As I’m writing this post the irony is not lost on me. I know the channels I’ll be posting it on are Instagram and Facebook! What I’m offering up today is a case for taking a break from these modern masters of our soul, not boycotting altogether.
For the last 30 days I haven’t had used any social media and oh my God I feel wonderful! I feel that good about it that I’m scared of going back on SM and losing all the wonderful gifts I’ve received in the last month.
I made the decision to take a break for a number of reasons:
1. I was getting constantly distracted by it and I wanted to feel clearer and more productive.
2. I get ‘compare and despair’ syndrome, especially in the summer, especially when people are going on holiday and generally look to be having a lovely old time.
3. I stalk. There I’ve said it. I stalk exes, exes of exes, old love interests and peers. It feels horrible to admit and it feels horrible doing it.
4. As someone with an addictive personality, I had a growing awareness that I was becoming addicted to social media and it just wasn’t doing me any good.
I already imposed a rule of not looking at my phone between 9pm and 8am and that was working out pretty well so a full break seemed like the next natural step.
Initially I felt a bit lost. I had become used to punctuating everything I do with a cycle of checking – Insta, facebook, email, whats app, text. Now I was reduced to email, whats app and text ( do these count as social media? If so I may have to do a full detox later ). One day I deleted all my unread messages and now I delete emails a few times a day instead of checking them so much. Also, both Insta and Facebook the sneaky so and so’s tried to lure me back with enticing emails notifying me of friends posting new pics. I resisted! What struck me as my detox continued was all the time I’d wasted checking my feed and the sad realisation that I’ll never get those lost hours back.
So what happened?
- My anxiety levels went down, way down!
- I lost this crazy sense of urgency ( read addiction or needing to fix) and I felt so much calmer
- FOMO and compare and despair diminished
- I read more books – heaven!
- I was more present with myself and with friends and family, forgetting to check my phone for hours at a time ( quite a feat for me!)
- I was more productive
- I woke up and meditated which set the tone for a day of more calm and less crazy
- I became less bothered about what other people were doing, less judgemental of other business owners who I’m ashamed to say I was judging for posting ‘all the time’ “How do they ever get to see clients or do any REAL WORK, all they do is post on social media”. I’m practicing minding my own these days!
- I feel more secure, no longer linking my self worth to number of likes on my posts
I could use this post as an opportunity to rant about social conditioning and the evil internet hypnotising the masses but I won’t as I wanted to keep this personal.
I’ve concluded that I don’t need to know in full technicolour detail what other people are doing. In fact it’s better for me if I don’t! Being offline has also made me hungry for real life – I’ve been going to the seaside and thinking about joining a local drama group. Being a person of extremes I had to go completely cold turkey to break the cycle. I hope there’s no going back. I’m sure I’ve missed some messenger and DM’s but I’m not worried. I still haven’t gone back on but when I do it’ll be different. I’ll just have Facebook on my laptop and check both just a few times a day. My new found peace of mind is too precious to jeopardise. Now, you may be someone who finds moderation easy – if so I’m in awe and you may not need to take a break. However If you’ve felt any of the following: a little anxious before or after checking your feed, distracted from what you’d really like to be doing, a bit crap after seeing other people’s highlights or even just felt a strong pull towards constantly checking your newsfeed that you’d rather not have then I urge you to try a detox for a month.
I guess I’ll have to go back online to post this! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, just don’t be surprised if I don’t respond for a while….