Distracted. I think that is the best word I could have used to describe how I was feeling.
I was distracted by the scroll of Instagram and the never-ending supply of beautiful content. I was also distracted by my own drive to produce content, always “on the lookout” for the shareable of my life (or how I could edit it to make it shareable). Then, when I would post, I would hold my breath hoping that it was well-received and attempt to not second guess myself. This left me feeling drained and hardly present in my own life.
Before I go any farther, let me say: I think social media is a wonderful tool and I’m grateful to have it for many reasons. I’m happy to live in the era of social media and inspirational content creation. However, just like a piece of decadent double chocolate peanut butter fudge, a little bit is good, but too much can make you sick (and let’s face it, that peanut butter fudge is addicting!)
These things are embarrassing to admit, but I recognized my feelings surrounding social media and knew I needed to do something. So, when my friend Leah Remillet told me that she was taking a 7-Day Social Media Detox, I felt inspired to try it too. Nothing like ripping off the band-aid, right?!
To set myself up for Social Media Detox Success I took the following two steps:
- I placed all my social media apps in one folder and moved that folder to the very back of my phone by itself where I would not see it. I already had all notifications turned off. This way, when my thumb mindlessly wandered to that spot on my phone, the apps would be gone.
- I started a new notebook (a treat in itself!) to record my feelings on paper and make a list of fun things I wanted to accomplish during this “vacation”! A few things included enjoying my mother-in-law’s visit for the 4th of July, listen to a new podcast, and starting a book that’s been on my list.
To be honest, I felt apprehensive at the start of the week. My FOMO (fear of missing out) was strong, but I was curious. Fast forward to the end of the week and this vacation was transformative.
I felt relief.
I was more content.
My mind felt clearer.
I had more time.
There’s so much I want to say and even more that I’m still working through, but for now I think it boils down to four realizations I had during this time away:
1. I have permission to shut off
For some reason, it felt as though I didn’t have this permission before. Maybe it is cultural, fear of missing out based, or how we’ve been told you are “supposed” to be marketing if you own a business. Regardless, I’ve always told myself I can’t shut off. This was wrong! I had permission all along to shut off and as soon as I believed that and acted on it, it was freeing.
2. Social media steals the mundane, ordinary of our lives if we let it
This point has been particularly convicting for me because I truly believe our lives are made in the ordinary, in-between moments. We all experience highs and lows, but it’s in the simple everyday-ness where we build traditions and often look back with nostalgia. This very concept is what the Lily & Val brand represents and what I strive to celebrate in the products we offer.
What I realized is that I may temporarily shut off for a vacation or when I am out to eat at a fancy restaurant, but what about the mundane of my life? How am I protecting this gift day-to-day? Why does it seem that these in-between moments are fair game for social media to steal away when it’s in these moments inspiration and breakthrough come.
3. Social media is a convenient tool for numbing
I fear to sound dramatic here as I realize there are far worse things we as humans use to numb, however, this was a profound point to me. When I was alone with my thoughts or felt stressed throughout the week, my complusion to check social media was high. It’s caused me to look within to see where this is coming from. I think we’ve trained ourselves to numb away the uncomfortable bits of life instead of digging into those feelings.
4. Contentment is worth fighting for
Discontentment has been a bit synonymous with social media. It’s difficult to separate our real lives from other’s highlight reels. To take it a step further, part of the struggle is looking to others to gauge how we’re doing in the form of likes. We all want to know “Am I doing okay?” My week away was filled with a greater sense of contentment for my actual life and I’ve realized I need to protect that.
So what does all of this mean moving forward?
This is something I’m still asking myself and working through! I’m not writing off social media, but I am trying to re-evaluate its position in my life. I want to continue this conversation, self-discovery, and use what I learn to live my best life!
I would love to hear what you think! Have you ever thought about taking a break from social media? Let me know in the comments!
Oh my gosh! This was so great, your insights were powerful and can change lives if we’ll let them. I’m so excited to be talking about this more and can’t wait to keep having this conversation!!
Agree, friend! Cannot wait!
Yes yes yes! I’ve been wanting to do this so bad but am afraid my business will suffer. Getting and keeping followers and drumming up content and replying to comments and messages has me exhausted, yet I feel this compulsion to look at it 400 times a day. I crave it and then it leaves me wanting. I’m hoping to do a 7 day detox soon – thanks for inspiring!
Ahhhh yes! Totally agree with everything you’ve said! “I crave it then it leaves me wanting.” SO true. I would LOVE to hear how you feel after taking a break.
I just took a break from social media as well. My friend has recently quit social media and we talk about this subject often.
I took a break for 3 days and at the end of the 2nd day I texted my friend, “While I find myself reaching for the camera icon quite often often it’s not hard to redirect myself. I’m actually enjoying this break from everyone else’s life.”
Your points about taking away the joy of the mundane has been my biggest pull to get off of social media. I love the simple days. And while I have moved quite often and enjoy keeping in touch with friends around the country I found myself spending too much time enjoying their simple, or awesome at times, moments instead of enjoying my own to a deeper degree.
I found I was also using scrolling as numbing or a way to ignore things that needed to be taken care of. I kept wishing I had more time to read; and I found I had more time to do that, because I wasn’t wasting my time scrolling online.
I could go on and on, but I need to stop.
Suffice it to say… Like you, I’m not giving it up completely, I do see some benefits to having my account, but I have already begun to really evaluate who I follow and am working on disciplining myself about how much time I will give to it.
Thanks for your post, Valerie! I look forward to hearing more on the subject in the future.
Leah, thank you so much for sharing that!! I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s figuring out how to live with it, but not letting it steal our joy and enjoying our own life like you said! It’s a topic I’ve been thinking about so much because I think it’s a sneaky way we’re allowing some negative feelings in without maybe even realizing it! I’m so glad your break was good for you.
To counter we should also discuss the positives that social media has brought us. Use that to find the balance.
Yes, definitely, Cari! It’s all about balance for sure. 🙂
This post has make ME think and evaluate my life style as every time a make a plan to enjoy my afternoons after work to the fullest and social media takes it away because I let it be like that. A detox and only about food is more of those things that consume our precious time disconnecting us from real life and adventures that can only be capture by our own eyes an not the lens of a camera or a post in Instagram to see how many likes can actually “make us happy”. Thank You for this post
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