May 5, 2021
Community. Friends. Comrades.
All these things were hard to find in the last year. Most of us really had to try and keep our relationships strong. Introverts, I’m talking to you. Mostly, because I am you.
I really didn’t have an issues with lockdown or staying home. Sure, I had my moments where I thought I was going to lose my mind, but for the most part, life went on for our family. Except for the whole hybrid schooling part, our kids got to participate in activities and sports. Yes, it looked very different and I didn’t get to make as many connections with other parents as I usually do, but all in all, it worked.
It wasn’t till we started heading into the cooler months and spent more time inside, that I began craving relationships with other people than those who lived in my house.
Check In With Your Social Media Habits
Isn’t it ironic that we need a form of community especially during a time of a pandemic? I found myself at the end of 2020 really needing a sense of camaraderie with other women who have the same interests as me.
Several years ago I wrote an article about how I gave up Facebook and have since done a social media hiatus each February from Instagram. I used these platforms as a way to justify what I posted from others. The likes and comments from people I barely knew were my lifeblood. My anxiety levels began to skyrocket and while it was totally against the norm, I closed my main Instagram account, too. I didn’t know 75% of the people on there anyways, IRL.
Instead, I created a private friends and family account to post about the kids. It works great and I still take a social media break during February to regroup.
How To Find Your Community
So as I was saying, at the end of 2020, I felt as if I needed something more. My husband and I have been doing a lot of work around the house: decorating and renovating, to give us something productive to do. The goal was not to fill up our friends and family page with home stuff, but to document the process. This is how @underneaththedust was birthed to the public. It was so fun sharing décor and remodeling posts and getting reactions from our hard work through these followers. But after a couple months, I realized why I shut it all down several years back:
I got sucked back into my old routine of being a voyeur on my own account. Checking my notifications every .2 seconds to see if anything had happened. Ding. Wait, another notification?!?
Better check, I might have missed something. And since it is a home décor page, I joined a handful of like, comment and share groups to beat the algorithm. I participated in five different groups a week and staying up on those was a full time job. I was on my phone for several hours longer than I had been in a very long time.
I will say, the feedback was amazing. Each post was getting 400 – 600 likes plus and 100 comments from people sharing the love. To be honest, I liked the attention and it was fun interacting, but it was exhausting.
Our feed was curated and the aesthetic was spot on to our style. When I wasn’t in the groups, I was liking and commenting on accounts similar to mine to grow my following. I was on tract to hit Instagram growth milestones. It was exhilarating especially around the holidays. My stories were on fire and my account was growing faster than before.
Reality Check Hit Hard
Then came my yearly social media sabbatical in February. And wow, did I need this. I did lose a bunch of followers because I went radio silent for 28 days, but then it hit me. I needed Instagram more than it needed me. And I needed it bad. My social media addiction came back hard core.
Before my break, I was literally taking pictures of anything in the house to make sure I had something to post that day. I was changing my shopping habits because I was trying to keep up with the Joneses (and their beautifully decorated house).
It was time to pull the plug, leave the groups that brought me engagement and take a step back from the ‘gram.
My anxiety levels have gone way down and I don’t feel the need to post anymore. While I loved the people I met, it wasn’t worth the energy and renewed sense of worry to keep up this charade. It was definitely a highlight reel of our home and renovating life.
It was all so surface and that’s not me. Usually I’m all about the good, bad and the ugly. And on this account, I was a real try hard and it was too much.
So while I’m not going to shut it down, I learned that I don’t have what it takes to put on the social media influencer hat. My life is not a bunch of squares, but when we start a new project, I’ll post something casually with only the intent to share.