There has been a lingering question in my mind surfacing from time to time throughout our Rest Retreat, especially more so now that the sand in January’s clock has almost run out. “What do I want social media look like in my life moving forward?” It’s a question I have been contemplating with regard to your end too. I’m curious, what say you? How are you going to trod this new path after all the soul-filling work we’ve done together, on our own, and from afar as we have given ourselves time and space to stretch and grow outside the noise of our loud devices? We have witnessed first-hand the magic that is the slowing of time, and how cutting addictive distractions out of our days can make us more present, so why continue? Why go back? And perhaps some bigger questions,
“What’s the point of it all anyways? Does social media fit in my life anymore? Does it matter?”
All worthy questions, I’d argue. I’ve always been a questioner by nature, now boldly confirmed after reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies – but can someone over question something? As in, am I taking this all too seriously and should I scale back on the thought and consideration I am giving this topic? That voice, the more insecure one, is my mind’s chatter, “my inner roommate” as Gary Zukav calls it, a voice that is nonsensical, nonstop, and sometimes, motivated by fear. I believe being vulnerable enough to step back examine one’s own life is a courageous act and a really important thing to do throughout one’s life. And with self-examination comes questioning, so question I will continue to do.
Before this retreat I would hear my inner voice’s words and consider them to be who I was. They were, after all, chattering away in my own mind, right? But now that I’ve allowed myself the gift of stillness outside the swirl and clatter of information and distraction , I have begun to better know and listen to a much wiser voice beneath the thoughts and feelings of the one who never stops. This, my friends, has been the most rewarding part of this retreat for me. I have learned so much about myself: that I am someone who not only feels more secure and fulfilled when met with pockets of quiet to still myself throughout my day, but that I am someone who needs that time just as much as I need food and water. I have learned that self-care for me means mindful quiet time, and that honoring the needs of my soul is essential to living a wholesome life moving forward.
I have always considered myself to be a pretty anxious person, my mind an emotional racecar going from” point A” to “point fear” in a matter of milliseconds. I struggled with more overt anxiety over the years dealing with my adoption and post-partum depression, but also, I have always blindly understood and assumed I was the sum of my thoughts and feelings. A sensitive person in a harsh world who just feels it all, all the time. A girl who is what she thinks. And part of that is true, I am a soft and sensitive woman, but I am also quite strong in knowing who I am and what I care about, and that is not a word I would have characterized myself as until up to this retreat. The inner part of me has come forth in a ways that I can connect back to my childhood. To that little girl who found solace in the grassy fields behind her home, and who made things a little more beautiful than they had to be almost everywhere she went. Not because she wanted anyone else to see it, but because it mattered to her. Creating meaning, making the world a beautiful home for us all, and living in the present long enough to smell and see and feel and taste and hear matters very much to me.
I have connected with that aware, more quiet part of myself, a part of my being that has always resided deep within the marrow of my bones as my spirit, and I’ve been loving our intimate conversations. I have awakened to the concept that she is me, and I her, and that the endless flow of thoughts and feelings that cannot and will not shut off, are neither of us, though they occur inside the home that is my body. Reconnecting with my soul was not something I expected out of all this. I wanted more time, but didn’t even know that this kind of reunion was possible. So to address the questions above, “What’s the point of it all anyways? Does social media fit in my life anymore? Does it matter?” …
The point of social media lies in the formation of my intentions, whether those be out of fear or love. Social media fits in my life if it walks the grace-lined path of love, and love alone. And it matters, because it can be a tool used for good, if the first two questions equal openheartedness, vulnerability, and love.
With that in mind, I have decided to establish some rules for myself and how I plan to use social media moving forward. Knowing that I am someone who can easily get wrapped up in and addicted to scrolling throughout the day, and given that I now know very well about myself that I need quiet to converse with my soul, boundaries are in order:
- Aim to use social media during times I’ve carved out, rather than defaulting to use it during wait times, moments I want to escape, or any other mindless reason I come up with on the spot. I do not want to fill my days by looking at the lives of others. I want to be fully present in my own life, and drink in the wildly beautiful moments that only come with true presence.
