I tried living without Facebook, Skype, Viber, Twitter and Gmail for one day way back then. For most part it worked, because the internet connection we had before was so bad I had to wait one hour to stream anything. However for the most part, it was Lalaland for me. I’ve never gone as somewhere so drastic. The first day, it was all fine and dandy. Second day was a piece of cake. Third day and I was suffering from Internet, social-media withdrawal. My fingers itched and there was a telltale sign of unnecessary anxiety (I wonder how many likes I’d get for my change in profile picture? How are my friends doing? Have they upload pictures with me in them? Have they tagged me already? What about my online pet? Will it survive?)
By the fourth day, sadly, I broke my vow and browsed through Friendster (this was before 2009, okay?), and indulged for minimum of three to four hours looking at pictures and playing online games. It was sad and pathetic, and I am still doing that every once in a while with Facebook. You know what is sad and pathetic? That I can spend so much time online that I don’t even have time to talk with my siblings. I do also observe that when I am doing another round of social-media, my personality gets screwed. By that I mean I tend to be pretend to be happier and more upbeat. It isn’t that serious but sometimes it leads to making some spur-of-the-moment choices, which can potentially break my schedule for the entire week. It isn’t a conscious effort either. Sometimes, it just flows out, this need to be appreciated by others. One other thing, I also observe that I get depressed from looking at how different and how nice other lives seem to span out. People are always smiling and going somewhere in social-media. Or sometimes, it gets to be bloody out there in news feed, with people bashing other people’s choices on presidential candidates, their side in a popular topic and just plain cyber bullying. Bullying offline is bad enough, but doing it or looking at the people doing it is even worse. I decided to distance myself away from all that noise. It’s not good for my heart, head or my time frame.
How did I survive without Facebook, Twitter and Instagram anyway? The answer is: I can. I did.
Here are some of the things I’ve tried to get out of the loop:
Looking for work. Whether it’s job, school or house work, it’s a better alternative to social media. Plus it gets some work done. Being intentional is such a big factor. I usually schedule in to do laundry in the morning, and while my clothes are swirling in the depths of the washing machine, I sweep my bedroom clean. I am amazed at the variety of things to do with just two hours. At my job before, I make it a point never to browse Facebook during working hours. NEVER.
Pick up a hobby or restart one. I like reading books. I keep them in my ebook reader but I prefer those I can smell and touch (nothing like a good old-fashioned book in my hands with a cup of coffee in another!). Before long, I have to wean myself out of reading way too much. But the idea remains: doing I enjoy sure beats out of the struggle in Facebook abstinence.
Sweat it out. I don’t do gyms but there’s a huge front yard in the house and what I do is to rake all those pesky leaves in the driveway. Voila! Another work done! It’s free and it’s super convenient!
Run and play with pets. We have two dogs at home. Such cute furries usually take my time as they nose their way into my lap for a short pat on the head or a belly rub. There’s tons of research done on stress relief through dogs, cats and other living creatures. A case in point are depressed residents on a hospice care facility are boosted out of their conundrums with appearance of these tail waggers.
Place my phone far, far away. I have some near heart attacks when my then new smart phone fell on the floor after I fell asleep with in on my hand. Yikes. So now, I make it a rule to put them in a table and leave them there before going to sleep or taking a bath.
Encourage others. No cell phones on parties or meet-ups! I’ve never got it down as far as I know, but it’s great to chat with friends without them looking at their screens all time.
Finally, pray. I believe in putting my faith in a higher Being than I. Jesus has always been faithful to give me the strength to say no, and that means all of the bad habits I’ve been trying to undo.