read the science and research: Scrolling ignites “reactionary poison” in our brains and is simultaneously addictive. Not. Good. For. Mental. Health. SO STOP IT. (Or, at least give ourselves a gift of recovery days each week.)Every day, every week, every month, every decision, every change, every loss is now an uphill battle to fight for our own mental health — individually and collectively.