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… .
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… .