I never quite understood the effect social media was having on my mental wellbeing until I took a calculated break from all three of my online presences, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The latter two I simply logged out and ignored, but Facebook I decided to deactivate, at least for a week or two.
In the following days I found myself getting used to the silence of a more "disconnected" day. My inner dialogue no longer included incessant desires to absorb all the new and amazing photographs I might be missing out on, or what my next post might be, which photograph I should use and whether people will even care about it, or even which of my acquaintances was getting married or going overseas.
It sounds so ridiculous to say that ceasing to use social media for a few weeks was one of the best ideas I have had of late. The peace and quiet that followed has been far more enjoyable than the addicting information overload that some of us can experience (by the company's design).
I've been experiencing a lot less anxiety, a lot less mindless chatter in my head, and far more importantly, greater motivation to start executing ideas, connect to people with greater presence as well as get back to those things I have been neglecting, the major one being the novel project I began at the start of the year. I'm writing again and it's a big relief to have gained some traction again.
Reconnecting For The Right Reasons
Today I realised the great impact one of those platforms alone has had on my life as a photographer. The last few years of my time on Instagram has been one of the driving forces behind many of the things I do. It's pushed me to explore street photography, climb mountains in the early hours of the morning and even connect with other passionate photographers and artists.
I've been finding that the few weeks I took off social media altogether has given me a strong perspective on what I really need to use it for, and that is inspiration. Without any input, it's hard to feed the fire that gets me out the door and craving new experiences and opportunities. It really does help.
I decided to prune the list accounts I follow from roughly 200 accounts down to almost half of that, not out of hostility but simply to improve the signal to noise ratio and focus the input on that which will help me.
I feel good, and I feel better for approaching it all with a fresh perspective. Meanwhile, Summer is strange and I can't say I've been making many pictures lately, but here's a few.