How a 3 Week Social Media Respite During the Holidays Changed My Life

Taking a three week social media respite during the Christmas and New Years season was one of the hands down best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I don’t think I’ll ever be on social media again during the holiday season ever again. Maybe that’s dramatic and maybe one day I might change my mind but as of this moment, as of this last Christmas and New Years, absolutely never again. It was LIFE CHANGING.

Taking this respite was wonderful for several reasons, which in no particular order, I will address. I’m breaking this down into two sections: what I felt where the benefits of taking a SM respite, and the secondary effects of that decision. I would like to state right off the bat that I’m sharing my experience with you and why it was wonderful for me and nothing more. You’ve got to do what works for you. If you find something here you take with you–great! Otherwise, this is just me sharing my experience. OK you sexy beast!, let’s get started!

 

The Benefits:

time:
First, taking a respite gave me time to prioritize my time and energy. I was able to make myself, Sam, and Jesus(the reason for the Season) the first priority because I wasn’t dealing with social media. We made time for fun and creating new memories. And I made outlets to deal with the stress of holidays and was better able to cope with it and have fun. Christmas is a really hard time of year for me for many reasons and taking a respite took a huge mental and emotional burden off me. I was able to really rest and destress. I had the time and energy to focus on managing my emotions and my stress level.

mental space:
Second, I had mental space to reflect in December on the past year and give serious thought to what I wanted the new year to look like. I didn’t feel the normal rush to come up with resolutions or try to figure out a “word” for the year in the few short days between Christmas Day and New Years Day. Because I had mental space I was able to focus on all my triumphs and healthy habits I practiced over the past year instead of my failures and missed goals. I was then able to decide my method for 2020 was not to make new goals but to simply carry on all my healthy habits and triumphs into the new year taking it one day at a time. I wasn’t looking to escape 2019. Goal making is great and some people thrive on making and achieving goals but that’s just not where I’m at this year. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize that without having the mental space to do so.

self compassion:
Third, I didn’t enter 2020 in the rat race of comparison. I just said, “no”. “No, I will not engage in that toxic thought process,” and I turned off my phone. I know some can be present on social media and not fall into the toxic trap of comparison and I say, “Bravo to you!” I don’t have that ability yet, so this new year I stayed off social media. I did not need to know anyone else’s goals or plans to be able to make them for myself. I’m trying to get better about using social media as a litmus test of sorts for my ideas–though certainly not for my moral and spiritual beliefs–instead of the well in which I draw every idea. That meant that I met 2020 at home in my pajamas happily oblivious to the whole world content and happy. It was lovely–and cozy comfortable.

Secondary Effects:

rest:
What I didn’t expect was to come home more rested. Usually, we get home from Christmas and we are exhausted and it takes us three days to recuperate. Sam and I both woke up ready to get to work after a six hour drive home. We got so much done it’s kind of nuts to think about it. That day we took down every Christmas decoration, three Christmas trees, and every outdoor light. We organized it in coded boxes and then immediatly put it away. We also washed, folded and put away all the dirty clothes from out trip and put the suitcases in the attic, and put away all the Christmas gifts. We worked about twelve hours that day and in all my years I’ve never had that much energy after returning home from Christmas.

peace:
I began 2020 in peace. The New Year is normally a very stressful and hectic time where I feel I need to gear up for the epic new version of me that is about to launch. This year I had none of that anxiety. I was calm and happy and content. I had spiritual space this year. Space to breath and be myself and honest with myself and really talk to Jesus. Christmas is a time to be honest with God. A time to reflect on my relationship and be honest about successes and failures, triumphs and disappointments. I made time and space for that this year it it made the most difference of all. I am not focusing on all my performance or what needs to be improved but instead my focus is entirely on mine and God’s relationship one day at a time. It’s been a beautiful way to start the year because I’m not focused on worldly things but instead on spiritual things. It’s so peaceful. Of all the benefits, this one is by far my favorite.

Time, mental space, self compassion, rest, and peace–all product of one simple decision. I don’t want to start a new year any other way. You know, I didn’t even start the year with a planner, or a print out, or anything tangible. It’s ironic that starting the year with removing something from my life instead of adding to it that made my new year better. Taking a social media respite was a blessing and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Maegan

The Gift of Self Care

I read an article the other day that claimed putting Christmas lights and decorations up early might make you happier. I’m inclined to agree as I definitely felt a surge of happiness and excitement while decorating our entire home last weekend. I have never ever decorated this early for Christmas but something about it just felt right to me this year.

As our lights lit up our street our early Christmas decorating was made all the more obvious by the lack of lights on the other houses. Our decision was literally bright as a light shining in the darkness—a beacon of nonconformity. What would the neighbors think? It was the perfect literal example of, in my opinion, the most vital form of self care—making the best choices for myself even if they may seem odd, inconvenient, or against the social grain.

