I am a web junkie. I admit it freely; I hate the internet and yet I crave its sweet caress.
Ah, the internet. That shit friend you can’t trust that you hang around with because they make you laugh, the one who encourages you to stay up late, spend all your money and get into arguments with strangers because it’s funny and then gossips about you behind your back. I spend too long on the internet and the internet drives me crazy. Games, discussion forums, news sites, video sites, information sites: doesn’t matter where I go, I can’t handle the sheer volume of input and the variety of opinions. I stay up late, log in too often, becoming increasingly irritated and anxious. In all honesty, my interaction with the internet is similar to trying to talk to a sugared-up, overtired toddler. Everything gets turned up to eleven and at some point there will be tears and screaming. I can’t focus, I constantly fail to deliver on goals I’ve set and I feel like poop because I’m always tired.
Well, I’m tired of feeling tired. I am over being irritated with myself for always feeling anxious and irritated. I’m done being an Internet Loser™. I am on a mission to achieve Happiness and living with my head in the net is an obstacle to happiness. So last week I decided to conquer my addiction to the net for once and for all. I knew my usual 48 hour riding-out-the-low-until-the-next-fix sabbaticals were not going to be enough to get my head clear of all the noise. The only solution was to do the unthinkable and turn off the netz.
Happiness Objective No. 1: Social Media and News Detox.
No Facebook, no Twitter, no Pinterest, no Messenger, no Instagram, no discussion forums, no news sites. Total disconnection from the loop. Could this Loser make it through a week? Let’s find out.
Logged out of Facebook and deleted the app from my phone so that I won’t be tempted by notifications. I am free! Free! This is the best thing ever! I am determined to see this through. I will find my inner peace. No more noise.
Ten minutes later: I wonder who’s online? Doh! I deleted Facebook. That’s right, I’m off social media. Determined face. Thirty minutes later: I wonder if anyone’s commented on my post about my social media detox? Doh! I deleted Facebook. And Messenger. Wow, my phone is suddenly irrelevant. It’s a useless brick! I mean, who actually CALLS anyone any more? Okay, let’s go wash the dishes. Fifteen minutes later: I wonder what’s on the news? Doh! I’m not checking the news this week. A week seems like a long time….
That was a refreshing sleep. Reaches for phone. I wonder what’s been happening on Facebook? Damn, brain! You’re not checking Facebook. Hello? How many times do I have to remind you? Breakfast time – think I’ll listen to a personal development podcast, go work on my Happy. Notifications begin to crop up on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Ooh, temptation. Not tempted. Nope. I’ll move the icons onto the next screen so I can’t see the notifications. There, problem solved. That was easy! I am Winning at Willpower™. I am the bestest. Smug face.
I feel so calm and at peace and virtuous. I can do this. The invisible thread connecting me to the internet has dissolved. I am myself, alone with my own thoughts. I don’t have a clue what’s going on in the outside world and I don’t care! I am the Queen of Serene™. I am focused, I have clarity, I am motivated to achieve goals I have set for the week. You go, girl! RAWR! Ten minutes later: Dammit, brain! Stop composing messages to friends. Concentrate. Why you no love me? I will defeat you, damn you! Returns to task at hand and refocuses. That’s more like it. I wonder what’s going on in the outside world? Hah! Don’t care. This is awesome.
I’m borrrrreeeeddddd. I want something to read while I have lunch but I don’t want to hold a book. First world problems. I wanna check the Nettttt. Sadface. Ah! Kindle E-Book – problem solved. Not social media, not news, doesn’t break the rules of the detox. Winner winner chicken dinner! Twenty minutes later: Wow! I have had a brainwave! I am going to start a new blog! Oooh, I’m so excited! I’m going to make notes in my phone while I do house chores. Ah, my phone still has a use. I still love you, my little glowing friend.
I miss my online friends but I don’t miss the tsunami of mental input they put out. Does that make me a bad friend? Does that make me selfish or is that self-care? Hmm, I still need to work out some of these self-help principles. I feel much less tired now that my mind has slowed down and focused on one thing at a time. I think I’ll keep this up. I like not being the internet’s bitch. Happy face/Smug face. And I have this cool idea for a new blog (and I want to tell people about it but I can’t because…. detox. Doh!)
This week is dragging. I want to go online and post about my plans for a blog. I’m so excited! Why did I say a week? Gah! Detox sux. Except I feel really good and clear and peaceful. Detox rox! I’m kinda conflicted. No, it rocks. It really rocks.
I made it. Phew! Blimey, I was so busy getting on with all the things I was doing I didn’t realise the week was up. I’m a day overdue! Ahahahaa! I WON! I BEAT THE INTERNET! In your face, Social Media. I don’t need you! You are not the boss of me!
Loser: 1 Internet: 0
Happiness Objective: Achieved
Now don’t get me wrong, I see the irony in posting on social media about detoxing from social media. However, I have broken the habit of checking regularly throughout the day to see who’s on and what’s been posted. I check out notifications, scroll for about thirty seconds, check out my friends’ pages to see what they’ve posted and then I’m out. If I see something I disagree with, I don’t post my opinion but instead let it pass by. I am using Facebook responsibly. Likewise with Twitter and Pinterest. And I don’t message people every day or lurk to see who’s on. In short, I have a much healthier relationship to social media and the news. I still haven’t checked out the news. You can call it head in the sand, I call it knowing my limitations. Constant negativity makes me anxious and unhappy, so I am choosing not to engage. The goal here is to successfully Happy, after all.
Happiness Tip: Our use of the internet is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. If you’re using it as a distraction, avoidance, numbing or as company to the extent that you’re neglecting other areas of your life or your self-care then it’s likely that somewhere in your life a need isn’t being met and it probably revolves around your feelings about yourself. It’s not enough to detox, you’re likely to fall back into the habit unless you get to the cause of your avoidance. My desire to detox came off the back of a realisation that I wanted to achieve more with my life than merely tread water and post opinions on current affairs on social media. I decided to invest my time in me and this gave me the determination to kick the habit. If you feel the same way, you might like to take a look at the areas of your life that you are avoiding. It’s likely that the emotions around those areas are the ones you most need to deal with. I’ve been doing just that and this blog is the result, and in this blog I will cover all the issues I can think of that will help us all learn together How To Happy.
See you soon, ta ta for now.