Since enduring the election (and some minor heartbreak during the holiday season), I’ve found myself continuously abusing The Worldwide Bloodstream—namely Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—despite the fact that it only exacerbates my mood. My news feeds have literally been “feeding” my negative emotions about current affairs, and allowing me to stew in a pool of bitterness about my personal life. I became literally ill from the constant checking, refreshing, investigating… subtweeting. It also seemed like almost everything I was reading was on some preachy, judgy shit; I realized I was digging through the bullshit in desperate search of something uplifting, positive or genuinely funny. That’s when I realized I needed a break from social media, and to be more present to find gems of hope IRL. So for the holiday break I decided to go on a social media cleanse, if you will. I deleted the Twitter and Instagram apps from my phone and I vowed to stay off Facebook (since I’d already deleted that one), unless it was for research or to share my work.
Instead of scrolling my Twitter timeline whenever I’m bored or there’s a gap in between activities, here are seven things I’m doing with my time instead:
1. Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Usually when I start winding down for the night I crawl in bed with my laptop and put on some Netflix, and then begin the neverending scroll-and-refresh pattern on Twitter until I fall asleep with my laptop open and expose my sleeping body to cancer-causing radiation. But since giving up social media a few days ago I’ve been actually reading. Like, reading a book.
I picked up Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from Bridge City Comics on N. Mississippi, and it’s been great to crack it open, hop aboard the Hogwartz Express, and get back to the wizarding world via the lives of Harry, Hermione and Ron’s children. I’m still only about 50 pages in, but it’s proven to be a great escape already.
2. Playing Phase 10 with My Family
Did anyone else (and their college roommates) used to be obsessed with Phase 10? Cause I totally forgot about that card game until I came across a pack while Christmas shopping a couple weeks ago. And on Christmas night I busted that bad boy open and taught my family how to play. It was a nice alternative to what we normally do late on Christmas after all the presents have been opened: usually just milling around the house, eating leftovers and taking turns napping in front of the TV. Phase 10, while it can take a couple hours to complete, turned out to be a fun family activity. I recommend making some cocktails before you start.
3. Watching Westworld
I had already tried to watch this show on one other occasion, but it wasn’t until my little brother put it on over the weekend that I got into it, and I was surprised to find myself hooked by the end of the first episode. Now I have yet another new show to distract myself from falling victim to toxic posts and fake news. Although I do have a feeling this show is going to be like A.I. Artificial Intelligence, make me feel disgusted with the human race, and passionately against the creation of life-like robots in the future. (We’re just going to give them artificial emotions and pain and then oppress and brutalize them!? What’s the point?!) But anyway, the show is intriguing and I now see what all the fuss is about.
4. Maintaining a Base Level High
My Trump-supporting grandpa came to Christmas this year, so I knew in advance I would need to keep myself sedated for those 48 hours. When I walked into my parents’ house on Christmas Eve and saw that my grandpa had the nerve to turn on Fox News, I kindly asked my mother to reprimand him and then began the self-medication process. I mostly used my brand new WHO? vape pen with the euphoric Jilly Bean strain cartridge, since it’s very discrete and I could hit it in the house without any family members being bothered by (or noticing) my smoke plumes. My brother and I also made some cannabis-spiked hot chocolate, which was as festive as it was effective.
5. Getting Ready for New Years
Now that Christmas is over it’s time to solidify the New Years Eve plans. I’m hosting a party for NYE, so I’ve been using my newfound free time to map-out what snacks, beverages and party favors I want to serve, and how I should decorate my apartment. Which brings me to my next point…
6. Donating Shit I Don’t Need
Now that I’ve been sufficiently spoiled with Christmas gifts, I must make room in my tiny apartment for all my new stuff! The week off from work and social media is liberating because now there’s actually time to clean out my closet full of items that aren’t cute enough for 2017, and free-up floor space by making that long overdue Goodwill donation.
7. Started Thinking About a Fitness Plan for 2017. (Just Thinking About It.)
Since it’s still technically the holidays (and there’s lots of drinking to be done on NYE), there’s no need to get carried away. I’m not going to start getting my life together until I absolutely have to: January 1st, 2017. However, the time is now to start deciding on some realistic New Years Resolutions (some of you might call them lifestyle changes) and researching what gyms, yoga studios, and healthy habits I should align myself with. But first let’s make sure to eat every last piece of fudge, cookie, and homemade leftovers so we can leave 2016 with no regrets.
Beyond all this hyperproductivity, it’s just been really nice to be alone with my thoughts lately without feeling the need to share them, or seek interaction from others on the Internet. I’ll be back (because I sincerely love Twitter), but this break is helping me reevaluate my strained relationship with social media.