- Bring my book and journal with me, and when I feel the tug to get on social media, choose differently. Consistent practice will turn this alternative into a healthy habit.
- Take a moment to choose my intention before getting on social media. Yes, this takes time. But it’s worth it. If I am getting on there to feed my fear, choose differently. Social media is a simply tool (albeit an addictive one) but it can be used for good if the intention is there.
- Keep asking questions. Keep engaging in the hard stuff. Keep holding myself to a higher standard, pushing myself to do better today than I did yesterday. Not because I want to achieve “perfectionism”, but because doing better matters and is important to me.
- Build more Rest Retreats into my days. Whether this looks like a week off, a day off, or another month off in the future, follow the whispers of my soul and give myself the space needed to center and reconnect if I feel I’ve drifted from my path.
These are the 5 things I am going to work on moving forward, and I would really love to hear yours if you’ve thought about it. Are you going to build in more times of solitude and rest during your day? Are you hopping back into social media with little to no changes? Are you afraid of connecting there, or excited to see how joining again feels? And how are you feeling now that the month is officially over?
On my end, I am eager to start sharing more homemaking posts with you, hoping this little corner of the internet can continue to be a positive space that makes you think deeply, connect with your soul, and maybe feel a little more uplifted after each visit. This week I will be sharing a new direction I will be taking with Homesong, one with a narrower focus that will continue this meaningful conversation. I rediscovered on this retreat that I truly love creating and teaching with all of my heart, and that this space is such a life-giving place for me. I want to nourish and celebrate that part of myself with more intentionally, so posting more regularly here with matters of the home and heart is what I plan to do! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on moving forward, and I hope you all have a wonderful week, my friends!
Natalie - Thank you, Amanda, for showing all of us not only through words, but through example, what it means to be present, mindful, and vulnerable. I can relate to your story on many fronts: the anxiety, the postpartum depression, and the fear-feeding.
I applaud the boundaries you’ve created and think it’s a very healthy way in approaching this strange and shadowy thing we call social media. Also, I agree- defining your intention in using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., is the most important thing to do before posting anything.
For me, I’ve decided that my busy mind has no room for any of these platforms. Recently, I’ve had too much fun getting to know myself. I’ve realized that the distance between my heart and my head only grows more and more as a result of the number next to those little hearts or thumbs up. I want to keep practicing being enough for ME… I don’t want or need the approval of others in order to gain self-worth.
It’s an ongoing journey. But subtracting social media from the equation only brings me that much closer to being able to lead the kind of life I crave- that I NEED.
All of these soul-searching explorations have given my spirit the oxygen it so desperately craved. I feel like I’ve been able to expand and see so much more clearly than I’ve been able to in years.
Thank you, dear one, for these gifts and for the awakened presence that you’ve brought to this corner of the Internet.
Jenny - Hi Amanda,
I am looking forward to your future posts. I love reading about the celebration of home and family. Like you, I recognize that my home is my canvas when not in the classroom and I value that outlet. Through tragedy, I learned that positive, repetitive,zen-like tasks help me to get out of my head (ptsd) and into my life. Though a media lover, this retreat allowed me to apply my values–removing our cellphones plans but using the phone as a camera or a refined texting machine. My husband and I are actually discussing how to best use media in our home compared to last month when we couldn’t find time for self-care. We want our home to be a place of refuge…a place to create freely. This month has allowed a refining of habits and the gaining of inspiration from other strong voices. Perhaps happenstance, my one year old is flipping through books (last night) rather than pretending that everything is a cell phone (last month)–motivation enough for me to maintain the new habits.
Shannon - As a lot of others have mentioned, thank you so much for the work and thought put into this Retreat. It seems a majority of people’s lives who participated have been changed in some ways. Mine has been changed drastically, and I don’t want to go back to how I was spending my time before. I have been asking myself the questions above, especially, “what is the point of it all?” so much these last few weeks, and I am struggling to find a positive answer that aligns with my intentions. In all honesty, I really don’t miss anything about social media. I plan to continue to live without it through February and see what happens. I’d also like to continue finding articles and books that align with this deep soul work, and reflect on those through writing in my journal.
