Welcome to the third installment of my mini-spring cleaning series! (You can find the first post on detoxing your schedule here and the second post on detoxing your wardrobe here.) Although I don't consider myself a "neat freak" in any sense of the word, I do enjoy spring cleaning in the non-traditional sense.
By the time April or May rolls around, most people are rolling up their sleeves, dusting the cobwebs from their ceilings, and sorting through their unused belongings. I, however, like to think of "spring cleaning" in a different sense.
In this series, I tackle the less-often-purged parts of our lives, and today we are chatting about maybe the biggest one of all: our online life. Granted, "real life" is more immediate and therefore more important to cleanse regularly, but I would argue that our online presence is no less "real" and the interactions we encounter there can be just as positive or negative as our offline ones.
As a blogger, I've battled with the balance of "real" life vs. online life for years. Many of the connections I've made online through the ethical fashion community feel more real and impactful than some of my real life connections, believe it or not, and sometimes finding a balance can be hard.
No matter your "status" online, it's pretty safe to assume that the vast majority of us spend a great deal of time in front of our computers, with our phone in hand — or maybe a combination of both — emailing, networking, liking, and scrolling.
This post isn't meant to guilt anyone into spending less time online, but rather, it's meant as an gentle encouragement to be as intentional with our hours spent digitally as we do with our hours spend offline.
I also think that doing a bit of a "cleanse" is helpful when it comes to these things, so I've linked to my free 7 day email course that I released last year (and recently updated) with the hopes that it acts as a guide to finding balance and joy through both our online and "real life" interactions.
Although this first step can be a bit time consuming, especially if you follow/subscribe to a large amount of people. Luckily, you can use services like Unroll.Me to literally clean up your inbox and unsubscribe from all of those pesky spam emails and newsletters you don't really want to receive.
Social media is a bit harder. To my knowledge, there's no software or app that allows you to unfollow mass amounts of people in one place, but I do highly suggest going through each of your social media accounts and unfollowing the accounts that no longer interest or inspire you. (Of course, I hope SL&Co. makes your "inspire" list ;)
Your social media accounts, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even email lists, should uplift, encourage, excite, and inform you, not fill you with unnecessary comparison or "FOMO".
3. Know Your Why
As with anything in life, your reason "why" you do it is vital. The answer to that question may be a bit deeper than you were expecting to go — like if you're using social media to portray an alternate version of yourself, or if you spend more time scrolling than you do actually connecting — but it's worth digging through.
Are you subscribing to this email because it inspires you or brings you useful information? Do you follow people to connect with them and inspire them? Or is social media mindless entertainment?
I believe that our online presence has tremendous power for good, but it's vital that we know our "why" before that can happen.
4. Set Limits
Similarly, too much of a good thing can become dangerous. I've been guilty (read: am constantly guilty) of spending too much time on my phone or typing up blog posts instead of unplugging fully to be present with my daughters.
I've learned the benefit of setting true boundaries on technology use — using an alarm clock instead of my phone, leaving my phone outside, setting it down for meals....simple choices make a huge difference.
5. Let Go of the Pressure
You don't have to have a constant social media presence. You can disappear for a while and chances are, the interwebs will keep on spinning. The pressure to post every day or stay up to date is both unnecessary and silly — find what works for you, and don't let the pressure to keep up with the "Joneses of Instagram" creep in.
6. Seek Moments
Sometimes it's necessary to do a "deeper cleanse" if you feel like your digital life is taking over your real life. I try to set regular times to "detox," and I've written up my process in a free 7 day email course so you can try it too.
I know what you're thinking, an email course for a digital detox? It seems ironic.
But in the course (or maybe it's better termed a "challenge") I emphasize that I'm more about learning to use the internet and the connections we forge there for good and finding a balance, instead of quitting it cold turkey for a season.
Have you ever tried a digital detox? Tell me about it! Or, you can sign up for Simply Disconnect and update me as you go.