My Social Media DetoxMar 21, 2023
At the start of the year, I always come up with a handful of goals I want to accomplish over the course of the next 365 days. Some are business related, others health related, and others related to my family. This year, I added something different because if I’m being honest, I felt like I had developed a bit of an addiction around this particular time sucking activity, and I hate the feeling of dependency…on anything. Like seriously, I don’t even drink caffeinated coffee regularly. I know-weird.
While I like to say I have a handle on my social media dependency, it still felt like there was a dependency there. And lately, I’d been breaking a lot of my own rules, so I knew it was time to kick my 2023 social media goal into gear.
What was that goal you might be asking?
Well, here’s the thing. I’m realistic. I wasn’t about to sign myself up for a 30 day hiatus from all screens and check myself into an ashram in India ala Eat, Pray, Love. Maybe one day, but not today. So, I set the goal of doing a quarterly social media detox. And since we were just two weeks shy of the end of Q1, it was time to press play.
I’ll be honest, I eased into this goal. And I don’t feel one bit guilty about it. I’m here for longevity and learning, not to torture myself to the highest degree. I wanted this to be something I repeated, so I didn’t want it to be super, duper painful, where I'd develop PTSD and never want to do it again. I also wanted to learn how I could do it better next time, so I started out slow.
I decided to do a 24 hour social media detox. I chose a Sunday because it’s not a work day, and since I use social media in the business I do, I didn’t want to add a layer of work related FOMO stress on top of that. Could I do better at checking social media less frequently on work days? You bet. But, I’ve got other tools and strategies I teach in Time MOMagement for that, and sometimes we could all use a reminder, even when we’re the expert teaching the class.
Sundays are typically days I don’t post on social media and try to dedicate to my family and home life. So, I figured a Sunday would be the perfect day to dip my toe in the social media free ice cold waters.
What else did I do to prepare for a successful detox?
I put a story up letting people know this was happening. This way, no one was DM’ing me expecting an immediate answer, no one was offended I didn’t like or comment on a post I would have normally seen, and, most importantly, I had massive accountability from everyone on social media who follows me.
Speaking of accountability, I knew I could use more of that. And, let’s get real, doing something like this is more fun and attainable with someone else doing it by your side. It’s like dieting. You wouldn’t want to go on a juice cleanse and have your husband eating all your favorite foods next to you. So, I did just that. I asked my husband if he wanted to participate so we could do this together and hold each other accountable. He was open to the idea. Score!
Throughout the day, I kept this top of mind. I was intentional about using my time to focus on other things that are truly more important than the typical, more than occasional scroll. I played board games with my kids. I talked to other parents at sporting events. When I laid down on the couch that afternoon, I rested my body and my mind. On other days, my brain would have normally been amped up by the consumption of content, even during a restful time. That Sunday, it wandered, directionless, and without constant self-sabotaging thoughts of comparisonitis against the highlight reel. It was refreshing.
So, I'm sure you’re wondering. Did you slip?
And the answer is…yes, twice. But, it truly was a moment of habit and not a moment of weakness.
I noticed that I had developed muscle memory to check my social media channels immediately after checking my email. I probably checked my email five or six times that day. Two of those times, I inadvertently opened the app, quickly realized what I’d done, and closed it immediately. I’m not mad at myself for it. I am intrigued by the fact that it happened, despite my clear intent and eager willingness to participate. And I see how powerful habits can be, both in good and bad ways. Obviously, if you do this with something you want to be doing, that’s amazing. You are putting next to nothing effort and still getting the job done. In this case, I was putting zero effort and falling into a trap I was trying hard to avoid.
So, what did I learn and what will I do differently next time?
Well, overall, I learned I’m stronger than what can often feel like a legit addiction. If I can overcome checking social media for 24 hours, I know I can overcome lengthier amounts of time. Yet, I also realize social media isn’t the only culprit of time on my phone. There’s email, the internet, games (luckily I don’t have any of those on there), and I’m sure lots more shiny objects that lure you in.
As far as next time, I’m keen on avoiding the muscle memory reflex that had me slip up a couple times this round, so I plan to move the folder I have my social apps to a different page on my phone. I could also go crazy and temporarily delete the apps, but I’m far too lazy to reinstall them. I’d also not like to lose my reel drafts in IG, so I’ll try the simple relocation in Q2. I may or may not plan for a whole weekend next time around and double the stakes to 48 hours. And, to make things even more complicated, I may or may not add in another layer of going off the grid with email, but we may need to save that one for Q3. Baby steps.
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