Why I Took 30 Days Off Social Media
I decided to take a good, long break from social media for a variety of reasons. The first and foremost, was that it wasting a ton of my time. I was spending too much time scrolling, watching other people's lives, comparing them to my own and then feeling shitty about myself.
It was also getting too loud. Too many voices, too much noise and negativity. It was making me so angry and frustrated with the world.
It just wasn't making me feel good anymore. So I decided to start 2022 without it.
Was it Hard to Do?
It was actually a lot easier than I expected. I shut down all notifications, and I moved the Instagram and Facebook apps to the second screen on my phone, together in their own little group titled "Not Allowed". I originally wanted to deactivate my accounts, but I had a fear of somehow losing all my photos, so this other option worked well for me.
I found that I didn't naturally think about social media on my own. Without the incessant pinging of notifications, I didn't really think about it at all.
There were moments in my day where I would have a few spare moments and I would notice that, if I had been using social media, I would have filled my time on the app. But I didn't feel like I needed to go on. It was just interesting to notice the habit that had been created. So I started a new habit. Anytime I had down-time, I did some writing instead. This was a far more productive and positive.
Did You Miss Your Friends?
I did miss knowing what my close friends were up to. My one friend actually got engaged and she texted me saying "How did you miss my engagement post?!".
But that's the thing. It was way nicer hearing about her engagement from her, and getting to have a genuine conversation about vs. a like and a simple "Congratulations!" comment.
I started to reach out to the people that I missed via text and phone call. I realized that social media was actually giving me the illusion of being connected. Watching someone's life in posts, isn't actually knowing what's going on with them. You have to reach out.
That's why DM's are great. I did check my DM's every few days, because I do have several people that I do connect with regularly on Instagram. But unless you're participating in conversation with the people you follow, you aren't really getting that connection piece that we need for our wellbeing.
An Energetic Shift
By the half-way point of my detox, I started to notice an overall shift in my energy and my mindset. I felt lighter. I felt more joy. Less anxiety and stress. I was more present. I was fully immersed in my own life, and it made me appreciate it more. I had energy and time to spend on creating. I felt more confident in myself because I wasn't thinking about what other people might think about what I was doing. No one even knew what I was up to, unless they reached out and asked me.
I actually had a few mom friends DM me to make sure that I was doing okay, since I had been so quiet on social media, which was really sweet, and made me feel good about those genuine connections that I have made through the apps. It is possible, but it takes effort, like any friendship or relationship. It's that extra step that makes the difference.
I'm back on social media, but I've set some clear boundaries for myself.
Only follow accounts that either empower or educate me. If I'm not gaining something positive from it, then it doesn't need to be in my space.
*This doesn't mean I unfollow people just because they think differently than me, hence the word "educate". If I'm learning something from someone, that's a positive. With that said, if a person is continuously spreading a message that is full of negativity, and it's messing with my own energy, I will unfollow. If it's a friend or family member, I temporarily mute all posts and stories until I feel like I have the capacity to consume their content, with an open-heart and open-mind.
2. Keep notifications OFF
I choose when I go onto the apps to check my likes, comments and DM's. Not when Instagram wants me to. This helps me to take my power back and be intentional about my social media use.
3. Follow new accounts with purpose.
I take the time to think about why I want to follow an account, before actually hitting that follow button. I look at their content, and watch a few of their stories and then ask myself a few questions:
"Does this inspire me?"
"Does it raise my vibration?"
"Does it support my growth?"
If not, then I don't follow.
4. I'm mindful of my time.
My time is my energy. It's important for me to protect my energy, so that I can spend it doing the things that I love.
Some boundaries that I set for myself:
- 10 minutes of intentional browsing/interacting in the morning.
- Maybe 20 minutes of creating my own post.
- 10 minutes of intentional browsing/interacting in the evening.
5. Post with intention.
I used to sometimes post just because I hadn't posted in awhile and felt like I should. Now I don't post just for the sake of it. I ask myself why I'm sharing something. Does it serve a purpose? For myself? Will it help someone else?
This helps me to keep some things in my life more private, because no one needs to know every second of my day, and it makes me more mindful of what I do share, and doing so in an authentic way.
All in all, I think my detox has had a lasting impact on how I'm going to approach my social media use moving forward. I feel more in control, and like I've taken my power back. I hope that if you're struggling with social media, that this maybe inspires you to take a step back and reflect on why you use social media and how you can change your habits to make it a tool that serves YOU and your best interests.
Thank you for reading.