This has been the worst summer ever for me. Ask my kids and I’m sure they’ll agree. Sure we have done a few fun things like painting rocks, going to a splash pad and making ice cream. But we have also had endless days of me yelling all day, sitting around watching the same Disney episodes for literally hours on end, and just plain not enjoying life.
Yesterday was a breaking point for me. Like most of the days this summer, I spent the first three hours doing laundry and finishing up my freelance writing and weeding the yard. Around noon, I took my usual two hour nap. It’s a time when I just lay in bed coming out every two seconds to break-up a fight. At 3:30 pm, I instructed my kids to all go to their room for one hour. There were just too loud and whiny and I literally could not handle it. And, if I want to be real, I also popped my two (prescribed) anti-anxiety pills throughout the day just to stay chill… they didn’t work. By the time my husband was home, I was in tears.
This is how I have been spending my days. I am in a new, fantastic house. I get to spend my time with three kind, hilarious and always-entertaining children. I don’t have to worry about when my next meal will be or a broken marriage or violence in my neighborhood. I am so fortunate yet I am so miserable.
After my husband talked me off the ledge, I started pouring out my worries and fears and problems …
I am not a good enough mom.
My blog will not be successful. I will not be successful.
I have too many things I have to do.
My mind is scattered all day.
I always feel like I have to post something here and here and don’t forget here… all day long.
I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to begin my day.
I feel a lot of guilt when I am not doing something “productive.”
I love being home with the kids but I hate it too.
I don’t know how to “get” happy.
The crazy thing is that each of these are matters of the mind and not a physical circumstance. Remember that I’ve always said “It’s never about the stuff”. Everything that is hurting me is based on my own perception of my life. I have to change my behaviors to change my attitude to change my life.
My hands-down biggest depression trigger is the online world. For some reason, it makes me feel a little like a fraud. Like I am not living my authentic life… the life I want for my family. As many of you know, I have been down a path towards minimalism for nearly two years now. For me that means embracing a more simplistic life. Getting back to the basics… living how people lived before the digital age. Taking what was good and wholesome and family-orientated and making it “hip” again.
This has included not allowing my kids to play the tablet or phone, inviting people over for backyard BBQ’s, hanging laundry on a clothesline to dry, fewer toys, having family game night, cooking most of our meals from scratch, buying secondhand instead of always buying new, having less clothes in the closet, and more.
Did you know that we are exposed to over 3,000 – 5,000 advertisements in one day. Back in the 1970’s, it was 500 – 2,000. I don’t want buy into what the media and this often-shallow world tells me I should want. I’ll take the exact opposite, thank you very much.
But it’s hard to do that when you spend so much of your day on the Internet, more importantly on social media. Social media has SO MANY positives. But it also a lot of negatives too including comparing yourself to others, wasting time, and getting lost in the endless spiderweb of the online world. Social media and the rest of the online world was getting the best of me and my family (my life) was getting the worst.
Have you ever heard of decision fatigue? It’s a real thing. It happens when we have too many choices to choose from. Or we have too many decisions to make too often. This has been happening a lot to me lately. I work basically online – blogging, freelance writing, and freelance website work. So when you add to that social media and online shopping and checking emails, I am on the internet all day long. It’s not a very happy or healthy life to live. And, worst of all, I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I could because I was getting off track with the tons of decisions I had to make.
Yesterday I decided it was time to make a shift in my behavior. And that shift starts today. I am going to take a break from those online distractions that are making me unhappy. My goal is to do this for the month of August but, if it’s successful, I can see myself going much longer. What does this mean? For me, it means greatly reducing or eliminating certain online activities.
What I’m Quitting
Interaction on all social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat (both personal & The Decluttering Queen)
Looking up mindless facts online (like “who was that actor that played on that one show”)
Messaging through Facebook
Selling stuff on buy, sell, trade sites
Researching how to build “the best blog” and “gain 100,000 followers in one day”
Taking a break from a side gig I committed to
What I’m Keeping
Blogging on The Decluttering Queen (you just will need to visit often or subscribe to the blog to see the latest news!)
Checking driving directions or weather online
Paying bills & checking account balances
Basic research for my freelance writing work, journal project and blog
What I Want to Accomplish
Posting more meaningful, useful posts on my blog
Finishing the Give it to God journal project with my two collaborators
Keeping up with my freelance writing work
Spending more time with my kids both in the day-to-day and doing fun activities
Making my house more my home (painting, lawn work, decorating, & decluttering of course!)
Taking time to spend moments with my husband every day
Growing my personal organization business
Eating and living more healthy
Doing more freezer meal workshops
Taking time to scrapbook – my favorite hobby
Training for a relay marathon (I will be running somewhere between 5-6 miles with a team in mid-September)
Time for prayer & meditation
What Terrifies Me
Stalling the growth of my blog
Not being able to make meaningful connections with my readers online
Missing out on what’s going on through Facebook
Not being able to come up with my own ideas without the help of Pinterest
Missing my new scrapbooking friends on Instagram
Still finding myself unhappy
What I Hope to Gain
Better clarity on which direction I should head professionally
Peace – I need more peace, serenity, & calmness in my life
A happier home life for my entire family
A feeling of accomplishment on the progress of my home remodeling projects
A healthier body & mind
Closer connection to God
One of my biggest fears is that I will lose the connection with you guys, my readers. How can I make the decision to not go on Facebook or Instagram but still expect you to read about what I have to say? All I can hope is that through my disconnection to the virtual world, I can offer more real life experiences and better ideas on how you can declutter your homes and your hearts. This was my mission from the beginning and I’ve been too distracted with others things to focus on it lately.
So here’s the BIG question I have for you? Would you like join me in getting offline in August?
I know, it’s a big commitment. It’s scary. But what if there is a happier life waiting for you and you only needed to make one change to enjoy it? Would you take the chance? If so, message me your email and I promise we will be in this together. While we may not be connecting on Facebook, we can email back and forth sharing our triumphs and our struggles.
If you’re not sure yet make sure to check back on my blog often. I will be sharing my journey with you along with what I hope to be fantastic and beyond amazing posts! Hope… that is something I haven’t felt for a long time and it makes me smile!