So my intuitive eating experiment is starting to include other areas of my life.
I’ve been a part time Digital Marketing student for a little over a year now. I work full time, study part time and manage two social media accounts for local businesses in my spare time. It’s a busy schedule and after spending approximately five or six hours a day on my computer at work, I’m hunched over my laptop for another couple of hours in the evenings. On top of this, I’m getting notifications throughout the day and night of likes and comments on the various pages I’m managing. I feel like I’m married to Facebook. And the marriage is in trouble. Even the dopamine hit of a bunch of “likes” on my posts isn’t really working for me anymore. I’m afraid that Facebook and Twitter have become my proverbial ball and chain.
I woke up Saturday morning with burning eyes sporting big, black circles under them, tired looking, blotchy skin and a bad attitude. I started to post content for one of my pages and the photos I had planned to share looked fuzzy and pixelated. I felt my teeth clench and my shoulders tighten and all I could think was that this is supposed to be my weekend. My time to relax and have fun. And I wanted to cry. It was sunny and beautiful out, my dog was staring at me, waiting for his long, Saturday morning walk and I was clenching my teeth, completely burnt out, tapping furiously away at my laptop again. Something had to give.
So, I resigned from one business via email and told the other that I was cutting my work in half. then I put my laptop on the shelf, unplugged my TV, texted a few friends that I was going off the grid for the weekend, threw my two smart phones in a drawer, grabbed my pup and hit the beach.
Nick (my dog) and I ran, strolled, sprinted, sat under a tree and stared at the ocean. We crouched on a rock and watched a heron as he fished for his lunch. The waves crashed against the shore and I felt myself starting to relax. My shoulders weren’t hurting anymore, my teeth weren’t clenched and I realized that too much social media will suck all of the joy right out of your life.
Walking home along the dirt path, Nicky decided that the long, wild grass growing along either side was going to be his all-you-can-eat salad bar. So, instead of standing impatiently waiting for him to finish his meal, I sat in the soft grass and ran the cool, green blades through my hands, breathing in the exquisite scent of fresh, spring green things. Then I thought why not lie down in the middle of this long, cool grass and stare at the leafy green tree above my head for awhile. The branches were shining in the sunlight, with leaves from a soft spring to deep, forest green and they were incredibly beautiful and soothing to look at. Then I glanced across the path and saw a patch of sweet, little bluebells with a few buttercups mixed in. They looked like the prettiest things I had ever seen and, all of a sudden, I realized that I felt incredibly happy.
Occasionally people walked by me on the path. Some smiled and said “hi” or commented on Nick’s grassy feast. Some gave me concerned looks. But I didn’t really care. I was happy.
So, maybe the secret of happiness is that it’s about connecting with yourself, nature and slowing down enough to notice the beauty around us.
And maybe the other secret is that it’s the opposite of what you feel when you spend too much time on Facebook, Twitter or even my beloved Instagram.