Slow Living || Using Social Media For Good Around Your Kids

We interrupt our normal mess of fashion related posts to bring you a topic of a different kind. Something, in fact, that I've been holding off on writing about because, admittedly, I'm terrible at it. But if I've learned anything from blogging and the authenticity that goes along with it, it's that the posts that I avoid writing the longest are usually the ones most worth writing. 

I often sing the praises of "slow and intentional". And I believe in that lifestyle wholeheartedly. I try, as best I can in a world that promotes more/faster/better/haphazard, to slow down, make my choices from a place of intention, and to raise my girls to do the same. I'm an advocate for "boredom" and schedule as much intentional downtime into my 4 & 2 year old's lives as possible. But there's one area that I've always struggled to use intentionally, especially around my girls, and it's one that I already know I'm not alone in. 

Social Media. 

Of course, my girls are far too young to have their own devices or social media outlets, but the reality is that they've been born into the "digital age" and navigating that reality as a parent is far from easy. I think both my daughters understood how to work an iPhone from the time they were 18- months old. They both can run Netflix without help, answer my phone, and even like wasting time with Instagram filters with me. 

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It can seem harmless and, of course, to some extent it is, but raising children in a world so immersed in social media, connection, and immediacy means that things like comparison, discontent, self-loathing, and wandering into unsafe "online territory" can begin happening at younger ages than ever before. 

To give some balance to the fear that can drive parenting, I've determined to never parent from a "sheltered" or fear-based line of thought. So, of course, I'm not hiding my girls from all social media or pretending like it doesn't exist. However, I'm equally determined to "use social media for good" in my family - despite the times I've failed to do so. 

Here are a few habits I'm hoping to implement more consistently in my day to day to teach my girls that social media can be used for good, but that it's not the "be all end all". 


1. Set specific times to post/check social media

I put this tip first because it's the one I fail at most often. I'm on my phone around my girls ALL THE TIME and although I don't feel like I have to be off it entirely, limiting my own screentime, especially around them, trains us both to value each other's company and detach from social media all the more. 

This is one of the "cornerstones" of my Social Media Detox from several years ago and, starting now, I'm hoping to make it less of a detox routine and more of an everyday habit. 

2. Be intentional with who you follow

Although this may not seem to directly impact your kids, they'll pick up on more than you realize. If you follow accounts that cause you discontent or to compare yourself in unhealthy ways, those feelings will bleed into your day to day life. The occasional sigh when you look in the mirror or exclamation that you "wish you looked more like so and so" can stick with your kids longer than you'd ever intend. 

Instead, follow accounts that inspire and uplift you.

3.  Decide ahead of time how/when your kids can "sign on"

Having a plan in advance when it comes to social media and your kids is a simple way to reduce anxiety and parent intentionally. They'll know, as they get older, what your expectations are and how social media fits into their lives at a particular phase. 

4. Teach them from a young age to unplug

A balance that is easier to imagine than achieve, setting boundaries with screen time/social media is tricky regardless of whether your kids are in school or daycare, whether you work from home with them, or a combination of it all. For me, since my job is entirely online, I try to keep the days when I work while my kids are "plugged into" Netflix to a minimum. Instead, I let them play and make messes around me while I work - not simple, inspiring, or easy most of the time, but it creates a balance between work and play that I think is crucial for kids. 


How have you decided to use social media in your household? I'd love to hear all of the tips and ideas!

Spring Cleaning || How and Why to Detox Your Digital Life

Spring Cleaning || How and Why to Detox Your Digital Life

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. 

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Digital De-Cluttering: 4 Ways To Simplify Your Social Media

We talk a lot about physically de-cluttering here on SL & Co., in fact, our most recent post laid out six super helpful tips for keeping your home clean all the time, but one area we don't often think about de-cluttering is our online presence. 

As much of our lives are wrapped up in social media, it's easy to get overwhelmed by needless emails, disengaged followers, and photos or posts that don't inspire us. I'm a firm believer that one of the main purposes of social media is to not only connect us to others but to inspire and boost our creativity, so if your social media pages feel anything but inspiring, it's time to do something about it. 

I recently took steps to simplify my social media accounts and, similar to physically de-cluttering, I immediately felt a weight lifted. It's strange how something intangible like Instagram photos or an irrelevant post on Facebook can become a burden after a while. 

Does that sound familiar to you? If so, here are four actionable steps you can take today to lighten your "digital load" and ensure you're only seeing post from people who inspire you.  

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1. Unsubscribe from random newsletters:

We all get them. E-mails from Forever 21 that we signed up for to get a discount. The newsletter of a once loved blogger whose posts aren't really relevant to our lives anymore. And worst of all, emails from companies who just want your money. 

Unsubscribe. It's as simple as that. Limit your inbox to the newsletters of only the most inspiring people (hopefully SL&Co. makes the cut! If you're not subscribed to our (rather infrequent) updates you can do so here). A few of my favorite newsletters are from The Higgins CreativeMelyssa Griffin, and Becoming Minimalist. I also subscribe to emails from some of my favorite clothing lines like My Sister and IMBY or causes I feel passionately about like IJM or Dressember. 

Decide what issues and topics are most important to you and eliminate the rest. It's so refreshing not to wake up to 30+ new emails from spam accounts every day. 

