What we’re reading: Fruit by Alabaster (L) and The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell (R).
For the past month I’ve been taking a significant break from social media. I deleted Facebook from my phone, I’m frankly just a few years too old to really get into Instagram (although I have one, check it out!), and TikTok is an overwhelming nightmare for me. I just didn’t like how much of my “rest” time I spent scrolling and reading pointless lists with cute pictures attached. In the past week of my scaled-back social media presence, I’ve been very tempted to redownload Facebook… just to scroll. That seems like it would defeat the purpose of taking a break, and I’ve held out so far! Eventually I’ll need to get my social media accounts back up to speed and running for Carpe Librum, but right now I’m trying to fill the time with slightly healthier things. What can you do to fill your down time without endless scrolling and listicles*?
In my grandparents’ day, when an adult was tired, overwhelmed, or just needed a break, they would “rest their eyes.” Sometimes it was napping, sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes they were alone in the living room, sometimes the entire family was around, but you didn’t interrupt someone resting their eyes. That sounds so much more peaceful than scrolling! I haven’t achieved that level of restfulness yet, but I’m working toward it. Maybe next week I’ll rest my eyes after work.
I’ve been reading out loud more often without easy access to mindless scrolling. I read to Robert while he cooks (aren’t I lucky?), and we have two books going in the kitchen right now: a Bible study by Alabaster Co. and a novel. It’s definitely a lot healthier than him listening to podcasts and me zoning out on my phone!
One of the things I’ve found to be a pretty good alternative to scrolling social media is scrolling through the photos on my phone. Because I take photos of things I like and things I don’t want to forget, looking at them makes me happy. A lot of my phone storage is full of images of typewriter text (used in my design work), the Carpe Librum booth in different set ups around the country, and cat pictures (see last month’s issue for several of our cat pictures). What I’ve really been enjoying (besides the cat pictures) is seeing bits and pieces of the last year. I even found a picture taken right before I blew out ALL FORTY birthday candles in one breath! (I’m proud enough of blowing out all those candles to gladly admit to being 40.) From sunrise over New Orleans to Tahquamenon Falls, taking a moment to stroll down Memory Lane has been much better for my stress levels than a scroll down Facebook Lane.
Photo Scroll, L-R: Giant pandas at the National Zoo, the Library of Congress (Washington, DC), a booth flood (Plymouth, MI), Tahquamenon Falls, and a lot of birthday candles to blow out (Paradise, MI).
If breaking your scrolling habit is something you’ve been thinking about, I encourage you to take the leap! Definitely have some other time-fillers on hand in the places you usually zone out. Put a couple of extra books or magazines around, put your favorite pictures in some easy-to-scroll albums on your device, or pick up a puzzle book and do some word searches or crosswords. Or, if you can slow your mental spin with more control than I can (yet), just rest your eyes! And, as always…
Be awesome. Read books.
*Listicle: an article in list form, often with pictures or memes for each list item.