Please hear me, I’m not talking about rebellion. I’m referring to healthy, calculated decisions based on what is the healthiest, and most beneficial action for me to remain in a calm and centered spiritual, emotional, and physical state. That is much more difficult to execute than rebellion. Rebellion is caustic and harmful to the rebellious person, and those surrounding them often suffer the consequences too. While making the best decision for self is healthy and healing not only for that person but also for those surrounding them too. I’ve heard it said that making the best decision for ourselves is also the best decision for everyone else too.

Our early Christmas decorating is unconventional and could possibly irritating to our neighbors but it was the best decision for Sam and I. I needed an early injection of Christmas joy and my decision made Sam happy and created an opportunity for us to have fun together. We haven’t had one complaint from our neighbors and the lights cast a cheery glow on our street. Then yesterday, after the lights outside were hung, I read an article that said there’s another possible benefit to decorating early: the neighbors might think we are friendlier! Research has shown that people interpret Christmas decorations on a home as a cue that the people inside are sociable. With all that’s gone on this year, I want nothing more than to spread friendship to my neighbors!

Choosing to do what was best for me injected my life with some much needed Christmas joy, created an opportunity for Sam and I to laugh and have fun together and create happy memories, and shared some friendly and sociable goodwill with my neighbors. I’d say that’s a win, win, win!

With Thanksgiving just days away and Christmas here in a month it can be tempting to make decisions for yourself and your family based on what you think other people want or need. I want to encourage you to do what is best for you this holiday season. This is a head time of year to focus on self care and mental health but I’d say it’s the most important time. Being in a calm and centered state will surely make this the most enjoyable holiday season you’ve ever had.

So wether it’s putting your Christmas lights up early, saying no to that holiday party, or sleeping in your own bed for Christmas give yourself the priceless gift of doing what is best for you. You won’t regret it!

Oh, and early Merry Christmas!

Maegan

Fear of Responsibility

Happy Monday! It’s time for another #mentalmonday post. Today I want to talk about fear of responsibility. It’s an epidemic that is infecting my generation like never before, and I am certainly not exempt. I used to think that it was fear of failure that kept me from writing my books or starting a YouTube channel, then I realized that it wasn’t the act of the those things that kept me from doing them, it was what might come after.

My heart seizes at the thought of success. Can I handle that much pressure—that much responsibility? That’s where self confidence and love come in. I have to believe in myself that I can handle whatever responsibilities and pressure are given me if I succeed and unconditional self love when I fail.

As a Christian I also know that God’s love for me is based on his unchanging decision to love me—my performance has no bearing—that’s really helpful too. Believing in and loving yourself—while acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses—is paramount in squashing your fears. Believe in yourself and love yourself unconditionally, and soar or crash-land you’ll conquer your fear in peace. And the important thing is that you lived your life, you tried—isn’t that what really matters?

Is fear of responsibility holding you back? You are not alone! What are your dreams, your ambitions? I want to know!

*The little boy in the photo is my dad in his Roscoe Bankers baseball uniform. Thanks for letting me use your photo dad!

Maegan

Positivity

For today’s #mentalhealthmonday I want to embrace positivity. Sam, Lemon, and I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at an Addison park engulfed by gorgeous 75 degree wether. It was so serene—the wind wasn’t even blowing! Sam and I had been talking earlier that morning about how despite life’s great difficulties and heartbreaks life is still good.

Even though I was struggling with some emotional things, I couldn’t deny that indeed my life, my day, was still really great. I mean, just look at those trees! I acknowledged I was spending a quiet Sunday afternoon with my best friend and my dog, drinking unsweetened, blackberry tea from Sonic, while basking in fall’s radiance. It turned my whole day around!

If you find yourself emotionally struggling today, remember that your life is still good too. You’re alive, it’s your favorite time of year, the sun is out, you’re being soothed by rain on your window, your cat woke you up purring in your ear, your dog wants nothing more than to love you, you have family and friends who care about you, and God loves you(even if you don’t like/believe in Him), and I care enough about you—maybe you’re someone I’ve never met—to reach out and give you a virtual hug and remind you that you matter! Your life matters and your today is a good day! Grab a piece of paper and write down three reasons your life is good then tag someone you know who needs encouragement in the comments! I believe you are going to have a fantastic Monday! #dontstopbelievin ✨🍁🦔

Maegan

Encouragement

It’s #mentalmonday and I just wanted to remind you that today may feel like it’s kicking you in the pants, but it’s not because you are warrior who knows the value of surrender, submission, and positive thinking! It takes inner strength and endurance to wrestle against our hardest days. When you’re having a bad day, remember that it takes a strong person to admit their struggles, embrace them, and do what is necessary to move back to a safe place of rest.

If this is you and you’re having a bad day today I want you to reach out to a friend with a phone call, text, or dm. Isolation is the enemy! Confide today’s struggle to them(it doesn’t have to be your whole story) and ask for prayer and/or encouragement! If this is not you today (though make no mistake that this could be you tomorrow)I want you to reach out to the first person that pops into your head or the person that’s been on your heart or mind lately and call/text/dm them words of encouragement and/or prayer AND an open ended invitation to be an ear who will listen and be supportive (without giving unasked for advice😉)! Let’s lift one another up today with encouragement and positivity! Happy Monday!

Maegan