Reflections on Life

Entering Back Into the Fray

About a year ago, I was just finishing a contract with an environmental non-profit organisation and was living a busy life. Most days I was working full-time from 9 to 5, driving 1.5 hours for work, and arriving at home to cook, perhaps calling family, exercising, and vegetating in front of a screen. I was taking work very seriously, and felt like my success with each project was a top priority. I put a lot of energy into doing my best for each one. At some point between organising a two day event, training for my first duathlon, and continuing to make plans with friends, I became burnt out.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to do everything: to be sociable, to do well at work, and to take care of my body. But where was the time for rest and just being with myself? Why was I so driven to be successful? Watching Netflix or surfing on Facebook was certainly a nice mental break, but it also became a kind of shield to how I was actually feeling in the moment. The truth is that I was afraid of failure, of losing my job, and of not being a worthy person just as I am.

I had a constant low level of anxiety and I began to realise it was partly from always being available for communicating with people via devices. Friends and family could send me multiple texts a day, messages on Facebook, emails on top of what I was already receiving for work, and call me. It created a kind of attachment to my devices, and I was always wondering if a person had replied or if I would receive a new message. I think it became a kind of addiction, because I could not go more than 20 minutes without checking one of these devices.

I decided to make some drastic changes to my lifestyle in order to reduce my anxiety and stress. I went off of Facebook. I shaved my head. I asked my parents to not text me unless necessary and reassured them that we could still call. I took up a volunteer position at a beautiful rustic retreat centre that incorporates buddhist principles. I began using my body instead of my mind and building trails, planting trees, and caring for their horse. I lived in a couple of off-grid cabins in the woods. I was forced to put my attention on caring for basic needs such as fire wood for heat, water, and food. I could still read, meditate, do yoga, and use Wifi at the main lodge to connect with the outside world. I began to relax, to get into a rhythm of caring for the property and myself, and I started an inward journey of discovering why I was stressed and anxious.

Fast forward to the present and I can say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Instead of prioritising work and my self-image, I prioritized self care and self acceptance. I did miss some aspects of social media, mainly connecting with far away friends and local event notifications, but it gave me more energy and peace of mind.

Now, I am entering a new phase yet again. I am entering back into the fray: back onto Facebook, back onto this Blog, back into a more public space with my ideas for positive social change. I want to share what I am learning about the importance of connecting deeply with ourselves and finding that unconditional acceptance and love. I needed to get away from distracting technologies to do that, but now I am realising the power of these technologies for spreading positive messages of hope, love, and inspiration.

The question is, will I be able to keep this healthy relationship with myself going while also giving energy and attention to these online domains? Time will tell.

Here are some reminders of 5 ways to have healthy space with technologies:

  1. Set a time limit for social media everyday.
  2. Don´t reply to people right away, give it 24 to 48 hours. It reduces others´ expectations for prompt replies.
  3. Set boundaries with friends or family that message or call you too much.
  4. After 30 minutes of screen time, get up and walk around. Breathe in fresh air.
  5. Make sure you have some days, maybe once a week, without being in front of any screens. Get outside in nature!

 

10 thoughts on “Entering Back Into the Fray”

  1. Beautiful article Amy. I too have an addiction to technology and social media. I realize now that it started from a good place of wanting to stay connected to friends I met through travelling and it morphed into the inherent need for other to accept me and like me, “like “my pictures or posts. It stems a lot from how we feel about ourselves and how we see ourselves in society, self acceptance and what we place value on. Blain and I were talking and we both said we need to make some big changes in the New year regarding our use of technology,, because it is trickling down into impacting Fiona and how she is now obsessed with watching music videos on our phones( Michael Jackson) mainly lol. Thanks for sharing your thoughts xoxoxo

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    1. Hi Naomi! Thanks for reading and sharing some of your thoughts on social media. I love what you said about ¨It stems a lot from how we feel about ourselves and how we see ourselves in society, self acceptance and what we place value on¨, its so true. Good for you for considering how to change relationship with technology in the New Year! New Years rezes are good for that. Its a great lesson for Fiona too. Hugs to you!! xox

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  2. I absolutely love this article…completely identified, that’s also me, also how to set those boundaries, I mean, I know, but damn it’s hard to accept social media addiction…

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    1. Hola amiga! Glad you were able to identify with it :), its a pretty common story I think that people are becoming addicted to social media and not knowing how to get that healthy balance. Our time on this Earth is so precious and it can take up a lot of time. Its a useful tool only to the extent it doesn´t control our lives!!

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      1. Thanks for this beautiful testimony. I feel the same things you felt and your story brings me courage to make soon big changes in my life. Gusto conocerte! Soy de Cali, Colombia and living in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for the past 4 years.

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      2. Hola Catalina! I am so happy to hear that the story touched you and helped to give you some courage, that is all I could hope for in writing the article. Your happiness is important! It would be lovely to meet you someday. I am now in Bogota :). All the best.

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  3. Glad to read your thoughts on this Amy. I quit Facebook this year and I have sought out other social media apps (Whatsapp and Snapchat) that limit the number of interactions I have. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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    1. Hi Ice!! Lovely to see you on here. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Its nice to hear how people are becoming creative with limiting social media time. I have never tried snap chat, but I like the idea that the photos are not permanently stored. Facebook has become this huge life log and that is a bit disconcerting. WhatsApp…..is an amazing tool.

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