2. Un-follow accounts that don't inspire you:

There is a lot of pressure on social media to participate in "follow for follow" threads or to follow accounts you don't really love in hopes that they'll follow you back. While there are certainly benefits in this method for growing your reach and audience, at a certain point, it can get exhausting to see photos from 100's or 1,000's of people you don't really know. 

It may sound harsh, but there's nothing wrong with un-following if someone's content doesn't help or inspire you in some way. For me, Instagram is my biggest source of inspiration. I love scrolling through my feed and seeing gorgeous coffee shots, inspiring capsule wardrobes, and awesome mama's loving on their babies. But I absolutely don't feel pressured to follow everyone that follows me. 

The same goes for any platform- Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, you name it. 

3. Stop comparing yourself to others:

I know, this one is less tangible and way easier said than done. But, honestly, it's by far the most important step. 

Social media allows people to pick a version of themselves to present to their followers. It's normal, and not necessarily a bad thing, but seeing so much "perfection" can easily lead to discontent within your own life/figure/possessions/significant other. 

For example, in order to attract the right people to my blog (you!), I'm very careful with what I post to my social media accounts. I try very hard to be genuine- I'm far from perfect and my followers know it- but I don't share every area of my life online. Although I'm aware of the blogging industry's obsession with perfectly staged photos and flawlessly styled outfits, I do my best to stay true to myself and not worry about if I'm measuring up to my "competition". 

The same goes for everyone- if an account causes you you question your value or make you feel less-than, unfollow. You are enough; no matter how perfectly staged your photos are. 

4. Limit Your Screen Time:

Finally, though social media is a great thing and it's so useful in many ways, it's important to not let it take the place of "real life" interactions. We can all relate to technology addiction in some way, since it literally permeates our society. 

Learn to set boundaries for yourself. Set specific times for checking social media (and specific times not to). Be intentional with your scrolling and try not to use it just as a space filler. 

Did this post strike a chord? Be sure to register for our FREE e-mail course that will dive even deeper to de-cluttering your online presence and help you "take back social media". 

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Click here to register. I can't wait!

How To Sell Your Clothes On Instagram

How To Sell Your Clothes On Instagram

While donating your clothes to thrift stores or consignment shops is great, sometimes it's nice to make a little extra $$ (maybe to fund your brand spankin' new capsule wardrobe, yes?). Instagram is an amazing tool, obviously for connecting and networking, but there's also a growing world of Instagram shops where people sell gently used clothes or other items. 

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Simply Disconnect // Week 4

Well friends, we did it! Four entire weeks of intentional social media use. I can't decide if it was the quickest or longest month of my life, but one thing is certain- I learned A LOT through this challenge and I hope you all have some stories to send my way.

In case you missed it, here are the week

one

,

two

and

three

recaps in which I talk about some failures and some exciting successes.

As I'm bringing this challenge to a close, I want to share what I'm taking away from the whole experience and I hope you'll share the same with me. I was so encouraged by each and every one of you who joined me and I hope you enjoyed/grew from the experience. I connected with some awesome bloggers these past four weeks, built relationships, lived in the moment and failed a lot- things I think I value more now than ever.

Here are a few things I learned:

1 // It's ok to be bored. I talked about this in the first week recap, but one of the first things I realized after limiting myself in pulling out my phone was that I was bored a lot more often. But that is ok. Our minds are constantly stimulated by our incessant phone use and putting it away for even a few hours left me feeling like I needed to be "doing" something. But by the end of the challenge I learned to embrace those moments of "boredom," realizing that even just sitting doing nothing can be beneficial sometime.

2 // Social media is an amazing tool. We all already knew this, but for me, it was important for me to push myself to use it more intentionally instead of as something I check and scroll through for hours each day. I researched other bloggers in my niche, found some exciting

online communities

and even found a meet up in my area (which is super rare) next month that I'm SO excited about.

3 // Disconnecting doesn't have to be dramatic. Meaning that it doesn't have to take a "30 day challenge" or media fast for us to be intentional. Sometimes that is the boost we need to get started though- as it was in my case. I think it is more of a lifestyle change, a reworking of old habits slowly morphing into new, healthier ones. I'm trying to make small choices in my normal everyday life that help me move towards this goal.

4 // We shouldn't use it as a replacement. This one may seem totally obvious and lame that I even struggled with this. But I did. By the end of the challenge it was really obvious to me that I often use the online communities I'm part of and the "connectedness" I feel there as an excuse not to get out and meet people "in real life". This phase of life has been difficult for me as I don't have many people with the same interests or who I truly connect with for the first time in my life. Making friends in this phase is hard, but I'm determined to make it happen. This was a lesson that I didn't expect to learn this month, but I definitely needed to.

So, at the end of the month, with all my failures and habits glaring me right in the face, I'm beginning the new journey of implementing this into my day to day. A 30 day lesson doesn't mean anything if we don't take it beyond that period. I hope you all join me in applying whatever lessons you learned, small of big. And please please share them with me in the comments or via our hashtag!

Here are some awesome posts from other bloggers who took the challenge with me- they have some awesome insight:

-Gema from

Beloved Gems

talks about how it took going to Mexico for her to learn the value of setting aside specific time to use her phone.

-

Adriana

on how she felt like she failed.

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Emilie

on her Facebook Hiatus

(If you posted on this challenge or a similar topic, send me the link and I'll add it!)