Finally, I am excited to see what is next for Homesong! What an inspiration and joy this space is. It always feels like a warm hug. 🙂
Morag - When you wrote the question of asking “am I taking this all to seriously” I smiled and felt a huge wave of relief. So often I ask myself this question, should I just relax and go with the flow more, be swept along with the tide. However I feel that once you become aware of those questions you can’t really turn back.
Using social media always leaves me with a knawing, empty feeling inside. I use it to reassure myself that there are others out there who like to question life, like I do. However I struggle to actually connect and I think this can be unhealthy to be looking to a screen for connection and not at those around you. But I also recognise that in finding your blog has been a wonderful enriching experience that is a positive of social media.
Thank you for your honest vulnerability. As Mary Oliver writes,
‘I never met any of my friends, of course, in a usual way-they were strangers, and lived only in their writings. But if they were only shadow companions, still they were constant, and powerful and amazing. That is, they said amazing things, and for me it changed the world.’
Kathleen - I have seen so many positive shifts in my life, both internally and within my family, due to my absence from social media. The only thing I have missed is connecting with my IRL friends and family that live far and wide through Instagram. After Wednesday, I am going to go back on Instagram and unfollow every single person I don’t know. Then, my plan is to keep Instagram off my phone except for once a month when I can upload a few photos and check in with my loved ones. Referring back to Gretchen Rubin, I am definitely an “abstainer.” I find it so much easier to cut something out entirely than try to use it in moderation. That’s why I think it will be best to not have Instagram on my phone the vast majority of the time. I have continued to use Facebook for work this month but I unfollowed all of my “friends” (it’s only about 25 family members and a few friends since I only signed up for work purposes) so my feed only contains work-related content (groups my non-profit partners with). I have no inclination to check it outside my workday so it hasn’t been too big of a deal.
I am continuing to simplify and clean out areas of my home. I am enjoying doing this in the evenings after my kids go to bed. I put on a podcast and love the feeling of accomplishment when I have a pile of things to give away/throw away and an organized space with just the things we need and want.
I also feel more space in my heart and less distraction. I am so much more present in my life and have so much more patience with my kids, my husband, and myself.
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. And I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Homesong!
Jane - Amanda, Like others have already said, I have found so much peace in the past month and have been asking myself the same question about social media. I was confused and surprised to find myself considering cutting it out completely. Last night, I “snuck on” a little early to say hello to friends and catch up, but instead, I found myself feeling this sickly feeling. I loved seeing the faces of my friends and their beautiful children, but I hated feeling pulled in again. And this unexplained need to continue scrolling.
I’ve just now decided to continue this retreat a little longer, dipping my toe in social media only here. I may just try to find an alternative way to connect to certain people through text (or letter writing!!) instead, but whatever I decide to do, my plan is to take it slow and not be in a hurry for an answer or a solution. That is one huge lesson I’ve pulled away from this retreat that’s come through in my quiet moments and reflections — that i don’t have to have all the answers or decisions made or everything perfect. I just need to go with my gut, and give myself grace, space and time along this journey so I can enjoy it and make it pleasant for those who are on it with me. Thank you for giving us this retreat. In a way, the flexible structure you provided gave me permission to focus on things I would have never given myself the time to do.
Sarah - I love the idea of not having to decide forever or please anyone else. You put that so beautifully
Tiffany - Thank you so much for putting this series together. It came at the perfect time for me and helped save my sanity. We just had our second little boy who was a month old at the beginning of January and a 2 1/2 year old who is in a bit of a crazy stage right now. I was so overwhelmed and stressed and I am absolutely shocked at the impact this had on my daily life. I can not thank you enough. I had no idea how much I needed this, not just the time away from social media but to completely reexamine every minute of my day.
Lydia - Gosh what a rich, sobering month this has been. Along with its triumphs, there has been many trials/realizations. Like one commenter said above of her heart and mind so far apart- I can also relate to. I become depressed easily, which social media fed into a lot. And though I still struggled with it this month i came through the spells faster due to a clear mind of thought, rather than constantly “escaping” my circumstances through my phone. I love your points above! You are so gifted in articulating your desires into words. To someone who struggles with time in “this season of life” for writing and always not knowing the words to put with feelings. (I feel through music most). Your posts the last month have been such food to my soul. I haven’t even been able to do all the work and it’s still blessed me. So thank you dear Amanda. You have been a blessing to so many here. I don’t really have a game plan for February yet. But like you it’s most definitely going to have a lot of boundaries and hopefully my life will continue to take on a new, clearer meaning. So much love to you! Ps. Please continue to blog about your journey in creating a less social media/more intentional life. Because I’m right there beside you.
