I deleted social media off my phone and this is what happened

This mindless scrolling through your feed. I’m sure most of you recognize this. I often find myself opening Twitter or Facebook, without really realizing it. I scroll through my feed and see the same things I already saw once, twice or more. I know that I have this need to keep my brain busy. This is very strange for being hypersensitive to stimuli, but somehow I want to always be reading, watching or listening to something. So I open Twitter. I read people’s tweets, reply, write, then delete because I figure it’s not worth replying. I will be watching a movie or a show on TV or YouTube and simultaneously be scrolling through my Facebook feed, liking pictures. What’s the purpose? Why does my brain always need this distraction? I need more time than the average person to recharge my internal battery but I feel like I don’t make the most out of my alone-time.

90 Days Without Facebook

Years ago I deleted Facebook for the first time since I got an account back in 2008. I did this because it started to consume me. The mindless scrolling. I logged off, changed my profile picture to let everyone know I wasn’t going to be on Facebook for 3 months. I didn’t think I would make it, but I did. And it was easy and eye-opening. I realized how Facebook is not essential, it is something to keep up to date with people. A very mild form of entertainment. When I logged back in, the need to read what everyone was doing was gone.

Be mindful of what you see

But throughout the months and years that followed I realized I fell back into this hole of just mindless scrolling through my feed. Add to this the surge of internet discussions and arguments about presidents, social justice issues, religion, equality, etcetera. I was arguing with people I didn’t know and it made me angry. I didn’t want to be angry all the time. So I decided to minimize my social media. I unfollowed people on Twitter who tweeted a lot of negativity. Who posted tweets that triggered me to be upset, angry or urged me to argue my point. I also muted people, muted certain words and blocked the real bad stuff. I started following people who tweet positive things.

I did the same for Facebook. I unfriended some people who didn’t add anything to my life, but I also unfollowed everybody on Facebook except maybe 10 people, positive people. This meant I didn’t see anything in my feed about any of my Facebook friends. If I really missed someone in my feed, I would follow them again. But so far, I have to tell you, it is great. I don’t need to see what everyone is liking or commenting or posting. It’s just clutter. If I notice someone in my feed that irritates me on a regular basis, I unfollow. It’s not a big deal. I did the same with Instagram. I regularly unfollow accounts that don’t add anything to my daily life.

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Purpose of social media

I no longer use social media as a mild form of entertainment or as something to pass the time with. I only allow things in my feed that really make me smile and feel good on a daily basis. It needs to be good entertainment, things that make me happy. Because let’s be honest, we like checking social media every day. So why not make sure it is positive? If I want to read the news, I can go look for it. Your feed has a bigger impact on your daily happiness than you think. It may all be subliminal, but that is potentially the most dangerous influence on your mind. Fill your feed with good stuff!

Decreasing frequency

I deleted Facebook and Twitter off my phone, because that’s the device I have with my all the time. And it is the device I grab most easily to do some mindless scrolling. Also before bed. Now that I no longer have those social media on my phone, I can’t check it anywhere, anytime. I will only check Twitter and Facebook when I am on my laptop or iPad. When my laptop is switched off and I am watching something or reading something, I no longer get distracted by social media. I can focus on what I am doing and enjoy it. I have more time for doing things that influence my mind and soul in a positive way. Social media no longer fills my brain with useless information is a big relief and I can only recommend it!

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How working from home has changed my mental health

It’s been close to three years since I started as a freelancer. I graduated university quite late; I was 28 (this is a topic for another time). During my studies of International Business I did a 7-month internship at a company specialized in measuring and improving service. I won’t say which company, it doesn’t matter. But I really enjoyed my internship. When I ended my internship in 2013, I didn’t know I would end up there again to write my Bachelor thesis. And I kind of stuck around. They hired me as a project manager. I loved the work I did, I really liked my coworkers and I was happy to have a job. I worked 40 hours a week, give or take.

Heading towards a burnout

Things changed, and like many companies that want to grow, there was a lot of reorganization. It eventually meant I had to travel an hour each way, which in reality was more like 1,5 hours, because traffic on the highway is no joke here in the Netherlands. Now my boss at the time would let us drive during work hours, but of course this wasn’t ideal, because it would mean we would have 3 hours a day less time to finish our work. Where other people had 40 hours, we had 30. Now, I do work at quite a high pace, but it meant that I could never rest. And let’s be honest, sitting in traffic for hours every week is no fun either.

After two years I noticed that my mental health was suffering from the stress. I had some health related issues and I decided that enough was enough. I’d seen many people around me burn out and I knew that if I didn’t do something, I’d be next.

The choice to become self-employed

I quit my job and I had two options: go work for another company closer to home or become self-employed. I’d always had this dream of working for myself. It never came of it because I got a job straight out of university; a job that I loved.  I did the calculations and thought about the pros and cons. I talked to my husband and I realized it’s now or never. We were in a very good financial position for me to try it out and if it didn’t work out, I could go back and find another job.

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One thing led to another and here I am, three years later, just happier than ever. I still work, I still make a good income, but here are the things that changed my life.

