Moms, do you spend several hours a day being online? Are you regularly bombarded with memes you do not care about, judgemental updates from mommy groups you joined, photos from friends you do not care about, but yet they make you jealous of their carefree lifestyle? Do vacation photos from someone you know who traveled the world with three kids make you wonder how they do it? If yes, then this article is for you.
Digital Stress That Moms Face
Moms use technology for everything these days. Shopping, planning meals, getting ideas for parties, home decorations, recipes, chatting with friends, finding solutions for children’s abnormal coughs. Just about all you know and want to do can be done online!
According to an internet study, moms are digitally connected for an average of 6.1 hours. While some of our online time is entertaining, some of it is mentally and emotionally draining.
How often do we “pin” interesting projects, then forget about them and feel bad about not being able to accomplish anything? How often do we think we are not good enough when we experience “Pinterest fails”?
Does a mommy’s update of her son being able to read at 2.5 years old give you jitters? Does it make you feel bad for your four-year-old who is interested in nothing but superheroes?
What about all the emails that you have subscribed to? Do you read all those or some are just in the inbox for maybe some day in the future, and you are not sure what to do with them now? You do know you have to spend extra time unnecessarily organizing your inbox.
Do you ever cringe at the world news and the negativity and pray you did not exist? And the updates on the mommy wars are very mind numbing sometimes. What kind of parenting method to choose? To vaccinate or not, to use diapers or potty train at birth? All that judgment makes us cry and swallow our tears and drink more wine.
How can KonMariTM Method help us?
Moms, if you are still with me here, let me introduce you to Marie Kondo. She took the whole mommy world of organizing to a whole new level. If you are a reader and a mom and looking to de-clutter your house or office space, I am sure you came across Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
If not, here is a short introduction. Marie Kondo is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. She is the founder of the KonMariTM Method. As an organizing consultant, she has forever changed the way we tidy up.
What amazes me about her message is that it is very simple. KonMariTM Method teaches us to choose things in our house or office that bring joy to us and discard everything else. It is an absolute mindful way to de-clutter.
If our virtual life has become draining, then I think KonMariTM method was made for our rescue. Her question “Does it spark joy?” makes so much sense, even virtually.
The Application of KonMariTM Method in Digital World
Now that we have a basic understanding of what Marie Kondo’s message is let’s learn about steps to apply this method in our virtual life.
EMAILS: Take an inventory of all your email subscriptions. Look at what emails you love and read daily. File them in their folders. Now look at all other emails that you have subscribed to that you rarely read. Open emails read a few words and close your eyes. Think if the message speaks to you and creates joy in your world. Or does it make you pull your hair or it doesn’s spark any reaction then it is time to unsubscribe from this email.
FACEBOOK FEED: Take a close look at your feed. What articles or updates are making you jump with excitement or cheering you up? What articles are motivating you? Keep them in your feed. Now find all those updates that get you cry or be extremely upset or bring no emotions out at all. It is time to say goodbye to these friends or pages or groups or advertisements. You have two options. Permanently unfriending, unliking these pages (which is my recommendation) or you can right click on the top right of the feed you don’t want and choose “Hide all from..” This will stop showing on your feed, but it will be there for you to access in times of need.
PINTEREST: We can look at our Pins and check if it sparks joy. Are we pinning things that we are doing some day? Or are they adding a burden on your to-do list? Are you Pinning projects and attempting because you want to or because of wanting to “fit in”? Are Pinterest experiments making you feel happy because you tried or sad enough that you are failing at them? Keep all Pins that make you happy. Remove any pins from your feed that make you sad.
INSTAGRAM: Is your Instagram feed from an overly active friend giving you sweats instead of encouragement? Do you want to slow down your life instead of taking everything in control like the mom blogger you love but feel shitty about yourself every time you read her stuff? Just like you did with your emails unfollow all Instagram feeds that make you unhappy.
I use a trick to figure out what goes on my feed or not when it comes to Facebook friends. I do not do it all at one time.
Every day Facebook prompts you with birthday updates. I look at the people whose birthdays are on that day and then think about the following:
Are these someone other than my close friends and family?
Have I met these people in a long time?
Does their presence or absence in my feed matter to me at all?
If we haven’t met, then have I received any of their life updates recently. How did that make me feel?
Have they talked to me in person when I met them last? Were they busy or just ignoring me?
Have they updated their Facebook or they are getting to know too much about my life but me nothing about theirs?
Do they bring me joy, encouragement or something else?
Do they bring extreme emotions out in me?
I then decide whether to keep being friends with them or mute them until I want them back in my digital life or say goodbye as their birthday present and unfriend them? This, I think is my birthday gift to them.
It might sound harsh, but I feel like I would do a disservice to myself if I leave negativity hanging around me.
Sometimes it is harder than you know to let things go even virtually. At this point, you should keep them in the feed and observe your emotional reactions mindfully. Then after a few observations, you can either decide how to feel about their updates or respectfully say goodbye.
How will this benefit you? Simple, Self-care!
Digital de-cluttering is part of our self-care. As moms, we put our self-care on the back burner. We limit self-care to taking few mins out to pee, to have our coffee or a glass of wine.
Self-care is much more than that. Self-care is about taking care of the mind, body, and spirit. The digital de-cluttering process helps with the mind part.
You will reduce mental overwhelm by not having to go through all irritating updates or emails before getting to the ones you care about. You will experience a heightened sense of your priorities which in turn will help to skyrocket your productivity.
My Question To You: Please let me know in comments what one step you will take today to de-clutter your digital life?
And a Challenge: This week find five feed items on Facebook that do not bring joy to you and mute them off. Let me know how you feel after doing this.
For the Overachiever: Find five feeds from all your social media channels that do not bring joy to you and say goodbye to them forever. Let me know how you feel after doing this.