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5 THINGS I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT | Personal

In my last post, I opened the discussion of life without social media. It feels so dramatic typing that sentence out, as if this technology is somehow life giving. But anyhow, I wanted to share some insights about what's come up for me in these past six months of making the effort to live more intentionally.


First of all, weeks before the ball dropped on New Years Eve, I had decided that I was going to delete my social media accounts for the year. It wasn't some toasty last minute proclamation -- I knew I needed to do it. I told myself at first that I'd keep my business account because, how could one run a photography business without social media? A couple months in, I let Instagram go for my business too, and soon after, I deleted my Facebook business account as well. Was it scary? Yes, a bit. Of course it went through my mind "will I even be relevant if I'm not posting and sharing?" "What if everyone just forgets about me?" "Am I just getting too old for this?" "Is the nature of photography changing so much that I don't want to be a part of it?" The negative spiral continued beforehand but I must say that after pressing the button, I felt an immediate relief.


The first thing I decided before the first of the year was that I wanted to be better about journaling. I know people rave about planners and color coordinating things but I can't find it in me to get my shit together to that level. I just knew that I wanted to get a planner that was more than what I was doing, but included goal-setting, feelings, heart work, etc. I settled on this one from Freedom Mastery.


#1: A Journal/Planner


My original thought was that every time I wanted to sign onto social media in the beginning, I'd pick up my planner/journal and check in with myself. That became a nightly thing for me (because who doesn't fall for that bedtime scroll to clog up your mind right before you are trying to fall asleep?) which felt nice to sort of have an overview of my week but also take the very rare quiet time in my house to see what came up for me.


#2: In-Person Friendship

Picking up the phone and calling a friend to hang out in person requires a little more effort and is 100% of the time worth it. I've reconnected with friends I hadn't talked to in way too long, made different efforts to see them and their kids, their new houses, etc... There's something about social media that makes you feel like you're connected with everyone but then you realize you haven't hugged them in person in years. This is especially true for far away friends and family.


#3: The Insight Timer Meditation App


Meditating has always been an important of my life. I remember laying in a dimly lit room with a eye cover when I was 3 or 4 and doing a guided body scan meditation with my Mom. It evolved over the years and sometimes I practice more than others, but I know deeply that it is a really important part of connecting with my heart. Stillness is not just something I want and enjoy, it's something I need. Every day. I could go on forever about how amazing this meditation app is, but if you're curious about meditation or you meditate already, please get it! It has tons and tons of great free guided meditations and sleep meditations and incredible courses. In the picture above I'm holding my favorite sleep one -- Yoga Nidra for Sleep by Jennifer Piercy. Y'all. If you don't fall asleep listening to this, I don't even know... For all my fellow moms out there just trying to do your best, survive, and also remember who you are outside of your role as a nurturer and mother, please please please do this course: Coming Home to Yourself by Sarah Blondin. In my monthly newsletters, I'll try to list a couple new great ones a month that I discover. If you have or find a favorite, please share in the comment section!


#4: Time in Nature

LOOK UP. Just because I don't have social media doesn't mean that I don't get in those awful ruts of feeling like doo doo. For an example, trying to balance work and family is never comes easy for me and I often feel like if I'm doing one thing well, I'm failing at the other. So often, the answer is just to step away and be in nature. Take the time to notice the leaves, the flowers, the smells, the breezes... be in the moment you're in.


#5: Chatbooks

I missed one thing about Instagram: Having our family photos and memories in an easily accessible place, organized in date order, to look back on. When my friend Jenni told me about Chatbooks, I was so excited. I think I assumed that was only for using with Instagram, but actually you can create the same format books from your camera roll. So, my first project to tackle was to print yearly photos with captions from my Instagram account before I deleted it. I love (so much more so than opening the app and scrolling) holding these books in my hands with the family and looking through our memories. Without social media, I just started a new book in the app at the first of the year, and add a photo and words from my camera roll whenever I feel moved to do so. I've noticed this year that the photos I feel pulled to take and the words I write feel different when I'm writing them for us. It's been a cool process looking into the ways I want to leave memories for my kids. I also talked to them a lot about this (which could be a whole other blog post!) and as always, kids have such great ideas and insight.


Remember: Wherever you go, there you are.




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ABOUT ALI
Ali Hebert of Freebird Imagery is an elopement, intimate wedding, & lifestyle family photographer based in Northern Virginia and Southwest Florida. Ali also offers 1-on-1 mentoring for women in creative business.
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