Recharging

As a highly sensitive person I get sensory overload. A lot. Much quicker and worse than the average person. So this means I need longer to recharge my battery for a shorter amount of time being exposed to “noise” and tension. I get to set my own work hours/days, so I immediately gave myself a three day weekend to recharge and this has made a world of difference. Fridays I get the house all by myself and I can recharge for three days over the weekend. This means that on Monday my battery is full and I happily start my workweek!

Productivity

This is actually twofold. I can’t really function very well in an environment where I’m surrounded by people who are talking. Even if they’re not talking to me. It really messes with my concentration. If I am home, I just have silence or music on and this is the way I concentrate best. So I can do my work much better. But also, I am a total morning person. My regular work hours used to 9am till 6pm. My brain always got foggy around 4pm. I would find myself staring at the clock and not be productive, whatsoever. Now, I usually start work at 7am and usually work until about 1pm or 2pm. This is when I am most productive and get most done. After that I close my laptop, forget about work and do other things that require less brainpower.

Diversity

I always loved my job, but what I love most about being self-employed is that I get to do a lot of different things. All things that I enjoy doing. I may be working on a translation, do some project coordination and write a blog in one day, and the next I will do some transcription or other types of content creation. I love every second of it because I can do more of what I enjoy.

Stress-Free days

Another amazing pro of being self-employed is that there is no more stress around when you start working. I do have set times but I don’t always stick to it and that’s okay. There’s nobody to tell me off if I start an hour later because my body needed some extra sleep that day. It also means no more sitting in traffic, which is the mother of all sensory overload! And if I do sit in traffic, I don’t stress about being late for work. If I have another appointment, I will move my work hours around so I can go to that appointment without too much hassle.

I never realized how big of an effect these little moments of stress can have on your health and happiness. So I’m extremely thankful and glad that I get to live out my dream in the best way possible!

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What losing 100 lbs means (to me)

Over a period of nine months I have lost a total of 103 lbs. This is about 47 kilograms. An insane amount of weight. How I lost the weight is not important. At least it isn’t for this blog. What I want to talk about is what it means to me to literally be a whole person lighter and how it has affected my life.

Society sucks

To start off on a light note, now that I have lost all the weight, I really notice how shitty society is. I think losing a big amount of weight is admirable, it’s not easy, so the compliments on my weight loss are very welcome and I take pride in what I’ve accomplished. Now the thing that I have a hard time with is accepting compliments on the way I look. First of all, I know everybody means well, but there’s something about a “OH MY GOSH YOU LOOK SO GOOD!” that gets to me when it comes from someone who has never given me a second look when I was still 50 or 100 lbs heavier. It tells me a lot about this person. I am a nice person though and I want to believe it comes from a good place so usually just smile and say thank you, but it doesn’t affect me in any way. I much rather hear it from people who have told me I looked good even at a higher weight. And why is it that people don’t ask me about how I feel? My health? My mental state?

More energy

I am not big on working out and I never will be. I try to work out as much as I can, but usually I just don’t. But being 100 lbs lighter automatically improves your energy level. There’s 100 lbs less to carry around with me so just walking around the house, up the stairs, in the grocery store, around the city or wherever is so much easier. This also means things like going out are more fun, because I can stand for hours at a concert without pain in my lower back or feet. I can dance all night long without being physically exhausted. Maybe a little, but that’s from old age.

Random changes

There’s some random changes I have noticed.

  • I can cross my legs, which is strange because it never looks comfortable to me, but I sit like that all the time now because it is so comfortable
  • I can sit in chairs without being afraid it’s going to break (not that this ever happened, but I always had to think twice)
  • I could probably ride a rollercoaster
  • I can walk in heels without feeling like my ankles are going to break
Mexico | Enjoying my vacations to the fullest
Mexico | Enjoying my vacations to the fullest

Better travel experience

I travel a lot and I’ve always had a wonderful quality of life but I’ve noticed that traveling is just more fun when you don’t have to think about walking distances and you are more mobile and you can do more activities without worrying whether or not you’ll be able to keep up. I have more energy, did things I’ve never done before and it is just an overall even better experience.

Food is no longer everything

Okay, that’s not really true. Chipotle is still my life. Chocolate is still my BFF. But what I mean is that before I lost weight, I was always occupied with food. I’ve done every diet in the book. Everything. I’ve been obsessed with counting calories, reading labels, watching videos about weight loss, reading blogs about diets, weighing all my food, tracking my intake and weight for 20+ years! Do you know how incredibly detrimental this is to your mental health? This obsession that people have with what’s bad for you and what’s good for you? I am so happy that I can finally just relax. I have no counted a single calorie these past nine months. I haven’t weighed my food, I don’t track what I eat and drink. The only thing I do is prioritize protein in my meals and try to watch my liquid intake, and that’s it. I eat everything I want, in smaller portions. I don’t cut anything out. It seriously has given my life back!

But still, the most important thing I’ve learned is that this weight loss journey has NOTHING to do with what I look like now, or what I looked like then. You can and should love yourself at every weight.

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