Social Media Detox Anyone?

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I gave up social media for an entire year and it was the best decision I ever made.

It’s 9:00 am and my alarm reminds me, for the 3rd time, I have to get up and be productive. Before I even start the shower I grab my phone and mind melt into Instagram for the first time of the day. The clock ticks as I mindlessly watch insta-stories of people from high school and hit “like” on photos of children I will never meet and clothes I will never own. It’s now 10:00am and I’ve already contributed one hour to nothing. I upload a filtered photo of my dog with the hashtag #Mondays and finally get out of bed at 10:20am. The rest of the day requires my morning coffee, a little bit of work and a lot of refreshing my feed. I receive the 5th “You’re all caught up” message and finally decide to step away from my phone.

Once I downloaded the app, I started to notice the addiction happen quickly. I felt a constant pull to post content. I would put down my phone and pick it back up after minutes away to see what was going on in the world of irrelevant influence. I was not present and conversations consisted of “uh huh’s” vs. taking the time for any human interaction. My time was limited to the people around me and I was now only fluent in the language of memes and hashtags. Eventually, after I recognized the time I was wasting, I decided to step back and completely give up all social media. I started with the most vital, Instagram and quickly followed with Facebook and twitter. It was official; I was dead to the social world and alive everywhere else.

A week post social detox, I have to admit was hard. I had residual checking habits with my phone every 2 minutes, but now had nothing to view. I would peruse the news and read Hollywood magazine articles congratulating yet another celebrity baby named after an inanimate object. I was now the person trying to have a conversation with a person who was glued to their phone. After the 5th “uh huh” I just gave up. I started to feel the pull to re-download the app but remained strong. Why? I started to see the benefits.

I was more present.

It’s funny to see how disconnected we are as people since the advancement of technology. You never realize how much people are in their phones till you have nothing to look out. I started to notice the beautiful graffiti portrait a block from my job and the fresh flowers at the local bodega.

I felt better about myself.

Getting off social media allowed the elimination of public scrutiny. I noticed I did it to myself and I did it for the other women posting. I started to get into the groove of taking a picture, looking for a filter and spend the rest of the time judging my skin, hair, and face until I would delete the post altogether. The fewer the likes the less I thought about the timing of things and the more I assumed it was how people saw me.

I had more time.

Yes, time! I would spend hours in a loophole of zooming, viewing and reposting everything. I now had time to read, write and indulge in real self-care like baths and meditation. I know it sounds super cheesy, but a lot can be accomplished when you aren’t just taking in consumption being more active in your own life.

I was so out of the loop, but in a good way.

The lack of consistency in my social media also promoted other ways to spend my time. I wasn’t able to tell you my thoughts on the latest Kardashian episode or the newest meme about a talking dog, but I was learning so much more. Politics, world issues, science, female progression, I started to listen to other things going on in the world-way beyond a funny 1-minute video.

The moments when I wasn’t near my phone and the time I was able to disconnect and compose my thoughts. I was able to take a deep breath and let consumption subside. The pressure to always have my phone was not as relevant and it internally helped me to relax.

 The continuous evolution of social media has a hold on all of us. Taking a step back from the social media continuum allowed me to make myself a priority and better yet a human again. After a year I decided to come back to social media and it was as if I never left. Just by downloading the app it was too easy to slip back into old habits. Luckily from my hiatus, I now know the benefits from taking that break and a better way of controlling it. 

For the people reading this, ask yourself:

 Do you refresh yourself as much as you refresh your feed?