I’ll admit, the new year has gotten off to a rocky, painful start for me with illness and loss.
Last month I said good-bye to my grandma, someone who was (and always will be) very special to me. She lived with my family while we were growing up, and I had a uniquely close relationship with her through every stage of our lives. I can’t imagine the days ahead, and my wedding, without her there.
Grief is an unpredictable thing to work through, and I’ve found myself feeling lost, impatient, exhausted and sad throughout the last several weeks.
The added (albeit trivial) context of being sick with the flu, hospital tests, missing many days in the office and suffering through extreme winter weather have all challenged me mentally and physically. For weeks I stayed quiet on social media, neglected wedding planning and took time to support family.
A funny thing happened, to be honest. I started to notice my Instagram feed and wedding groups on social media to be verging on painful – the impossibly perfect photos, the shallow promotions and the vacuum of contrived aspiration and materialism (to get a little dark for a second).
To be clear, I absolutely adore blogs and digital media – I love taking photos, writing, gramming … all of it! I find these spaces to be uplifting and engrossing.
But it can’t be overstated: being a conscious consumer of social and digital media means knowing when to step back, when to re-engage, and when to unfollow. Tuning in to these phases is a critical element of self-care, especially since we’re living in a time when our very feelings and experiences are being digitally archived and played out. I think my little retreat has done me some good, and I’m continuing to look critically at what’s in my feed each day – does it improve my energy or suck it away from me?
I’m definitely not pioneering these ideas – I’ve taken inspiration and food for thought from so many of the influencers that I follow. There’s been an interesting upswing in dialogue about the power of our feeds, and general social media behaviour lately – from Cassie Johnston, to Collin Kartchner, to Jera Foster-Fell to Lee Hersh. It’s encouraging to see people talking about how online comments, validation, negativity and “aspirational” bombardment affect us all.
I’d love to know your thoughts: Do your emotions affect the way you produce or consume content on social media? Do you dial it up and dive right in, or scale back? Whatever you may be going through, I hope you take the time to figure out what’s best for you; whether it’s a Pinterest binge, a 10-hour podcast bender (I may have some recent experience here, heh heh…) or a total hiatus.
As for me, I’m finally moving forward with the year. I’ve been enjoying getting back online and having fun again planning the wedding with my fiancé, (which is only 5 ½ months away!) I’m reaffirming my commitment to be as present as possible for all of the events to come in the months ahead. I’ve been reminded lately how precious and fleeting each day is. We all spend a lot of it looking down!
So just a reminder that it’s okay to be eating unphotogenic, repetitive meals; to be busy sweating through your workouts instead of capturing them; to be making memories instead of media.
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