Cindy - Hello, my name is Cindy, and I am a social media addict. Thank you so much for this series….honestly, this is something I really need to work on. This is one blog I will allow myself to visit!
Caitlin - Thank you Amanda! I’ve really enjoyed this retreat! In fact my sister in law and I have decided to do it every January to set the right tone of the rest of the year!!! I’m a little nervous to get back on the SM bandwagon in a few days time. Hopefully I don’t get sucked in again 🤞🏼
Mandy Baker - This rest retreat has changed my life. I am different than I was a month ago. I discovered your post about beginning the retreat December 30th and felt impressed that this was something I needed, as scary as the thought was to give up social media for a month. I, too, need quiet time to nurture myself. For years I have read the book, “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach, a read I discovered from watching Oprah years ago. It is a day book, a little section to read every day of the year. It is amazing how well that book has fit in with the rest retreat this month. I have been using this book for over 10 years, but this time was different. I had the quiet reflection time I needed to ponder the messages and really apply them—time January typically hasn’t given me as I have been in a frantic mindset to accomplish resolutions and hit the new year running. From now on, January will be a gentle month for me. I have loved doing yoga, spending quiet afternoons at my desk writing and reading, and just being present in my life. Thank you for helping to make this new year the best ever!
Katie - I love Simple Abundance too! I’ve gone back to it on and off for many several years. As “outdated” as it is now, it still continues to warm my heart.
Holly - I am so grateful to you for hosting this Rest Retreat, Amanda. It has shifted something inside of my soul that I was unable to move by myself. I will not be returning to Instagram. (I kicked the Facebook habit years ago.) What I have discovered during this time is that, while it may be a place of inspiration & community for others, it breeds within me discontent for what I have & a desire for what others have, steals time I would spend creating stronger relationships with the people around me, feeds a hungry addiction within me for outside approval, and keeps me ever projecting forward instead of living fully in the present moment. My life is richer without it than with it, and for me, it would be foolish to try it once again, thinking it could be different. For me, for now, I need to continue this journey & see how much better it can get.
I won’t be deleting my account, giving myself the tiniest permission to check in our friends & accounts that I truly love periodically, but only from my computer. This has been a boundary that has worked well for me this month regarding texting, web browsing, etc.
I read this just this weekend & found it relevant to my experience this month: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-downward-spiral
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know if you expected this retreat to touch so many of us, but I am changed at my foundation & so grateful.
Caru - Dear Amanda, I wanted too to thank you for your words during this month. As others said, Instagram has been for me a need of outside aproval, without thinking what I really want for me and my familiy. Always looking what others have and focusing on what I don’t have, instead of looking at my life with a view of abundance and thankfulness. After this retrear I hace more time for me, for reading and for sitting in silence. IT’s such a blessing. And that’s because of your retreat. I’ll keep following your journey in your blog.
Best wishes from Germany,
Sarah - This beautiful retreat has awoken my soul. I am so grateful to you Amanda for inspiring me and helping me discover parts of me I didn’t know were there.
I have to admit a week wasn’t quite long enough for me to fully process all of the great material and subjects. I’m looking forward to continuing through my thoughts and reading several of the books you’ve mentioned and recommended. I have all the time in the world!
The idea of getting back on social media feels really overwhelming to me right now. I’ve disliked facebook for quite some time, but find it necessary for communicating with a few groups that only post playdates and homeschool meet ups there. Instagram was formerly my little escape and I had convinced myself that it was a healthy thing for me. After stepping away I’ve realized how many lies I told myself! I do compare myself to strangers on the internet. I do let my self esteem ebb and flow with how many little likes each picture gets. I’m realizing how few people truly build me up in that space. Is the answer to edit the people I follow in a big way? Is the answer to do away with it all together? My husband pointed out it’s become somewhat of a family record for us, and while I’ve loved the fact that I’ve taken a break from picture taking this month, I don’t want to step away from documenting our family forever. Clearly I’m still mulling all of this over… rambling away…. sorry.
