A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a little voluntary break from social media. This wasn’t my first time shutting down the social media shop. Two years ago when my anxiety was at a very heightened point, I went dark for about seven months. I had no interest in being on social media, in posting, in following anyone. I wasn’t in the right place, mentally, and I had just no desire. It was also quite liberating.
When I went back on, I made it a point (though there were times I was not successful), to keep the posting and the scrolling to a minimum. It is SO easy to become consumed with likes, with followers, to see what other people are wearing, where they are going, what they’re doing. It can become exhausting when there’s no moderation. It doesn’t even matter if you have bullet-proof self-esteem. At some point, even the most confident people can crack under the social media pressure. It happens. We’re human.
Then there was the time my phone stopped working earlier this year, and while I waited for a new phone, I was off social media again for like three days, and there’s always a pattern of withdrawal, call it ‘digital heroin.’ The term (I can’t take credit for it), perfectly describes today’s addiction with staying connected and living/sharing our lives on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. The moment we aren’t able to connect, is the minute we go through those withdrawal symptoms, which begs me to constantly ask myself, ‘is too much social media bad for our (my) health?’
Part of taking care of me, is becoming aware of what’s causing me stress. Being a writer/influencer, social media is par for the course. They’re symbiotic so I have to have some sort of presence in the realm. Two years ago, I also deleted Facebook. One social media platform was enough for me. Did it cost me potential followers? Probably, but I didn’t care. My sanity was more important. How many times do you catch yourself reaching for your phone? Checking your Instagram? Putting the phone down, and then picking it up 10 seconds later, like if something so monumental and life changing happened in those 10 seconds you locked your phone? You’ve become addicted and dependent. How many times do you intend to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ but instead ‘stop and film the roses,’ opting to capture ‘the moment’ as opposed to ‘living the moment?’ I know this happens to me, and I have to remind myself to put the phone down. It’s even worse when your six year old reminds you.
The next step is finding a balance. How do you find the balance of staying connected without being consumed? That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out. I want to be able to be present, but also disconnect so I don’t miss out on what’s going on around me. It’s all about taming that major FOMO thats creeps up on all of us.
And that’s when I decided to detox.
I made the decision to take a week of from social media. To make sure I wouldn’t be tempted to go on Instagram, I deleted the app from my phone. Bye, Felicia! One week of no posting, no stories, no distractions, and not checking to see what other people were doing. As expected, the first couple of days, I would pick up the phone and would instinctively tap on where the Instagram app would be, which was now replaced by my NBC 6 app. It was crazy to see how many times I would pick up the phone to get on Instagram out of habit.
There are a million other things I could be doing instead of checking my phone every minute, and once the withdrawals subsided, I felt like a weight had been lifted. So what did I do? Well, for starters, I did a lot more of ‘Netflix and chill.’ Literally. I watched like three different shows I’ve been wanting to watch, I started reading a new book, and even watched the Royal Wedding without posting on Instagram! I live streamed it and the only memes I saw, were the ones my friends texted me. More importantly, I lived in the moment. It made me realize that sometimes I post too many stories. I love sharing my stories with you because it makes me happy, and I know that you guys love them because you tell me, but maybe it’s too many, I thought. It’s not letting me fully immerse myself in whatever it is that I’m doing on my own, with my kids, my husband, etc. Even the expression ‘everything in moderation,’ applies to social media too.
Oh, I also went back to the gym. I was on a roll, and last month I put it on the back burner, but no more. I got up, got dressed, and went downstairs and got on that treadmill, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, it felt GOOD. Another upside. Maybe some of you will read this and say, “well, you can still do all this stuff without having to detox from social media.” Yes, you’re right. Social Media detoxing is not for everyone, but I know it’s good for me, and guess what? I didn’t miss anything and the world didn’t end because I decided to take a week off. On the contrary, I felt recharged, refreshed, and balanced.
Maybe all you need is a few days, maybe you want to test the waters and detox for longer than a week, it’s all a personal choice. For me, that one week was cathartic and healthy. So much so, that I plan to do it monthly. Once a month, I plan to detox from social media, recalibrate, find my center, and keep reminding myself that there’s nothing more ‘Instagrammable’ than living your best life in the moment.
Have you ever detoxed from social media? I would love to hear your experience!
*** These photos were taken at the beautiful Walker Hotel in Greenwich Village. I stayed here one night on my last NYC trip and it was charming, relaxing, and the service was exceptional. It’s the perfect place to simultaneously find some good ol’ New York energy in a vibrant and soothing environment. Can’t you just see how relaxed and carefree I am?! It’s not just for show. Definitely check this boutique hotel out next time you’re in the Big Apple and really want to get an authentic NYC experience. Lauren, from @laurelcreative, took these amazing pictures during a beautiful afternoon at the hotel. ***