Social media; it is one of those things that can either be a blessing or a curse. It has the capability of keeping us in contact with people from all over the world, offering great networking opportunities and assists in business promotion. On the other hand, it is now classed as a modern addiction. People are on their phones, tablets and computers for such a significant amount of time that researchers are concerned about the social impact it is having on our personal and social lives and culture. It has also paved the way for “keyboard warriors” to take a stand and bully any person or view that does not match their own.
For those of you who are subscribed to my weekly newsletter, you will know that I partook in a social media detox over the weekend. This was a suggestion offered by a course I am currently taking. I will be the first to admit, that there have been times in the past where I have been addicted to checking my social media pages to the point where I have become disconnected from reality and the present moment. So this challenge was one that I readily accepted.
The time frame for my “detox” was from 8pm Friday night to 8am Monday morning. At first this didn’t seem that daunting to me. However, as the weekend progressed I definitely realised that I was on social media for more time than I would ever care to admit! When I felt stressed, bored or at any point overwhelmed during the weekend I found that I was gravitating to my computer or phone…just to check social media accounts. Did I really need to check them? Absolutely not!
When I became aware and attuned of what I was actually feeling, I found that there was no reason for me to actually check Facebook or Instagram. It was just a time filler, an escape from the present moment.
Having said all that I only fell off the wagon ONCE! I checked my Facebook account at 9pm on Sunday night, after a tiring and exhausting day. Not too bad for a first attempt at a social media detox. I went 49 hours without social media. All those times I wanted to have a squizz at Facebook, I some how mustered the willpower to step away from the device…until 9pm on Sunday night.
What I Learnt And My Take Away
- Emotions – as with any addiction it is crucial to check the emotions going on behind why you need to partake in that activity. For me personally I found that when I felt stressed and particularly bored I had the urge that I just had to check Facebook right then and there.
- Awareness – following on from our emotions, is becoming aware of them in any given moment. Ask yourself “Why?” Why am I doing this? What will it serve? Will it actually make me feel better?
- Willpower – now this one is easier said than done for a lot of people. I’m no exception either; I’m only human. Put a Loving Earth block of chocolate in front of me, and my willpower has disembarked straight through the window! As with most other things in our life, I believe willpower is a muscle that needs exercise. The more you build it up the stronger it gets. It is also important to understand that you will only change your habit or yourself if you really want to. If you’re only half in it, don’t expect any dramatic changes to occur – no sugar coating here.
- Love & Inspiration – I found the best way to combat my social media cravings was to write down a list of things I loved and that inspired me. When I wanted to check Instagram I could see the post it note stuck to my computer of others things I could do instead. I read books, played with my son, went for a walk, cooked some delicious meals. So answer this for me, what do you really love doing? What can you replace social media with that will actually you fulfilled instead of drained reading everyone else’s drama?
- Gratitude – this leads to my last point. Be grateful. Express gratitude. Even if you’re entire life isn’t rosy with rainbows (and let’s be honest no one’s life is perfect). Write down at the end of everyday what you are grateful for. It could be something as all encompassing as your family or something as simple as that stranger that smiled at you on the street and turned or entire day around, or that delicious smoothie you had at your favourite café. Gratitude helps bring us into the present and gives us the opportunity to give thanks for all that we have.
I invite you to take a social media detox (or anything else you feel you are addicted to smoking, sugar, Netflix, etc). Set yourself a timeframe. Sometimes it is easier to start small, sometimes cold turkey is best. Do what works for you personally. Please let me know how you go.