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Life

Social Media Detox. Easier than you think but be prepared to look inside yourself.

I did it. My two week Facebook/ Twitter / Instagram abstinence is over. And yes, I fully appreciate the irony of using social media to share the findings of my social media detox.

The grand hopes of turning into a gym bunny and gourmet chef with all that extra time on my hands hasn’t materialised but my mood has significantly shifted. I feel calmer, more optimistic, more productive and more present.

The first few days were spent recalibrating my habits but by midweek, I was doing just fine. It was a lot easier than I thought.

I’ve been unusually sociable over this period, attending work reunions, having nights out with the girls and riding rollercoasters with my 3 year old, all of which I would have ordinarily posted on social media. At first I was frustrated for not being able to ‘share’ these moments but I soon questioned why I’d felt the need broadcast my life at every juncture, a habit that I’d developed over the past decade.

With trepidation I logged onto Facebook last night but felt uneasy, as if I was imposing on something. I ended up ‘liking’ a few funny posts and offering belated Happy Birthdays but logged out after 10mins for fear that I would get sucked right back into the abyss.

Aside from my work, I’m certainly in no hurry to dive back in as I’m reaping the benefits of this new found rhythm. I was addicted and am still in recovery.

Here are 10 things I have learnt:

1.Removing all social media apps from your phone works as does logging out of all email accounts and consciously signing in to read anything online

2. You realise how ridiculous it is to envy the lives of complete strangers you follow on Instagram and deep down know that you’d probably find them quite annoying if you met them in the real world.

3. Likewise, some of your actual friends that you find really annoying on social media are much more agreeable in the real world.

4. You stop carrying your phone around the house like a baby

5. Posting and then being concerned about the number of ‘likes’ you receive is a self-perpetuating road to insecurity. Judging people’s worth, including your own, based on followers and likes should only be attributed to folk who choose to make a living online

6. Facebook is a brilliant platform to raise awareness of causes and issues but is mostly a place to have a little boast and there’s nothing wrong with that

7. Social media showcases some brilliant smart arse humour that you don’t find anywhere else

8. You risk being de-friended / upsetting people for missing birthdays, promotions, party invites, new pets, babies etc…

9. A detox buddy really helps. Thanks Laura x

10. Your new sense of perspective makes you worry about the future and feel a bit old

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Going cold turkey on social media for a while

Earlier this week, I spent my precious pre-school, childfree hours sort of looking at jobs on LinkedIn, but mainly dicking about on Facebook. Seriously, the time just evaporated without me realising. It wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t offered to host the first ever lunch / play date for Bobble’s best friends and their mum. My hastily cobbled together lunch offering was frankly a bit shoddy as was Bobble’s behaviour. I was embarrassed but also really annoyed that I’d let social media suck me into the extent that I’d neglected the needs of the lovely real people in my life.

Another mum at pre-school was kicking herself for “only running 5K today” when she could’ve been doing useful stuff around the house. I decided to keep quiet about how I’d spent the morning checking out bathrooms on house porn Pinterest, for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

I spend an unhealthy amount of time online and it’s starting to get to me.

Mr R checks his Facebook about once a week (I reckon I’m averaging 20 times a day). The last time he did, his exact words were…”I’m just going to trawl through some of this shit.”

I have developed a strong admiration verging on envy for people who declare that they don’t have time or can’t see the point in being all over social media. In their company I’ve started feeling like a bit of a loser. They’ve obviously got far more worthwhile things to be getting on with.

The problem is, I’m in way too deep now. I’m not talking about the kind of addiction that involves obsessively taking, filtering and posting selfies all day long. I’m talking about habitually checking news headlines, liking and sharing motivational quotes, cute videos and parenting tips as if the world would stop turning if I didn’t.

My addiction has snowballed since I stopped working and then got horrendously ill with flu – the perfect storm. Essentially housebound for most of January, I mainlined Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter round the clock. I am now extremely well informed on Brexit, the refugee crisis, how granny shoes are the new ballet pump and the relationship status of Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander – so basically 50% guff.

I am also following mainstream media’s new interest in ‘Mothers of Instagram’, albeit in a love/hate way. Much has been written about the overuse of social media inciting anxiety and FOMO syndrome amongst teens but I reckon mums are prone to this too.

Social media can do a remarkable amount of good in this world but when you start becoming emotionally invested in your ‘profile’ and your relationships feel compromised, something has to change.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, I will start a 2- week break from my personal social media accounts. Cold Turkey. I honestly think it might be harder than giving up smoking.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saying farewell to having nice things in your house

About 10 years ago, I became the smug owner of a Hans Wagner Wishbone Chair. The idea was that as each year passed, I would accumulate another one and eventually have collected enough for a dining set.

The chair took pride of place in my one bedroom flat in Brixton, alongside my coffee table books, scented candles and object ‘dart that decorated my life in those days.

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I caught up with Nikki Cochrane (pictured right with Co-Founder Kathryn Tyler) a flexible working evangelist, a passionate digital marketing specialist and one half of Digital Mums. Nikki’s resourcefulness, drive and fresh thinking make her a natural fit for my regular Village People series about people who have left secure corporate jobs to do something completely different. We discuss business mentors, raising investment and the realities of running a successful start up.

With the shortage of flexible working options, spiralling childcare costs and long commutes confronting a lot of families these days, it comes as no surprise to me that Digital Mums has been a huge success since its launch just under 2 years ago. The idea is simple yet inspired – recruit and train mothers in social media management and provide them with on the job training through placements with companies that are looking for online community managers.

The beauty of this programme is that it attracts highly qualified, motivated women who want to work from home and matches them with companies that can see the benefits of a flexible working arrangement.

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Standing on a remote pebble beach, waves lapping and wind whistling around us, Julie was talking to her godson, my husband, about his late mother. “There are so many times when I wish she was here so I could tell her things. I miss her terribly.”

She and her girlfriends (collectively known as ‘The Hens’) have been bringing their children to Branscombe in Devon the same week in July since the 1970’s. When Mr R’s mother sadly passed away 10 years ago, he stopped going to Family Week.

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