If you happen to follow me on Instagram you may (or may not) have noticed I haven’t posted in a week. If you know me well, Insta is my favorite slice of social media. I started blogging back in 2011 and I believe it was that year that Instagram made its debut. I loved my little blogging/insta community. It was real, raw, and pure. Friends from all over could share their photos instantly with adorable captions. I had so many amazing connections with women over fashion, food, family, husbands, you name it!!
Fast forward to 2018 and my feed was filled with overly airbrushed images, ads to buy something and picture perfect squares of everyone’s perfect lives. I knew that when I would scroll, put the phone down and then only to pick it right back up and scroll again, it wasn’t making me feel good. I kept brushing it off because I still do have some amazing, inspiring and uplifting people that I follow—but that wasn’t how I was left feeling after looking at Instagram.
Instead of feeling empowered, I felt insecure, jealous, envy and literally joy was being sucked out of me. I’d wish that my house was more perfect, that my kids could strike amazing poses for photos and that I must not really be inspiring anyone because, well? To be honest, I was hung up on the numbers. I don’t have 21k followers. Hell, I don’t have 1,000. And I was beating myself up. I must not be helping enough people.
Regardless, I was going through a low point, feeling sorry for myself, oh woe-is-me, playing the victim, and if I’m being brutally honest? I was ready to go to a Dr and ask for a little magical pill that would maybe make me feel happier.
All because of Instagram? No. Absolutely not.
But I can say that taking a little fast from Instagram, helped me quiet my mind, soul and allowed me to truly listen. I have never been addicted to anything, but I believe that I had a problem with incessantly checking this silly app! So once I removed it off my phone, a lot of things happened.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I picked up a book:
This book seemed to speak to me and allow me to reflect on what the hell was going on inside my mind. I didn’t read it cover to cover, but I don’t think that I needed to or was meant to. I got what I needed out of it. People need other people in order to not only survive but also thrive. Staying home I clearly don’t get as much social interaction as I used to when I was a teacher, but somehow I stopped going out pretty much all together. I’d get the groceries. Visit my husband at his work. Do the school drop off/pick up. Take the kids to the occasional park or library. Dance class. But when was the last time I did a mommy meet up? Play date? Had fun with the kids some place other than home?
I immediately decided to take the kids to the Museum of Play that very next day since Brooke had a day off. We had so much fun. While they played in the “Vet clinic” for no joke, 45 minutes, I decided to look up the local gyms in my area. Interestingly enough, the gym I was interested in was having a $1 sign up fee and $20 a month membership. What?! You know what I did? I took immediate action. Why? Because that is how you conquer fear. Anxiety. Stress. You do something. Anything!! After we left the museum I went straight to the gym and signed up. I knew that the classes would be excellent for me, I’d be more social and around happy, energetic and healthy people.
Know what? It’s working.
I’m not saying that medicine is a bad thing; if you honestly need anti-despressants or anti-anxiety meds then definitely take them! I was at my OBGYN’s office Wednesday of last week telling him about how I had been feeling. It seemed to coincide with my monthly cycle. The sadness, crying, overwhelm. He suggested I figure out the root of my problem, come to a solution and execute! If that didn’t work then he obviously suggested that I go and talk to someone and maybe explore medicinal options if need be.
I can’t explain why I was feeling the way I was. I have a beautiful life and everything I have ever dreamed of. I listen to positive podcasts. I read leadership books. I was grateful, writing gratitude lists, trying to cling to anything that seemed to try and help pull me from that funk. The guilt I felt about just not feeling happy or well, was becoming overwhelming and only when I took the bull by the horns and acted upon something did it all change.
While I have only been going to the gym for a week, my body, mind and spirit are in so much better of a place. I feel as though I’ve cleared some cobwebs, decluttered the social media accounts I choose to follow and have really begun to listen to what matters most.
I’ve also started to listen to a little meditation on you tube each morning. Maybe about 10 minutes or so, and I just allow myself some time to wake up and listen to good things. I feel like it helps our crazy morning routines go by with more ease, less stress and certainly more smiles.
As women, we can sometimes take other people’s problems on as our own. It’s our job as a mom to fix boo boos, wipe tears and lend an ear. I tend to be overly empathetic and while I know watching the news isn’t great for me, I didn’t realize how much toxic energy I was absorbing through social media apps.
I’m a little apprehensive in sharing all of this publicly, but as Brené Brown keeps speaking into my ear, the power lies in vulnerability. (I’m currently listening to her newest book, Dare to Lead.) So I suppose I am sharing all of this on my blog so that if you’re feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed or just not happy, I am suggesting that you get quiet. I went and got a pedicure and put my phone down. I read some of a book. I listened to that still small voice that I don’t make enough time for. It’s never too late to start something different. To make one small change. One step leads to so many more. After you get quiet, I also highly suggest you force yourself to work up a sweat. 10, 20 or 30 minutes whatever–get your body moving! Just as we were intended to be social creatures, our bodies crave movement.
I think I’ll be taking more “social media cleanses” and I know that checking myself has done more wonders than I could have imagined. Once I realized that time is our biggest gift and the one thing we can never ever get back, I knew I had to be more strict with my time. Where my time goes, my energy flows.
And of course, in Jenn fashion, there are a few quotes that really resonated with me…
You matter. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are brave. You are real. You are living this one life that is truly a gift. When you fall down, brush yourself off and get back up. You are not a victim; you and you alone are responsible for your happiness. Happiness is your birthright.
All my love,