Last year I noted a strong correlation between my social media behavior and my eating habits. Shelter in place and thus living in a quite, silent den with no one but my boyfriend and my plants to affect my thoughts, made it easier and more effective to notice even subtle patterns in my behavior. On the weeks that I spent more time on Instagram and Facebook, engaging in erratic and seemingly uncontrollable posting in the pursuit of senseless dopamine hits, I also spent several days eating the most unusual of junk food combinations. The only plausible explanation? The negative effect that social media has on my psychology touches right on the negative psychology behind my eating disorder of 2+ decades. A disorder I’ve acknowledged and worked through time and again over years, but during challenging and stressful times always surfaces.
By the end of 2020 I gained back the 20lbs I had lost in 2019. Lost in some unhealthy ways, but most otherwise healthy. Given the trend, my goal in 2021 was to gradually diminish my social media use. Why not deactivate and call it a day? Because there is still a benefit to connecting ethereal with family and friends old and new, and so learning how to engage in a healthy and mindful way is a better alternative to sudden social media death. I started to perform well in my gradual detox, until my beloved grandfather whom I regarded much like the father that I never had passed away. At which point it only felt necessary to take a complete break from the outside world for focus inward.
I’ve gone a week without social media thus far, and my heart is so much lighter. I am more present for my loved ones and more grounded in my relationship to this grief that in less grounded times might entirely consume me.
Why do we like to feed our monsters candy when they don’t get enough ‘likes’? Perhaps the title of my future dissertation?