A Facebook break, and some long-awaited lessons.

For the majority of the past week, I did my best to avoid Facebook. I did find myself opening the site a couple of times over the course of the week – a few times for work and even opening the app on my phone out of habit. Hiding the icon helped prevent that, though. Most of my posts to Instagram automatically went to Facebook, but other than that, I didn’t post or “like” anything.

Honestly? It was wonderful. I feel less stressed, less annoyed, and I was very glad I missed most of the Katrina anniversary sadness and nostalgia. I also felt more productive at work.

The lesson I am taking from this is that I don’t NEED to be constantly connected to everyone, online, all day. It’s good to get together with someone and actually catch up. As wonderful as it is that we have this great big connected world now, I need to pull back from that and do my best to physically connect with people.

Lately, I’ve been really struggling with depression and really bad moods. I came to the realization that I am ignoring my personal needs lately, which may be the main cause of my issues. With this Facebook hiatus, I tried my best to take care of that. I spent the majority of one night at home this week watching Eddie Izzard, laughing, and giving myself a manicure and pedicure. That small amount of time for me made me feel a lot better. I’ve always struggled with self-care while advocating it for others, mostly because I never wanted to come off as selfish.

I learned that:
Self-care can be as simple as you want. Just a night watching what I wanted and putting cuticle oil on my nails was exactly what I needed. I’ve been focusing on my creative side a little more lately, by doing some writing and rekindling my love for film photography. I’m finally teaching myself how to use a manual SLR. Doug’s dad gave him his old Pentax Spotmatic years ago and I’m using it. I’ve also fallen in love with the Lomography movement and am planning on bringing a film camera with me for my trip to see my friend Laurie in October.
Needing time for myself is not selfish. I have purposefully scheduled nothing for Labor Day weekend. Those three days are going to be spent doing things I want to do, and I’m keeping it unscheduled. I might stay at home and marathon anime while laying in bed with Gizmo, I might head across the lake to get some film and play with photography some more, I might spend the day cleaning and organizing the house. I might do all of these things in all three days. I don’t know, and I’m perfectly happy with that.
It’s perfectly okay to say no. I have a habit of trying to be involved in many things. Once I am involved, I don’t want to let anybody down, so I throw myself into it, which often results in stress and burnout. I need to remember to step back from things once in a while and evaluate what I have on my plate, and avoid or turn down things that I don’t have the time or desire to do. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, because I am constantly worried about people being disappointed in me. This leads to the last lesson:
Your true friends will accept and understand you, no matter what. As big as I talk, and as much as I bluster about “not caring what people think”, I do. It’s a hard thing to realize, but I do care – too much and to my detriment. I want to please everyone, and when this doesn’t happen I struggle with “why” and “how can I fix this”. NOTHING hurts me more than when people say “I am disappointed in you”. It sends me into a deep depression and a downward spiral. I really, really need to work on being who I am and doing what I love (within reason, of course). My friends who know and truly love me will support, accept, and understand. My friends that don’t – well – I need to consider it a lesson learned, and say “don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya”.

It’s odd, how less than a week off of Facebook can make you become so introspective. Heh. I’ll still be on Facebook, but not nearly as often (might check every couple of days, might check every week – I don’t know). I’m preferring Instagram and Twitter these days, and I might – if I feel up to it – start writing in my blog as a journal more. After all, that’s why I started blogging in the first place.

I’m 38 years old, and I still have a lot to work on.

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