As we enter into the New Year, it is often a time that we reflect and take stock of the previous year.
If you’re like us, many of your favorite moments from 2018 might look like this: impromptu gatherings in a cramped but warm and cosy kitchen. Long runs and satisfying, overdue conversations with girlfriends. Small little victories that felt like conquering a mountain. Carrying seashells and rocks collected by little ones, overfilling their tiny hands. The constant daily reminder of how lovely coffee tastes. Visits to grandma’s house and really beautiful sunsets.
It is upon reflection that we notice what all these special moments have in common – connection. A connection with the outdoors, each other, and ourselves.
The hours spent scrolling through Instagram didn’t top our list of favorite moments, nor did the act of reading the news in bed late at night when we know we should be sleeping.
While the internet and social media can undoubtedly serve as positive inspiration, we know we aren’t the only ones who need a break from it from time to time. Sometimes we fall into the comparison trap of social media – fawning over beautiful homes, exotic holidays, and other elements of the picture-perfect life, leaving us underwhelmed with our own.
With this in mind, we’ve set a goal for ourselves this year to decrease screen time and root ourselves deeper to the places and people around us. Because this time next year, we want to have even more cherished moments spent in nature and with the ones whom we love.
We hope you’ll join us in an effort to put down our screens from time to time and reconnect to the important things. These are small but mighty steps, ones that will allow us to put our best foot forward into the year ahead.
Here’s how we are planning to reconnect in the New Year:
- Planning face-to-face friend time and committing to it. This could mean anything from meeting once a week for a group walk or once a month for a dinner party. It is healthy and reaffirming to carve out this time with our friends and means so much more than a text bubble. We know everyone has busy lives of their own and it can be hard to impose, but chances are, our friends genuinely appreciate the moments together as well.
- Designating rooms in the home to be no-screen rooms. This could be areas like the kitchen or the dining room during dinner time. Consider kicking the phone out of the bedroom as well – we all have a stack of books we’d like to catch up on, don’t we?
- Wearing a watch to keep from checking the phone for the time. It’s an easy way to get distracted by messages and other notifications. Consider turning off other unimportant notifications as well, such as tweets or Instagram likes.
- Going outdoors for a stroll sans phone. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable doing this, just turn off your phone during your walk. The simple knowledge that your phone isn’t going to buzz during your outing will do wonders for your peace of mind. Allow yourself to take in and notice all the things around you.
- Setting timers for social media use. Apps like Instagram have reminders that can be set for any given time to help limit daily usage. It’s a gentle nudge that encourages us to rethink how we’re spending our time.
- Diving deeper into social media triggers. If you find yourself succumbing to jealousy or comparison on social media (we all do it), ask yourself from where it might be stemming.
We might be jealous because someone’s photography skills are better than ours, or perhaps they travel more than we do. These are great feelings to question in order to learn more about our own desires. We can then, in turn, spend less time on our phone and start putting our camera to work or learning about a new city.
- Making alone time at least one hour per week. No spouse or significant other, no friends, no children – just you. Take yourself on a date to a museum, read a book, join a class or anything that interests you. This is a sacred time to reconnect with yourself.
- Carving out time to create before consuming. This might mean that before you consume any news or social media in the morning, you first write a couple pages in a journal, or complete a morning meditation. Maybe it looks like lighting a candle and just enjoying a cuppa before the day starts. It can even start as simple as showering and having breakfast before reaching for the phone.
- Hitting the library more often. (We understand the irony of reading this online!) One of our favorite ways to decrease screen time is a good old-fashioned book. Some great reads that highlight the importance of the outdoors, relationships, as well as solitude, include How to Hygge by Signe Johansen, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam, and Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge.
- Remember that we are role models for children. It’s hard to be upset with our children for planting themselves in front of a screen when we are doing the exact same thing. When children are introduced to the joys of nature at a young age, they are more likely to return to nature again and again.
We aren’t perfect, and we know that scrolling through our phones after a long day or on a particularly packed train ride is bound to happen.
But unlike traditional New Year resolutions, the act reconnecting isn’t bound by hard-and-fast rules. We don’t “fail” if we spend too much time on Pinterest one day in mid-January.
Instead, we are treating the idea of less screen time not as a resolution, but as a simple reminder every day of what we can gain when we step away from our phones from time to time.
We’d love to hear the steps you might be taking to reconnect in the New Year, too. Share below or over on our Instagram (@rockhollyclothing). May your days ahead be filled with lovely conversations, moments for pause, and adventures in the outdoors.
To all that was, and all that will be – cheers.