If you follow me on Instagram you might know I took a bit of break a couple of weeks ago. I woke up one Monday morning and everything was just wrong from the get go. Do you ever get that? I know every day is supposed to be a new day, but some days you just wake up and know it’s going to be an off one. I’m slowly learning that on those days it’s okay to just do what you gotta do to get through. Whether that be staying in bed all day, distracting yourself with work, or eating what feels like the entire contents of your kitchen.
On this morning I tried to just go through the motions getting ready for work in the hope that the intense anxiety I woke up with would just go away. But it didn’t. On my way to work things escalated and I started to have an anxiety attack. I couldn’t catch my breath and my thoughts were going round in circles. I’ve spoken about what it feels like to experience anxiety previously here. I was worrying about things that I had no sane reason to, it was like my mind was sending out feelers into my life, searching for any seed of doubt to latch onto and drag under the spotlight.
Getting into work I was still hoping that I would calm down, or that at least work would distract me enough to jolt me back into the real world. It didn’t. It just made me feel guilty because I couldn’t focus enough to get any work done. Does anyone else find themselves staring into space for periods of time, completely oblivious to anything else around you? I feel like there’s something so wrong with me when this happens. Why can’t I just be one of those people that can power through and get shit done? Why can’t I keep it together? If only I could channel all the energy that goes into these thoughts into my work, I’d be a bloody powerhouse lol.
Somehow I reached the end of the day, don’t ask me because I really don’t know. I wasn’t productive at all, you can be sure of that. Back home I tried everything to try and recalibrate. I exercised, cooked a good meal, tried watching TV and getting lost in Instagram. But that just made it worse. Even though I know there is an amazing community online, it was just bringing me more angst. I wasn’t doing enough, I had to be keeping up somehow. I felt like I wasn’t ‘killing it’ and I started to spiral about things that just don’t matter in the real so world. So I deleted Instagram and went offline.
As soon as it was gone from my phone I just felt lighter. I stopped thinking about and comparing myself to other people and turned my focus inward. Over the rest of the week I was shocked and saddened by how often I reached for my phone throughout the day instead of focusing on what was right in front of me. How did we get to the point where so much of our day is spent scrolling mindlessly on a screen? I’m not saying there isn’t a place for social media, in fact I’m a strong advocate for it. But one thing I learned over my week away from it is that we need to more aware of the role it can play in our mental health, particularly those who may struggle with it.
I had so much more time on my hands to do those self care activities which only took a matter of minutes, but they were usually minutes spent watching other people live their lives. I made the time to do a face mask, incorporate more movement into my day, read a book before bed, and to just be! The best part was that I slept better than I had in weeks because I wasn’t spending my final waking moments looking at a screen. And do you know what? I didn’t feel like I was missing out. Not once did I wonder what that particular celebrity or fitness blogger was up to. And it was so very freeing.
One thing I did miss though, was connecting with you guys. I’ve been struggling a bit with my endo on the decline again and I couldn’t wait to reconnect with you. Honestly, this was one of the few reasons why I decided to return. I was so close to just shutting it down completely. We should never care more about what the rest of the world is doing than what is going on in our own lives. I was scared of losing the connection with myself that I was finally starting to get back. So, I decided to put just a few simple guiding principles in place:
- No phone in the hour before bed unless I was having a needed direct conversation with someone.
- Limit any phone use while in the company of others,
- Focus on sharing meaningful and positive content (not necessarily one and the same mind you).
- Only follow those who are truly contributing something to myself and make me feel good about myself.
I know I’m not perfect and life will get in the way of these at some point. But by following these I have already found myself on my phone less and less. And just as importantly, I don’t worry about it and I don’t feel myself missing it. I am not anxiety free but I feel more in control than I was before the time away. Making more time for myself, my thoughts, and focusing on what is it front of me at any given moment has made all the difference.
Thank you for sticking with me through this post. I really wanted to share it for those of you who may be having a tough time with their anxiety or mental health at the moment. Let me know if you’ve tried a digital detox before and if it worked for you. Would you be interested in hearing more about how I get through and recover from anxiety attacks? Please let me know!
Wishing you all the best for the week ahead,