Every day, the average person in North America uses social media for two hours and six minutes, according to research from eMarketer. That averages out to more than 60 hours of social media every month. Think how many miles you could run or trails you could climb in that amount of time!
I’d say my usage is higher than the average, so when Kurgo challenged me to take an entire weekend off social media to spend with my dog, I couldn’t wait! And, to be totally honest, I felt a smidge anxious. In order to guarantee I wouldn’t cheat, I uninstalled the apps on my phone. It’s such a habit to reach for my phone and scroll Facebook or watch Instagram Stories without even meaning to, so I had to ditch the apps altogether. Once that was done, here’s what I did with my dog all weekend:
We ran trails (and didn’t Story them).
My dog, Cooper, and I both love to run trails. It’s probably our favorite activity to do together. However, we’ve had such little time for it these past few months. Without the chains of social media holding me down, I knew I’d have an extra 6+ hours to spare from Friday-Sunday. I decided to use some of that time to squeeze in a trail run, so we did—twice!
We ran an old favorite early Friday morning, and I quickly learned how unconsciously I used social media. Even though I knew I’d uninstalled the apps, I stopped to post the view of a gorgeous creek crossing on my IG Story, only to remember after I unlocked my phone that Instagram was gone! I still took a quick video clip, but I didn’t post it anywhere. Honestly, I think Cooper was secretly relieved not to have to pose for a bunch of Stories and posts!
On Sunday, we used the extra pocket of time to run a new park; a friend told us about a quiet nature preserve a short drive from our town, so we used this break to hit those trails. While there, we encountered several off-leash dogs (a huge pet peeve of mine in a leash-required nature preserve) and I felt myself composing my Facebook post about the incidents on the drive home. When I remembered Facebook was off limits, I actually felt relieved. I didn’t have to log in, get distracted by my feed, or carry the negative experiences longer. I just let it all go!
We hiked (without status updates).
In addition to Cooper, I have two little (human) girls: a 3-year-old, Violet, and a 9-month-old, Astrid. I want them to learn to love and appreciate nature, too, so I try to get them outside as much as possible. With more hours added to my day due to dropping social, I laced up Violet’s hiking boots, stuck Astrid in my backpack carrier, and harnessed Coop.
We hiked easier trials than Cooper and I usually do together so Violet could keep up, and we stopped at the water’s edge for some creek stomping. I freed up my hands by using Cooper’s zipline to secure him to trees along the bank while I let Astrid explore the edge of the water. Later, In the midst of crossing the creek, I realized that I felt so much more engaged and present with Cooper and the kiddos than if I had been striving to capture those moments for social instead of just enjoying them!
A weekend without phones...not as scary as you think!
We all finished the weekend exhausted, muddy, and thrilled to have such a fun, beautiful day out together. I didn’t have many pictures to show for it, but I have lots of great memories. And, it inspired me to plan more phone-free activities. We have a camping and canoeing trip on the books now with more to come.
Full disclosure, though: Monday morning, I re-installed Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, I’ve tried to use them less and enjoy the moments more!