Next Wednesday, I’m heading up to the Lake District to spend five days over Christmas with my family. I’ll be putting my first ever “out of office” email on as a blogger. I also won’t be tweeting, instagramming (if that’s even a word!) or snapchatting. Last year, I still went on social media over Christmas. It was nice to check in with what festivities people were getting up to. I never thought I’d step away from it completely.
This year, I am. Usually, when I take a break, I still read emails, respond to comments and check social media. Some of you will think that’s totally natural. Some of you won’t. It’s all about personal preference.
But the reason I see people not taking a step back from social media during this time of year is for fear. And more specifically, the fear of missing out (FOMO). It’s something we’re all familiar with as bloggers.
When I went to France for a week in June with Tom, I had that fear. Coming back and going on the internet again for the first time in seven days felt like a really long time. And I had missed out on a lot.
But was that more important than the time I got to spend with Tom? No. Because I fear on missing out on time with him more
Social media has become so natural. It’s become something that’s just part of our routine. We check it without thinking. It’s become a source of communication for us. Don’t get me wrong – I love it. I honestly really enjoy checking in with you all on social media and having a chat. I'm grateful for the community on there.
But I think it’s important to have boundaries in place. Because it can start affecting everything
In France during the Summer, Tom and I ate out for tea every night. We barely touched our phones for seven days. In one restaurant, we were sat outside when a couple was brought over to the table next to us. They sat down and the first thing they did was get their phones out. They then sat on their phones until we left, and we’d only got there about ten minutes before.
When they ordered, when they were waiting, when they were eating – they were on their phones the whole time and they didn't speak to each other once.
It was one of the most awkward situations I've ever been in.
That’s when you need boundaries in place. For me and Tom, we never use our phones when we’re having a meal, whether we’re eating out or eating at home. If we want to take a picture of it that’s OK, as long as we do that and nothing else.
That story is on a much smaller scale than removing yourself from social media for a week, but the message is still the same. They were obviously so involved with their virtual communities, that they couldn't miss out on anything. Even if they were supposed to be spending time with each other.
To me, that is not OK.
What are you doing now in fear of missing out on things? What boundaries are you ignoring? Can you see areas of your life where you need to disconnect from life online?
I bet the answer to that last question is yes.
The point of this post isn't to tell you to take a break over Christmas and for how long. That part is completely up to you. But I'm giving it a go, and I’ll let you know the outcome. From Wednesday until Sunday next week, I’ll be protecting my boundaries and making them really important.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO REALISE THIS NOW?
Instead of thinking about a “what I got for Christmas” round up, isn't it more important to actually be grateful and recognise what you get? When I open my gifts on Christmas morning, I want to cherish each one, as I have done for the past 23 years. When I go on a walk with the family, I want to laugh away with them, instead of vlogging about the journey. Instead of taking a picture of my Christmas dinner, I want to give a toast to my Grandma and Granddad, because it’s our first Christmas without them.
Fear of missing out isn't important. Boundaries are. Change your priorities and spend time with who matters this Christmas. Let’s end 2015 in the right way.
What boundaries will you be setting over the festive season? Let's chat in the comments