Thursday, February 1, 2018

Social Media Detox

I approached 2018 feeling burnt out, run down, and honestly sick and tired of the habits suffocating my life. So for my resolutions, I sought tangible things I could do each month to focus on reenergizing and rejuvenating how I feel and how I live.

For January, I took a month off of social media (Facebook, Instagram, + Snapchat), and it was an experience - that's for sure. I learned a lot of things and I honestly feel super recharged. I highly encourage all of you to take a social media detox - whether for an entire month or just a few days.

The first thing I noticed is that a month is a long time when it comes to this sort of sacrifice. Toward the end, I was literally counting down the days until I could redownload the apps onto my phone. Ha!

But let me tell you, I am so much calmer. I feel so much more present and content in my life. It'd be a challenge to write off social media forever because I enjoy sharing my life with others and participating in the happenings of my friends through the web, but the thought is tempting. 

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how social media has transformed almost every aspect of our day to day lives. I learned a lot, and I now I have healthier mindset when it comes to transitioning back into the social media world.

Reasons I Did This:

A. First and foremost, I relied on social media way too much. It was somewhat of an addiction, and I would use it as crutch to avoid awkward social encounters, to fill a random block of free time, and it was the first thing I consumed my mind with in the morning and the last before bed. Social media consumed way too much of my time.

B. Secondly, and this is basically preaching to the choir, but I got sick and tired of the feelings of inadequacy, unstable self-worth, and comparison that emerged from the entire practice. Some of this was from peer comparison, but most of this was from the professional accounts... bloggers, glorified models, social media celebrities -- I would see their professionally edited photos as they jaunted across the globe on $100,000 trips they didn't pay a dime for. It made me feel as though my college life was blase. I was surrounded by a fantasy and a fairytale, and the reality of my life felt like a disappointment compared to the technicolor I saw on social media.

C. Finally, the most important of reasons... Through social media, I spend hours absorbed in a timeless world, which means I am missing out on living in the present. The effect of social media on communication and interpersonal relationships is startling. I was missing out on so much actual living through being absorbed in this online world. Through this month detox, I am now so much aware of the world around me. I took time to people watch in present time, not on people's social media accounts. I took time to reinvest in nature, read self help books, and I spent a ton of time just reflecting on my life.

Things I Discovered:

A.  Fear of missing out. - It is somewhat embarassing to admit this, but this was perhaps my biggest hesitation in attempting the month detox, which leads to the effect that was not as as scary as intially thought:

B. You do miss out!!!! - I realized how much I rely on social media to provide news and information, and to keep me informed. It is scary to see how left out of society you really are if you opt to not participate in social media. While I feel as though it is important to stay informed, I have to say it was quite refreshing to be so out of touch... it was its own type of vacation.

C. You are so much more present. - I touched on this above, but the lack of connectedness makes you much more connected with the physcial world surrounding you. It's a pretty powerful revelation.

D. I had SO much more time!!! - I cannot emphasize this enough. For people who are struggling with time management or anyone who feels there are just not enough hours in the day, take some time to truly evaluate how often you check social media. (Hack: If you go into settings on your iPhone, and click on battery, you can see just how much percentage you use on every feature of your phone... it's quite interesting!) If you opt to turn off your phone for a few hours, I think you will be surprised at how much more productive you become! This leads to...

E. My phone battery lasted so much longer. - Before this detox, I thought something was wrong with my phone because I felt as though my battery died all the time. Now, by the time I go to bed after not charging my phone all day, my phone is still at 50% battery. It's crazy!

F. More than anything, I discovered just how much I use social media. There truly is such thing as too much of a good thing. I think social media is wonderful. It has truly connected people across the globe. There are so many benefits, but there are some effects if you aren't careful. Moderation is key to a life lived in balance. Practice moderation when it comes to your social media usage too!

I highly encourage everyone to disconnect to reconnect. Social media has transformed our lifestyles, and sometimes it is so easy to get so caught up in the online world that we become less focused on the present life we have to live.

Honestly, this detox was the perfect thing to end my discontent funk that I ended 2017 with. I feel reconnected and recharged. I hope 2018 has had a graceful start for each of you!


Sarah Beth

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