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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.