Rage Against the Machine: The Importance of Unplugging

Because mom needs a vacation from social media every now and then

Pee breaks, walking across the street, paused at a stop-light, browsing the grocery store, and even while cramming chocolate chip cookies down our throats after we finally fling the Keto diet out the window. Every waking moment it seems we are posting, texting, commenting, tweeting, liking, and sharing on social media and other online portals.

Our brain literally never gets a break from the electronic fuzz that consumes our daily lives.

Relaxing in California’s most picturesque wine country, Sonoma County, I tried to detox myself from all the pings, dings, and pews of my cell phone and laptop. For two weeks,  I set out to make my hard-working parents, hilarious brothers, and sisters, my week-old nephew, Jack, and feisty fun nieces, the center of my universe (in addition to my lucky little star, Violet, who was traveling with mommy).

This was challenging to say the least because I have a disease called FoMO. FoMO is a social anxiety characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”

How many of you have FoMO?

Do you check your social media feeds, favorite websites, and the leading news outlets endlessly literally refreshing the screen every two seconds? Do you crave the “new news”, the latest mishap your friend had at work, or the live IG story of your fitness-obsessed friend who is going apeshit trying to convince the world how she is going to help them get fit and fabulous?

Hold on, I need a margarita after that mouthful. BRB.

It’s just so hard to be in the moment nowadays, isn’t it?

While the fear of missing out has always been a thing, the boom of social media has thrown us socially connected butterflies straight into the FoMO experience. Now we can always see what is going on with our peers all. the. time. and in every nook of the world.

Will it ever stop?

No.

Can we escape it?

Read on.

While taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of my old stomping grounds, I tried to take a break from my blog and my social media accounts. I actually scheduled “rest time” in the form of unplugging: 1 hour here, 2 hours there, even a full day. During my time of unplugging, I tried to be fully present with my family, and the beautiful scenery that is Petaluma, California.

Violet and I at La Crema Winery in Russian River Valley
Violet and I at La Crema Winery in Russian River Valley

Was I perfect? Definitely not. I posted an Instagram pic or two while trying to detox. But, more often than not I caught myself and zipped my phone in my purse side-pocket as if a leather dungeon would prevent a future appearance.

Like a muscle, the brain needs recovery time in order to develop and grow; and retain new memories. Google drive rocks, but I’ve got quite a bit more memories I need to cram in my big ol’ noggin.

I know I am still too reliant on my devices. I scroll through Facebook mindlessly instead of folding clothes and I shop on Amazon for stuff I don’t need during commercials (instead of taking advantage of the elliptical next to my couch). I check my email the second my phone dings and reply just as quick.

If any of this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time you try a social media detox.

You don’t have to be drastic. Maybe limit your browsing time on Facebook to one hour a day. Try one day a week where you don’t open the Instagram or Pinterest app. No answering emails on Sundays.

Studies have shown that the more time you spend perusing and posting on a social media site, the more prone you are to develop depression. And, the real kicker, the amount of time you spend on surfing these sites are directly related to whether or not you feel stressed out or happy.

Believe me, even with these small steps you’ll literally feel the weight of comparison and online dramas lifted off your shoulders. You might even remember how much grander life was prior to the clusterfuck of tweets shares, snaps, and pings.

With all this new free time, make sure you are relaxing, enjoying me-time, or giving your complete undivided attention to your kids and family. Being on your phone all the time isn’t healthy for you. Plus, did you know your cell phone addiction can actually cause developmental issues in your child?

Take a break, mama.

Your mind, body, and self will thank you.

You need this more than IG needs an Insta Story.

Have you ever done a digital detox to cleanse your mind? What worked for you?

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Author: Brandi Wiatrak

Hey, Mama! I'm Violet's mom and Chris' step-mama, Brandi. This space is a peek into my cold-brew fueled life navigating motherhood and the world. With brutal honesty, humor, and sarcasm, I talk about the joys (and sucks) of parenting, ways to live a simple & sane life, and awesome adventures to embark on with your family. Come aboard my crazy train! Wine and Gerber Puffs included.

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