Typically around the holidays I get a lot of time off. I’ll save 4-5 days of vacation and tag it onto our organizational break between Christmas and New Years. This gives me close to 2 weeks of time off.

This has been known as the veg season. I veg out on movies, food, experiences, and a lot of media. Often I feel exhausted by the end of the break; feeling more like a zombie than refreshed. This year I wanted things to be different, so I took a step.

I decided to log off social media (not media completely) from December 20-January 1. There was one early morning where I woke up and couldn’t sleep so I logged on, but other than that, I was off of it for the most part.

This made the holiday season so much better in several ways and I want to give you my reflections. Here’s why

The coming generation is consumed by social media, and media in general. It’s all they know. As next generation leaders we have to be able to have a healthy relationship with media (I’m talking social media specifically for this article) and pass along necessary tools and habits for the next generation of leaders to succeed.

The coming generation is consumed by social media, and media in general. It’s all they know. As next generation leaders we have to be able to have a healthy relationship with social media and pass along necessary tools and habits for the next generation of leaders to succeed.

But before I give you my reflections, here’s my current relationship with social media:

Social media is vital for my vocation. It’s how I get the word out. Using both my personal and organizational platforms is important as a marketing and promotional tool.

So, how do I use it? First thing in the morning I check social media. I get my morning coffee, sit down in my chair, and check social media. I go to work and check social media. I stop at a stop light and check social media. I go home, wiped from the day, and check social media–because I want to do something mindless. And guess what I do before I go to bed? Check social media. It consumes me.

According to Screen Time on my iPhone, I average 4 hours per day on my phone and a good portion of that screen time is social media.

So setting it aside was no easy task and I realized how much it consumes me and how much I unconsciously check it.

Here are some takeaways from this 12 day break:

It made my marriage better

Olivia told me that the break had been nice because when I got up, she had my attention and not my phone and that was refreshing.

Talk about conviction.

She felt like she had all of me.

I set back and began to consider the high points in our marriage, and they were all during seasons where I decided to take a break from my phone and social media.

To be honest, my phone and social media has become the mistress in the house and my wife has to compete for her attention.

When this stops, my marriage instantly gets better.

I had original thoughts

When I get in the habit of consuming data over and over again it’s really hard for my brain to expand and think because it’s clouded in so much data. As a futuristic thinker, this hamstrings one of the best gifts God has given me.

I really thought that consuming data and being up-to-date would make me more educated, and in a way it did educate me, but it kept me from developing my own thoughts because my brain was exhausted all the time and I believe it led to anxiety.

In short, too much of it keeps me from being me.

For the first time in a long time my brain actually feels fresh and calm. For once, it felt good not to be “up-to-date”. After 12 days FOMO (fear of missing out) was losing it’s appeal.

Sleep was incredible

I have never slept so good in my life (other than the one night and that was because the house felt like a furnace!). I contribute this to a relaxed brain. I had not consumed so much and the proverbial brain plane was able to land, rest, and refuel.

I did not have the anxious thoughts running through my head as I normally do. My wife and I also regularly worked out during this period which certainly helped my sleep.

Over the break I was getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night. I cannot tell you the last time that happened!

I enjoyed the moment

It was so refreshing to enjoy the moment. No posts. No tweets. No pictures. I just took in the holiday moments with family.

This was hard.

FOMO is a real thing. I felt like I needed other people to see my moments and enjoy the moment with me. But I’ve found out that when I do this over and over again I partially rob myself and my family of the moment. I had to check my motivations here. Why did I really want people to enjoy this moment with me? For people to see a version of myself I wanted them to see? For someone whose main life drift is approval, this is a real issue and I had to check myself on it.

Next Steps

I’m not completely getting off of social media. That would not be smart for me. But I will need to put it in it’s proper place and set boundaries for it like I do with everything else.

If we don’t have boundaries, we’ll allow anything and everything to make itself the most important thing in our life which will not leave room for the most important things in our life.

If we don’t’ have boundaries, we’ll allow anything and everything to make itself the most important thing in our life which will not leave room for the most important things in our life.

I don’t have everything figured out yet. I’m not setting hard and fast rules, but I do have motivations now. If I want my marriage to be better, my mind to be fresher, my sleep to be deeper, and to enjoy every moment, I need to set boundaries around social media and my phone.

Creating a healthy boundary in this season gave me increased joy and freedom. I want to be able to pass along the necessary habits and tools to the next generation so they can learn what a healthy relationship with media looks like.

If you have some boundaries you set, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!

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