That’s what I shared to my Facebook and Instagram feeds this morning. Is it the July heat and humidity that is making me so edgy and irritable? Is everyone feeling this way? All I know is that the intolerance, disrespect for others, stereotyping, and name calling has reached a maximum level of ridiculous for me lately and I’m starting to react in kind. I need to step away and take breather. I need to find my light so to speak.
There are things I’m doing that are not helping my attitude. The first of which is that I’ve been checking my social media first thing in the morning. I have learned in the past that this is not a healthy practice for me. I used to leave my phone at my desk until I read for an hour and had my first sips of that glorious caffeinated love some call coffee. I need to reestablish that habit! Messages can wait. I’m not an emergency room surgeon.
For a long time, I was only posting and checking my comments once or twice a day, usually over breakfast and lunch. I would put my phone to bed at dinnertime. But lately, I have made some new friends that want to chat over text in the evenings after work, so I have had my phone nearby. That’s fine, but I find myself spending the in between moments scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, shooting off immediate comments, and looking for something entertaining, instead of paying attention to the story we are watching or finishing the socks that I started. That might be fine from time to time, but I feel like the more I do it, the more negativity and ugliness I see and the more that seeps into my day and colors my own posts and comments…which triggers a downward spiral. Also, not healthy for me.
It’s fascinating to me how easily old habits can creep back into my life and take precedence over the newer, healthier habits I’ve worked so hard to establish. If I’m not careful, my whole emotional life can get messy pretty quickly. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve started to feel that pull downward, and only the past couple of days (since the heat hit) that I have felt it begin to accelerate into the nasty urge to lash out and retaliate. I felt it culminate this morning when I read a message and couple comments before I even took my first sip of coffee. That’s when I put it down and thought, “What am I doing?!” Luckily that was before I responded too harshly…I think.
Progress? Maybe. Writing this I realize that I seem to have learned a new trick of awareness. My morning meditation has taught me to notice when I stop focusing on my breath and start thinking. When my mind wanders, I don’t get frustrated, I just become aware of the switch and move back to what I wanted to focus on, my breath. I feel like that’s what I’m doing today. I noticed the change in attitude and I’m moving back to what I want to focus on, my immediate surroundings, my peace of mind, my heart.
What to do? What to do?
The trick is having my phone around for useful things like taking a picture, looking up words, or receiving an important text like my son needs me to pick him up. I don’t NEED it, but I want it. It makes my life easier. I also don’t NEED a social media app on my phone, but I want them so that I can read an article while I wait for something, share an awesome podcast I just heard, or entertain myself for a few moments with my friends’ fun posts. I also enjoy being the online friend that posts fun pictures!
How do I use my new found awareness here?
Just sitting here writing this, I can see my phone sitting on the coffee table. Several times I’ve gotten a bit stuck with what to write next and thought to reach over to it. I didn’t. That’s progress. Right?
How did I get that picture of it? My son walked by and I asked him if could use his phone to take the visual aid and message it to me! He looked at me strangely and acquiesced. When the text came through, I was tempted but I didn’t pick up the phone to see it. I know what it was and how I would use it, but I didn’t need it right at that moment. I knew that if I picked it up, I’d open Facebook just to see if that…person…replied to my comment. Then I’d have to see if there is a cute picture on Instagram and a whole “If you give a mouse a cookie…” scenario would begin! So I left it alone. I’ll add the picture to the post later. Right now, I’m thinking.
I thought of one device that I’m going to start using more deliberately from now on, my FitBit. I have the new one that alerts me to messages. The reason I pick up my phone and check it is because I worry that I might have an actual urgent message to respond to. What if my Mom needs me? What if one of the kids has important news? What if a friend is in trouble? Honestly though, wouldn’t they call? But what if they don’t? So my watch goes off and I can see if it’s just a friend saying hello and remember that I can answer that later. My fingers have no other buttons to push, so I easily switch back to my immediate surroundings, my family, and my peace. It’s a great way to avoid the habit, like not going to bars where one used to drink too much.
It’s now been about twenty-four hours since I posted my closed sign and I’m feeling a bit better. I didn’t stay away the whole day. I shared my blog post and replied to a couple of comments, but I did spend considerably less time scrolling, which is an improvement. This morning I woke up wondering if I should continue my limited involvement. I mean, how “temporary” are we talking here? I’m not making rule about it. I think I’ll just see how it goes. If I have a minute, I’ll check it out. If I feel negative about it, I’ll walk away. I sure wish I didn’t have to use my own willpower though. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an app on your phone that asked you some screening questions and then delayed your posts and comments if the answers pointed to a bad attitude? I’ll just put that idea out there. Someone make it! I’ll be your first tester!