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!