Digital Declutter: What I've Been Up To in March
When I began my digital declutter on March 1st, there was no way of knowing what a crazy month this would be; that life as we know it would come to a standstill. The uncertainties, fear, and just plain craziness of coronavirus had not yet hit America. Now, as I am at home social-distancing with my little family and praying for this to all end, it is a good time to reflect on the month. As stated in my post about the first week of the digital declutter, I wanted March to be a month where I stepped away from all the technology "noise" of social media and iPhone use in general, so that I could be more present in my time with God and with my family. I had become so distracted and consumed by my phone's capabilities (many of which are helpful but still took me away from being engaged in the present moment), that I was determined to make a change for a long time but was not sure how I wanted to go about it. After reading Cal Newport's brilliant book, Digital Minimalism in February, I had a blueprint of what this could look like. I decided I would take March off from social media, decrease my overall use of my phone by using old school methods such as buying a watch and a digital clock to monitor Elliot's nap and nursing sessions, and using a notebook to scrawl tidbits I didn't want to forget instead of always using my phone's Notes section.
So, how did it go? I am in my last week and overall, it has been excellent. I can honestly say I did not have a day when I missed Facebook and Instagram. Once the coronavirus hit America and media outlets started broadcasting news around-the-clock about it, I was glad to be away from social media, where I knew there would be a lot of links to fake news that would only stir worry in my heart. The only drawback was that I was completely unaware of how bad it was at the start. On March 12, I stopped by our local HEB grocery store to grab a few essentials before my mother-in-law would arrive the next morning. In and out, I thought. But as I was navigating my grocery cart around the large mass of people like a mouse in a maze, and then eventually made my way to the extremely long lines at the cashier, I was thinking, What the heck is going on?? I asked someone in line why it was so busy for a Thursday. She looked at me incredulously, as if I had been living under a rock (uhh, kinda?), and explained the latest updates: the NBA just announced an end to the season, along with other major sports leagues, the local schools extended their spring break for the rest of the month (and possibly longer), and coronavirus reached pandemic proportions so Americans were being advice to start social distancing to hopefully slow the virus. I was dumbfounded and a little embarrassed at my ignorance, so from then on, I tried to keep up to date at least a bit. It became too overwhelming to check CNN or other news websites, so I limited that once I could sense myself starting to grow anxious.
What have I been doing all month? A lot, actually! Amidst the scary reality outside of our home, it has actually been a joyful month inside our home. Elliot turned six months midway through the month and we started the fun journey of introducing solids! He has been loving it, especially bananas and sweet potatoes, which is a relief since Greg and I eat a lot of both and always have them stocked in the kitchen. As mentioned before, my mother-in-law was here for nearly a week to help us out (I had been extremely sleep deprived and overwhelmed before the coronavirus, so it would have been exponentially worse, had she not come to the rescue). She absolutely loves being a Nana and soaked up all the cuddles, bottle feedings, walks, and play time with Elliot. And I relished in a three-hour nap one day (I think the longest nap I have ever taken!), booked a massage using the last of her birthday gift to me last summer of several massages, had some quiet time at the park to journal and just enjoy solitude, went for a run without pushing a stroller (a rare occurrence these days), and went on a date with Greg that included dinner and bowling (prior to everything shutting down). We did a little sight-seeing with her at the beginning of her visit and the last few days we just hunkered down at home to social-distance and just rest amidst all the crazy news surrounding us. My mother-in-law recently found some of Greg's baby clothes in storage so she offered them to me and I, being a lover of nostalgia, brought home all the outfits and proceeded to dress Elliot in whichever outfits fit him, which was fun, especially since they look so much alike already, comparing photos of them at the same age in the same outfit was awesome.
I started sleep-training Elliot once my mother-in-law left and Elliot is a champ and quick study. He protests a bit, but everyday its less and less. And he is sleeping longer and longer! Hallelujah! I was waking every 1.5-3 hours for the past six months and that gets old reeeeealllly fast. It was not sustainable and just not good for my mental health anymore. I was depleted and needed something to change. And Elliot finally seemed to be healthy enough to be able to try this out again (previous attempts worked for a few weeks until we traveled or had visitors, then it flopped). His acid reflux, food allergies, and eczema have been more under control so we felt he was ready from a health perspective. On one of the nights last week, he slept for eight consecutive hours before waking to nurse, then fell back asleep for another three hours! This was unheard of! Not every night is that great, but it is sure a lot better than before and I am feeling a lot more rested!
Since I am not scrolling through social media feeds during Elliot's nursing sessions and naps, I have been reading even more than usual with fourteen books and counting. Reviews to come on April 1st.
I almost feel guilty expressing how many sweet moments we had in March for our little family while I know other families are experiencing devastating circumstances. I do not want to ignore reality, but I also do not want to become so consumed by the difficult circumstances that I forget to be thankful to God for the evidences of His goodness, faithfulness, and presence in our lives amidst it all. This practice of stating things I am grateful for (usually in a journal but today online) has helped me in previous season of anxiety as I focus on the good, the happy, the hopeful. So here is a bit of that.
I plan to start thinking more seriously about what long-term changes I want to make to my overall technology use after this digital declutter month and will share those next month once I reflect and process. For now, I will leave you with a few photos from the month so far ...