My final thought, something I’ve been thinking about all month long, is Brooke Mcalary’s podcast when she talked about JOMO – the joy of missing out. I listened to that podcast last summer and thought I understood and knew what she meant. But this month I’ve truly experienced the JOY of missing out! I have no idea what’s going on in “the world” of social media and I LOVE IT! I love being free. So whether I do away with social media forever or not, I will definitely be taking rest retreats on a regular basis.
Thank you thank you thank you Amanda! I’ll forever be grateful to instagram for leading me to you!
Naomi - Wow, all of these comments are so inspiring. Amanda, thank you for giving me the little nudge that I needed. After moving to a new city whilst learning to become a mama, I was worried that stepping away from social media would increase my feelings of isolation. To be honest, it’s done the opposite. I feel so much more at peace watching my children through my eyes rather than through a cropped, filtered lens, and I now actually have time to hear from God and to just be with my thoughts. I really love Instagram to be honest, but for now, I think the reasons against outweigh the reasons for, and I’ll keep my distance. I feel like the new friendships I am making are much more genuine, and it’s a liberating feeling not to feel the need to grab my phone every time there’s a notification… or a silence. For now I will follow a couple of new blogs (always Homesong) and learn how to paint. I’m so grateful for you and this space. Please don’t underestimate you’re calling. Love Naomi
Katie - Would love to know what other blogs you follow. I’m always looking for new inspiration.
Lucy - I came onto this blog a few weeks into your retreat but had actually deleted social media myself at the same time. I stopped using Facebook years ago but Instagram was my drug of choice! I decided to have a break because i honestly felt like it was taking over my life. It was great for inspiration and some ideas but on the whole I didn’t connect with people individually and it often left me wanting more or questioning my own life, how I look, what I wear, how much money I have etc. If someone was to look in on my life they may say I’ve made a success of it. I have a wonderful husband, 2 lovely kids, a house and a good job. We live in a lovely area and I have a small handful of good friends. So i began to question why was I letting this platform define how I felt. I suddenly feel very free and present in my life. I am reading more and enjoying those waiting moments to just sit and take in my surroundings. I feel more present with my children and know this change can only have a positive influence on them. For me I can’t do moderation, having had breaks before where I felt great, as soon as I logged back in I was hooked again. So I will be continuing on my journey to a no social media life. I’ll be interested to read how you feel dipping your toes into it and if it leaves you questioning what the point of it actually is. x
Lindsay - Dear Amanda,
I cannot say enough what this time has given me and meant to me. I could echo all of the words of thankfulness mentioned above. Girl, THANK YOU!! You tapped into something that seems to have been so needed by so many and you braved these waters so well. I don’t want it to end! I have thought this whole time “what will change and be different in me when these four weeks end?” So much has changed and I feel very different in terms of my soul and its inner voice and learning to connect as you said to that little girl in me. The one that too would sit outside for hours and create and imagine and dream and simply just be in my own skin content, joyful, sweet and loving. I could share so much but being intentional for me these days looks like much much less screen time and more face to face time with the people in these four corners of my world here 😂So With all of that being said I am most grateful for the way you have used your platform to inspire, teach, share and all from a posture of grace and humility. Moving forward I aim to let my own self shine in the ways that are authentic and original to me and as far as social media is concerned I just don’t know. I need more time to decide what to do with that. So I continue to rest and grow.
With Love and a thankful heart,
Kingsley Schneider - Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful, mindful words and reflections. I have really appreciated being along for the journey and I have gratitude for you and what you are doing, and helping me to do for myself. You are living a life of example, walking the walk and not talking the talk.
Thank you Again,
Christy - Just a tip for anyone who wants to set time limits for apps. In iOS, you can go to “settings”, then “battery”. Down at the “battery usage” section, click the clock button to the right. Now you can see how much an app has been used each day or each week.
