How I Spent My Summer Vacation Offline

How I spent my summer vacation and taking two weeks away from social media and blogging.

Hello friends, I’m back.

I spent the first two weeks of August on vacation not just from my regular 9-5 but also from social media and here on the blog. So, I thought for my first post back, I would share with you how I spent my vacation and my thoughts after taking an extended break from social media.

This summer holiday was certainly different (and better) than last year where we really couldn’t do anything and still felt very unsafe. And yet, even though we can do so much more than before, and vaccines are protecting us, I’m not quite ready to just do everything normally. There are still quite a few limitations where we live and the numbers are beginning to creep up again sadly. That being said, I wanted to make the most of my 2 weeks off.

I spent 4 days at my grandparent’s house in the first week of August. I hadn’t been there since we did an outdoor visit a couple months ago and before that not since last summer’s outdoor visit. It was incredibly special to get to spend 4 days there just me and my grandparents, it reminded me of when I was a kid and would spend weeks there in the summer.

We spent so much time just talking about life and the world, merely enjoying each other’s company over shared cups of coffee. Something so simple and yet such a privilege in Covid-times. When I left I couldn’t help but breath in the smell of their house one more time knowing I may not be back there anytime soon.

The second week of August, we finally got to go camping! After having cancelled our trip last summer for fear of Covid, I was beyond excited to go camping. My husband and I spent 4 days at Rideau River Provincial Park with my Mom. Although the weather looked a little frightening on the outset with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for almost every day, it turned out just fine. Camping is my favorite thing to do in the summer. Swimming, going on hikes, eating camp foods, and building campfires, not to mention nature watching and breathing in the fresh air feeds my soul in a way that nothing else does. I am truly a nature woman at heart and had been desperately craving some time in the woods after so many months in our apartment. I’ll admit I was sad when our stay came to an end, it was so freeing to be out in the woods again. Camping forces me to be wholly present, each task involves most of my concentration and being disconnected from the outside world (no internet or cellphones), I can’t really worry about things. I find it very restorative as someone who struggles deeply with anxiety.

While on vacation my husband and I also got to have our first restaurant date in almost 2 years. We had dinner on a patio and spent some time just the two of us but in a new setting. While date nights at home are fun and we have enjoyed them thoroughly during the pandemic, it was nice to get dressed up, get out of the house, and have someone else make dinner. Just next to the restaurant was a beautiful stone walled flower garden, so after dessert we sauntered over for a peak at the blooms.

Before my summer holidays, as I mentioned in my blog post, I was going through a difficult time with my mental and physical health, and was starting to really feel drained from social media. I was struggling with feeling like my content wasn’t going anywhere, and definitely suffering from comparison-itis. So, I thought it would be good timing to not only take a vacation from my regular job, but to also use that time as a pause from my blog and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I was worried about people unfollowing or losing interest in the time I was away, but I knew that my mental health was more important than follows or likes. I also knew that the people who were really interested in my content and in me would come back after my short break. So, if you’re back, thank you.

I think the biggest benefit I saw from taking a break from social media was really just the time to give my mind some peace and slowness. While I really do love social media, the pace of it, the continuous scrolling, and the constant pressure to engage with content can take a toll on our brains. I sometimes find my mind running after being on social media for extended periods as if it has lost its brakes. So, I really did just put my phone down and let my brain simply be in the last 2 weeks. I literally felt my mental processes slow down almost like a train pulling into station and letting off all the noisy passengers.

If you are considering a break from social media, I highly recommend it. It doesn’t need to be a strict zero social media commitment, and it doesn’t need to be long, even a weekend away can really benefit your mental wellness. Just taking time to hit pause can be incredibly restorative.

It has also helped show me what content is actually fueling me and what I want to focus my time on in the coming months. I anticipate focusing more on my poetry and doing slightly fewer long form blogs like this one. While I am still learning what my poetic voice is, I can feel changes in how I am writing and am feeling good with my progress, I want encourage those feelings. I have so much writing that I want to share with you all and want to hear what you think.

I’m certainly feeling a little bit of that end-of-summer blues. These sunny months are short in Canada and I’m always sad to see them go. Wishing I had spent one more moment on the beach, or soaked up a little more summer sun. But I also love the fall and watching how the seasons change and so I am leaning into that.

I hope you have had a chance to soak in this summer a little bit, and taken some time to restore yourself. How did you spend your summer holidays? Comment below.

Write soon,

Hannah B.L.

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