A huge thanks to American Express for sponsoring today’s post.
I’m so honored to be teaming up with one of my absolute favorite brands to work with, American Express, on their “Live Life Moments” campaign and help spread the importance of actually living your life — connecting with others in a meaningful way. I think this campaign is timed perfectly — I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a long time, so I’m antsy to share my thoughts and struggle with the online world I’ve become so immersed in, and my goal of being more present in everyday life.
When I started this blog a little under 7 years ago, Instagram hadn’t really even exploded yet, so blogging really was just — blogging. With time, I started to create social media channels for Oh So Glam to support and grow my blog’s audience — first, Facebook and Pinterest, then I created a separate Twitter account, and then came Instagram. Fast forward to 7 years later — I’m still running my blog (and trying to post a few times a week), creating content for my Oh So Glam Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages, sending out my bi-weekly email newsletter with exclusive content, and mixing it up on Instagram by posting the “highlights” of my life over on my Instagram feed, and sharing more content on my Instagram Stories. I have also made it a priority to respond to comments and DM’s in a timely manner — after all, if a reader takes time out of their day to comment, I feel like I owe a response, or even a simple “thank you.” And, that’s just MY content. In order to succeed on Instagram — you have to engage with other people’s content. Instagram rewards those most active with their platform, so I set aside time each day (at multiple points) to scroll through Instagram, like and comment on photos, watch stories, and find new accounts to follow.
While I would never in a million years complain that this has become my full-time job, I sometimes find myself feeling overdone — overexposed, over-critical of myself, and tired of looking at a screen and trying to be “on” all the time. And the kicker is — I don’t even feel like I’m on social media nearly as much as everyone else. My peers can somehow manage to be on social media at all points of the day, even first thing in the morning… always commenting on photos, sharing every second of their lives on Stories. When I see that, it’s hard to not compare myself — the over-critical part feeling starts to creep back in and I start to feel a sense of guilt mixed with self-doubt. It’s a vicious cycle and nothing ever seems like it’s enough. It’s something I’ve struggled with on and off for years, something I’ve expressed here more than a few times, and something I am constantly working on. And this is tough for me — a woman in my thirties. I cannot even fathom what it must be like to grow up in this new social media world. I feel like my age group just scathed by — we got to use social media for all the fun stuff, but missed growing up surrounded by it.
My husband, Raja, is very well aware of these issues. In fact, he’s a huge advocate for “no screen time” moments and creating real moments for us to recharge. Even if they’re little — watching a movie and not picking up our phones the entire time, setting our phones in the other room while we’re having dinner so we can actually TALK with one another — every little bit helps and actually makes me feel MORE connected than I do with social media. Although it’s definitely a work-in-progress and doesn’t happen as often as it should, just being aware has helped tremendously — it’s so important to spend quality time with each other, or with our friends/family… without disruptions and distractions.
Here are a few of our secrets that have helped us recently:
Download a social media tracking app. I recently downloaded an app that actually tracks how often you are on your phone. I let it run for a few days and checked back without even thinking and OMG, I was on my phone WAY TOO MUCH. Let’s just say — it was longer than a workday. What I love about the goal of these social media tracking apps is that’s it’s not to limit PRODUCTIVE screen time — it’s to help you understand your habits that are unproductive — you know, when you’re just scrolling aimlessly through Instagram not even really grasping what you’re looking at.
Create a designated “no screen” location in your home. We’re a little limited with outdoor space in our current home, but we’ve been wanting a bistro table to just be able to sit outdoors with a coffee or beverage for awhile. We’ve been hesitant in investing in any additional furniture for our current place — but decided that we would get it this spring to get the most use of it. As soon as we had a nice spring day, we made a “no screen” rule and set out to our yard to enjoy some wine and apps outdoors! This is our own little sanctuary we created for ourselves and we’re planning to spend as much time as possible out here just enjoying each other’s company.
Don’t read on a device or tablet. I absolutely LOVE to read and always have. It’s one of the best hobbies I’ve ever gotten into and I can fly through books if I allow myself the time — sometimes, two a week! I’ve always been an avid BOOK reader and would take out books from the library for the longest time. With a busier schedule and lots of travel, I ended up caving and started purchasing and renting books for my iPhone or iPad. BIG MISTAKE. Reading is supposed to be an escape… a treat. The only way I can truly escape and actually READ for pleasure is to read an actual book with pages. Plus, the smell of books always gets me!
Capture now, share later. This doesn’t come without a little guilt, but I’ve found that it’s the best way to do both. My work is my life and my life is my work — I’m supposed to be sharing my day with you all because that’s why you’re reading this very blog. When I can’t completely disconnect, I can at least control WHEN I can share. I’ve been better about just taking candid photos and videos, and then when I have a little downtime, will edit and press publish to share.
What are some ways you connect and recharge with the ones you love?! Do you have any tips for social media overload?! Would LOVE to hear your thoughts below!