Back down to earth with a bang

May 15th, 2022 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

An electric shock to my head saw me – radically – delete Instagram. A bit like Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, I felt like I needed to win some time back in the day without my phone addiction calling the shots.

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After months of talking about it, I finally bit the bullet and deleted the Instagram app from my mobile phone. It’s been quite the journey so far – and I’m not even a full week into it yet

• SOMETHING shocking happened to me this week. Literally, really shocking. I was indulging in a spot of weeding the other evening. There had been a few showers that day so I was trying to take advantage while the ground was less than rock solid. I’ll admit to really enjoying a bit of weeding and think there’s few things in life as satisfying as uprooting a thistle (the roots on the yokes are insane). Anyway, there I was doing battle with a particularly stubborn dandelion (don’t start preaching about the bees, trust me, my garden is a biodiversity haven), which was not budging. It was just inside the electric fence, and I lent slightly too far under and got the mother and father of all shocks right smack on the top of my head. In farming circles, a shock from an electric fence is measured in terms of its ‘bang.’ Mother of god, this one was ‘The Big Bang.’ I was thrown back (well, there was a definite jolt) and I lost a second or two for sure. The only witness was the puppy and he was too busy eating the dandelions to give a reliable account but I was properly shook after it, with a banging headache. I went into the house looking for some sympathy and when my husband told me to relax and take a bath my initial reaction was that he was trying to finish me off altogether. Electrics have never been my strong point. A quick check on Dr Google assured me that I’d be fine. I did a pretty comprehensive search hoping to find something that recommended complete bed rest for at least a day, but no joy.

• Now I’m not sure if what I did later that night was related or not, but in a pretty radical move for me I uninstalled Instagram on my phone. I know lots of people will be like, ‘right, so what’ and they simply won’t get how huge a deal this was. But considering I was completely addicted to the platform, I’d go so far as to say this was as major as it gets. Instagram was my ‘go-to’ first thing in the morning, last thing at night, sometimes even in the middle of the night. A scroll would be my reward after a tricky task, or even a not-so-tricky task like putting a cup in the dishwasher. I’d even pause TV shows mid-way through so I could have a quick peep and make sure I wasn’t missing anything. But  I’ll be honest, it was after becoming a gruelling regime to keep up with. I was literally a slave to the squares.

• Having said that I was never a great poster of pictures of myself or my crew. Probably because I don’t have too many ‘Insta friendly’ moments in my life (unless of course you’re looking for some ‘before’ shots) but I was totally there for the front row seats to snoop on the lives of complete strangers. And while there, I was usually sucked into whatever they were trying to sell that week (anything from a ‘must have’ serum to ‘life changing’ leggings to still more baskets for the house). As a fully grown woman I got it that it was ridiculous being so involved with these people, and having full blown conversations about them with my actual friends, but that’s the thing about Instagram, it’s so … addictive.

• Anyway I read with interest Joe Wicks’ (sorry if I’ve triggered anyone back to Lockdown 1) story last week about his addiction to social media. ‘I’m unable to compete a single task without being distracted by my phone,’ he posted (on Instagram). The Body Coach even went so far as to say that he feels sad at how many moments he’d missed because of his phone and spoke about our physical and emotional addiction to our phones (guilty). ‘It’s about learning to detach from the phone. To set boundaries and win back some hours in the day where you put the phone away.’ And there I was thinking that I had nothing in common with Joe!

• Right, so I’m nearly a week into my life after Instagram and the hand twitches are starting to ease a bit thankfully, and so are the night sweats. The Fomo is still massive, though – people will have had babies, nights out, emotional meltdowns, found new serums, the best shade of cream to paint the living room, the perfect patio set … and I’ve no way of knowing about any of it. It’s a lot to make peace with. I did give Facebook a look in but it doesn’t do it for me anymore, and Twitter just isn’t pretty enough for me. I find mornings and evenings are the hardest, but I’m doing my best to keep busy even if I’m still a bit too traumatised to go back to the weeding. All in all I’d say I’m feeling more down to earth and grounded. That could be the electric shock, though.

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