After 4 years of being on multiple social media platforms and feeling disconnected from a tool that is focused on connecting the world, I knew it was time for a break. Most people won’t admit how much time they spend on social media. But when my husband secretly installed, Social Fever, an app that tracks your time on social media, the results were shocking. So I decided to do a detox. Here’s What I learned from a 30-day social media detox.
5 Things I Learned From A 30 Day Social Media Detox
Before I started Live Simply Natural, I had no idea what social media was outside of Facebook which I rarely used anyway. I started Instagram in 2014 and immediately felt awkward. As an introvert, the pressure to share my personal life with the world was a bit uncomfortable and I couldn’t help but feel a bit narcissistic in that whole process. But it was the top advice given to those looking to grow a blog, so I went with it.
Thankfully most of what I talked about when I started my business was food and that was fun for me. It didn’t take long before I began to enjoy the whole concept of connecting through an app.
But over time I started to feel like I was feeding it more than it was feeding me. And what I was getting wasn’t necessarily nourish to my overall well-being. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing what everyone is up to in their everyday lives. I love sharing my recipes, reading all the comments, and writing back as best as I can. But it left me with little time to create, write, cook, be with my family and really just be with myself.
There’s so much going on outside of the phone (and so much more to my career) than checking social media.
What I Learned & Why It’s Important
All that to say, I realized some incredible lessons about myself and how social media has influenced my everyday life. Here’s a glimpse of what was most impactful.
01.) Social Media Is A Time Suck
I wouldn’t consider myself a social media addict, but as a blogger, millennial, and business professional, I tend to be on social media sites a lot. It’s probably the first place I go if I have a few minutes to spare. It’s like scratching an itch, really can’t help it.
The average person tends to check their phone 150 times a day.
Wow! That’s crazy, I totally believe it. During my social media detox, I regularly found myself picking up my phone only to remember my commitment to this detox.
When I stop getting on social media I realize all this time I had and surprisingly I didn’t know what to do with it. So I did what every mom would do, I went through my to-do list from the past 5 years.
Not really, but I did get a lot done. I finally finished painting my bathroom which has been on my to-do list for over a year. I worked on some creative projects that I wouldn’t have started because I knew I didn’t have the time to finish them.
Most importantly I reconnected with a part of myself I hadn’t seen in years which leads me to the next topic.
02.) It’s Easy To Loose Yourself
With all the influence we get from the outside world, when do we take time to check in with ourselves? How is it that we have time to check in with people we don’t really know, commenting on their status updates and liking their lunch (which was surprisingly another avocado toast) but don’t have time to ask ourselves “How are you doing today, Vanessa?”.
Taking a break from social media helped me see how much I was actually neglecting my own needs & desires. The pressure I put on myself to find the “perfect” picture, having to come up with thought-provoking captions, and the utter disappointment when one of my posts didn’t get the engagement I was looking for.
Social media is such an easy distraction from ourselves and we will use it to avoid whatever uncomfortable feeling or truths we don’t want to acknowledge in ourselves.
It’s challenging when your work is focused on these social sites. Posting for yourself is always secondary to “what does my audience want?”.
The automatic shift in focus from what everyone else wanted to what I wanted was such a need for me. It allowed me to understand more of who I am and what I actually want to put out into the world. It’s probably one of the most valuable lessons I got from the experience.
03.) Comparing Is Inevitable
Let’s get real, there will always be someone who is doing it better, with that being said, it’s hard not to step back and feel like what we are doing just isn’t cutting it. We all know the gut-wrenching feeling that arises when we see or hear something that immediately has us second-guessing our appearance, personality, or work ethic. Unfortunately, social media will always have numerous triggers that can cause our confidence to take a sudden nosedive.
As unpleasant as these comparisons can feel, I see how they can serve a positive purpose in that they inform us of an area in our lives that may benefit from some improvement. However, we want to be fully secure enough in who we are first and where we are in life that we don’t feel the need to measure it to anyone else’s highlight reel (especially, a stranger).
The reality of social media is that what we see isn’t actually the full story, it’s only the highlighted version of someone’s experience and they get to choose what they want to reveal or conceal to the whole world.
Don’t use the same scale to measure two entirely different realities. Your real world, to their curated feed.
Take a step back, it really helps!
04.) No One Will Notice You’re Gone
Literally, no one is just sitting around waiting for your next Facebook or Instagram post to show up in their feed. Their feeds are already full of people and it’s likely they won’t even notice your gone and yep this includes your friends.
If you’re worried that people will forget about you if you’re not posting constantly, here is the truth, they will but that’s okay. We as a society have now been conditioned to use these platforms as our main source of connecting. And for some people, that’s what they are accustomed to which leads me to my last topic…
05.) Connecting #IRL Is Nice Too.
Yes, it can be fun to exchange casual conversations with strangers on Facebook, but you know what’s even better? Having an actual conversation with an actual person who’s sitting in front of you. Your partner. Your child. That friend who you haven’t seen in a while.
It didn’t seem so apparent to me then when I stopped using social sites to engage with friends & family. At a get-together, I immediately noticed how lost I was with where everyone was at in their lives. That’s because most of what is going on is shared on these social sites first leaving us with little experience to actually connected #IRL (in real life).
Human connection is being replaced by electronic connection.
Using virtual media as a substitute for spending time with each other makes it difficult for us to create moments that actually add on to the relationship.
We need to understand that regardless of how much social media we use in our everyday lives, nothing can ever replace a hug from a friend, or a smile saying “How are you?”.
Let online engagement only be a tool to foster more offline connections.
“Hello there, friend, I see you. How’s life in your world?”
I’ve already scheduled several social media hiatus for next year to refresh myself from the excess social media chatter — I have a hunch this is going to be so good for me in the long run. Do you want to join me next time?
What are your thoughts on taking a break from social media? Comment below — or tag @livesimplynatural. It may be just the thing that someone else needs to read!