Rebekah - Thank for the encouragement to take a social media retreat. It has been something I’ve known I needed for a long time. I’ve been both surprised and pleased at how little I’ve missed my social media platforms. While there have been moments my fingers have itched to scroll through my feeds, the new rhythm of not being connected feels makes me feel saner and healthier. I am considering extending my retreat another month. At the least I will only be accessing my accounts from my desktop computer.
Amanda Pflepsen - I can’t express how much I enjoyed this rest retreat. I’ll be honest, I didn’t free myself from social media entirely, but I took breaks in areas that needed them most and was able to reevaluate the importance of being present and also realize some things about myself; for instance, how much I love reading and missed scrapbooking. When really put into perspective, it’s truly baffling how much like you said, wait time we spend on social media. Also, I’d just like to say that you, your blog and your home inspire the heck out of me. I have my top 5 bloggers/social media “icons” if you will, that I’ve always followed closely and looked up to in many ways and you have always been one of them. I appreciate the way you live and curate your home with intention. I also appreciate your honesty as a mother and your vulnerability as a woman. I’m a new mom to a sweet 8 month old girl and I’m blessed to be able to stay at home with her so above all else, this rest retreat and also your instagram feed and what you post here on your blog have inspired me, encouraged me and really fed my creative side as well as my homemaking spirit. I strive to be better.. a better wife, mother, homemaker and blogger and I thank you for being my inspiration in doing so. Hope you’re having a lovely Wednesday!
Erica M - This Rest Retreat was a life changer for me! Something I wish I would have taken the time to do years ago but being 30 years- this is also a good time to step into a further spiritual journey with my soul. All this time journaling, reading, meditating & more gave me insights that I will take with me the rest of my life.
I’m feeling excited to log back online to be able to share my experiences from this past month with my family & friends. My social media use from here on out will look different & definitely more positive intent. My use will also be limited to the times of my Daily Rhythm that I’ve established for it. I already love the changes I’ve made for my days & I’m excited to encourage others to do the same.
In the future, I would like to do a social media retreat at the beginning of every year. Referring back to these posts will be helpful! Thank you for all the time you spent curating them for all of us. Thank you for being honest & vulnerable so others can be too.
Tara Wilson - Thank you Amanda for putting this retreat together. I’ve learned so much about how I want my life to be, and I’ve learned that there’s a good group of women who aspire to live their lives with the same simplicity. The toughest part is going to be sticking to the plan. I feel like I’ve always created my intentions with fear. I’ve just been reacting to my life as life comes to me. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for your blog. You really are an inspiration and I thoroughly enjoy what you have to share!
Gabrielle - I don’t know how old any of you are but do you remember when there wasn’t such a thing as Facebook or instagram, a smartphone, or even many blogs on the pc, or even no computer? The best of times are when we are involved in what we are doing, not thinking about what the picture will look like and what caption you should use. The best of times are when we are fully involved, our mind and soul is present, our senses, and that can only happen when we do things from the heart. One thing I have learned over these years of smartphone is that it steals our precious time, it steals our joy, it blurrs reality, and it is an easy weapon of the devil.
The Lord God says to redeem our time here on earth. That means we need to use our time wisely and make good use of it. Let the phone stay. Make plans, get up and do that which is before you. Learn something new. Grab a book, or a do it yourself one for learning a new skill, find a class somewhere, learn and grow always. Develop the qualities God has told us to, such as 2 Peter 1:5-7. That is a good use of time. It enriches our lives!
Enjoy your children, and do the work before you. It is not as overwhelming or intimidating or bothersome as it may seem. It is a lie of the devil. We must be aware of this. Don’t try to please others even when they can’t see you. For one, we are to please God and NOT men. And also, we really don’t enjoy life when we are living to show it off.
These are somethings I have learned so far and that I am pressed to share, because we need to wake up as a generation, we have been asleep for a while now. There is work to be done, there is joy to be had. Let us bring glory to God our Creator!
Chop & Stir | Spiced Carrot Quinoa Morning Muffins » Homesong - […] Monday, dear ones! I mentioned at the end of the Rest Retreat wanting to narrow my focus and post more consistently with regard to more homemaking topics on […]