I’ve decided to take on a different 4-week program, but instead of my usual theme – food – I’m tackling a new area: social media, screen time and in-person interaction.
The program is called More Social Less Media. It’s aim is to get you focused on in-person connections and assess your relationship with technology. The program’s creator, Dallas Hartwig, is one of the co-creators of the Whole30, which is how I learned about it, but it really is separate from the Whole30. This is a recent area of interest for him and is aligned with his background on incorporating behaviour change into a structured program. Fun fact: I found out he also spent his childhood about 35 minutes from where I grew up.
The first two weeks (More Social) of the program are aimed at prioritizing social interactions in real life (not just online or by text). And, when with others, keeping your phone invisible and silent. The last two weeks (Less Media) involve removing yourself from social media and screen-based entertainment. This felt really intimidating at first, but then I quickly remembered that I’ve spent two weeks at a cottage or travelling with little to no screen-based entertainment, and it was blissful. Yes, I love TV, but the shows I enjoy aren’t going anywhere and the break from social media is welcome. The fact I cringed at the idea of the last two weeks told me I’m probably the perfect candidate for this type of program. Also, I started to get excited about all the things I could accomplish when I’m not watching TV or on my phone or iPad.
I am now one week into the program and have already noticed some benefits. I started by turning of the LED light on my phone so it will never blink at me. Then I turned off app notifications – even my gmail – so I won’t be notified of activity. I just have to open the app to see if there is anything new. I also deleted a few apps off my phone. I already feel better with just those changes.
Also, I have had some really high-quality social interactions. In fact, every day. Some one-on-ones (lunch, dinner, walking, etc) and a number of groups. And it has been wonderful. I think it has put me in a better mood overall. Despite being one who loves quiet time, I did feel energized by spending time with people I genuinely enjoy. I think it also makes me appreciate my friendships even more than I already do.
Another bonus is that I have had some good virtual chats as well with those who don’t live nearby. I had a couple of phone calls and some texting, but my mindset was different than before starting the program. It may not be in-person, but it was fostering existing relationships and consciously recognizing the value of doing so.
Although this new experiment of mine isn’t directly related to my angry insides, I think it actually goes really well with the theme of this blog. All part of The Cat Project in which I try new things in the name of self-improvement. And I have no doubt whatsoever that this initiative will have positive impacts on other areas of my life.
I’m looking forward to finding out.