My Month Off Media: Final Thoughts
Today is the day! It is time I end my media fast. It brought me some interesting thoughts that I’d like to share with you.
Down with Facebook! I found that I like not being on it quite so much. Letting the notifications pile up allowed me to see them for what they are: work for an online corporation that I put in for free. While I very much enjoy keeping in touch with friends, it has been useful to challenge my Facebook habits and I think I will keep this mode of more distanced engagement.
Less emotional upset. Thanks to my media fast I read less articles, political and otherwise. While I always enjoyed reading such content, in recent months I realised that it was taking a toll on my emotional state. The endless arguments on Twitter definitely raise my blood pressure and the Someone Is Wrong On The Internet syndrome is something I am happy to do without. So while I still read the odd article, there is less of it and I’m able to choose to engage, rather than devouring the contents of my timelines.
Really missed Netflix. Chilling with an episode of something Netflix-adjacent is definitely my preferred mode of relaxation. I also have favourite YouTube channels that I have craved! Having said that, when I was approaching burnout in the last months of 2018, watching this stuff functioned as a brain candy of sorts: it would help me not think about the immediate problems, but wouldn’t solve any of them. Disengaging has been helpful.
Haven’t read many books. I found that relaxing with an actual book is a thing I struggle to let myself to do. Somehow doing stuff on the screen, even if I’m reading, feels more like work and therefore more “allowed”? That feeds into a bigger phenomenon of giving myself permission to rest and switch off. The things I did read, I ended up bingeing, disrupting my sleep schedule. I sense that my next project will be devoted to my relationship with the written word.
Listened to some podcasts and albums. I didn’t have time to listen as much as I wanted to, but I definitely enjoyed listening to a curated album or playlist (although I had to be offline for that, even Spotify Premium sneaks in recommendations, thanks very much!). I also ventured into listening to podfic (podcast of a fanfic) and very much enjoyed that.
Paid close attention to my favourite newsletters. It was pretty good to actually read those; I signed up for newsletters to learn things and it feels good to follow through on that!
I learnt how to use Pixlr, a new photo editing app. Which is kind of fun, but I know I did it because I wanted something to do on my phone…. screen-free time is definitely a work in progress!
I wrote some fun poetry! It was definitely easier to write it in the first week of the challenge, but poetry has happened and there are plans for more of it… .
I was desperate for something to do on the Tube!
Somewhere along the way, I did my taxes, had friends over for a vegan brunch and turned thirty two: my life hasn’t suffered from my media intake choices, I just filled my time differently. I managed to make some important life decisions such as scaling back on work and choosing to focus on certain creative projects over others. Still ahead of me: citizenship debacle, not to mention Brexit itself. But for now, I will try and relax. It’s my birthday weekend, there is a certain someone who will cook me dinner tonight and my media fast is officially over. I’m not guaranteeing anything, mind you – but it might be time for Netflix and chill… .