So how does someone who works in social media, take a break from social media you may ask? Well, you don’t. I use the term ‘Social Media Detox’ very freely I’ll admit. Think of it as more of a cleansing process, eliminating as much social media from my own personal life as possible. Which means; no waking up in the morning and checking my phone like its the morning newspaper, no procrastinating important tasks to chat with my little online world and no lying in bed at night falling asleep to Facebook meme’s and Twitter controversies.
As part of my new year’s resolutions, last week I decided to go a week without social media. Initially I had wanted to try go a month but being that I am a Social Media Community Manager (I manage business’ social media’s) and a Blogger, being online is part of my life. For the duration of that week I wasn’t allowed to post anything on any platforms or engage with anyone else’s content. I wasn’t allowed to watch any Insta Stories or Snapchat video’s and I was not, above all else, allowed to scroll up and down my news feeds for an unimaginable amount of time (Why? Why do we do this?) I did however make up the ‘rules’ myself so technically I could just change them as I went along. Disclaimer: I did.
When I think of the word ‘social media’ it’s difficult to formulate a paragraph as to what it represents to me. I have a million and one thoughts regarding the topic so to condense it all into cohesive thoughts is a real task. Social media is weird, wonderful, powerful and a tool that has rapidly changed the world as we know it. It has skyrocketed careers, businesses and shared people’s stories around the world. It has connected people and to some extent, has pushed us all to be more and to do more – anything for that perfect picture ya know. Social media has also opened the gates for online bullying, peer-pressure to the highest degree, self-doubt and the ability to never ever be fully immersed in the moment. To be immersed in this thing called life. Like most things in life, social media has good things and bad things and just like in life, it’s up to you which aspect you choose to focus on and embrace.
Without getting too deep, I know that we all have our own personal struggles with social media, whatever they may be. Did you know that just by logging into my social media accounts, I can automatically jeopardise my entire day and put myself into a bad mood? Just by looking at other people’s lives, other people’s things. Basically just sitting there, consciously or sub-consciously, comparing myself to other people. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, self-doubt is the thief of joy (maybe that’s not the exact quote but it’s something like that). Regardless of what we know to be right and what we know to be true this can still get the better of us. Which is why I took this time without social media consuming my life to really reflect on things and re-evaluate situations in my life (there is more to this but I’m trying to be vague, amuse me).
The first day of my ‘detox’ wasn’t hard per say it was just, different. It felt strange to not be fiddling with my phone 24/7 and to have to put all my concentration into one thing at a time. I didn’t realise what a permanent fixture my phone had become in my hand. In the mornings I landed up having so much more time to make a good breakfast, put on my make-up and tidy my room before work. Getting out of bed was the most challenging as I usually go online when I’m slowly waking up as a transition period from dead asleep to awake again – please tell me I’m not the only one who does this? (That and I can convince myself to stay in bed a bit longer). During the day I didn’t struggle too much as I was still on other accounts posting images and sharing links, I still got my fix 😉 Even if it wasn’t from my own accounts personally. I even managed to go out for lunch and not take one picture of my food, the restaurant or the amazing view in front of me. I just enjoyed it and kept it all to myself! (Groundbreaking stuff guys).
The evening was probably the hardest for me to not be on my phone as that is the time that I like to wind down from the day, check-in on things and work on my blog. To me I associate all those things with social media and so to be deprived of that was a testing situation – how cringe worthy to even type this out. #FirstWorldProblems. In my new-found spare time; I caught up on season 2 of The Crown, I read my new book and I coloured in with my new crayons and colouring in book – adult versions I promise. These tasks kept my fidgeting hands busy and my mind seemingly busy as well. It was only after two or three days of breaking in my new routine that I realised how much more there was to this social media thing. Day in and day out I spend so much time with my nose poked into other people’s lives that I don’t even realise the effect it is beginning to have on me.
For quite some time now I have been having really bad nightmares, bad mood swings and a pretty negative outlook on things that used to bring me so much joy. Although you would think that it’s a pretty obvious discovery, last week I felt a whole lot of that fall away and a whole lot of myself, my real self, return. I know this might sound rather dramatic which I apologise for, it’s honestly not like I’m a miserable social media junkie with no life. I can just sometimes forget that what you see online is not real life. We cannot allow ourselves to be ruled my an ‘imaginary’ sphere filled with people we hardly know or people we have never met, with stories and images that are not entirely accurate. Social media was created to help us connect with one another. To have a look into each other’s lives and to inspire one another. Everyone has their own path, their own story and their own voice, don’t let self-comparison rob you of those things. Besides, if it’s not fun anymore and not making you happy, what an actual waste of time! No but really.
On another note…
Sorry to disappoint but my week without social media has not completely and utterly changed my existence from here on out. I still love social media and all it has brought about in my life. It did however refresh and remind me to check myself and the world around me. In terms of your personal life, Social media is REALLY not all that. I would highly recommend everyone take a break from social media at some point or another. Whether it be for a month, a week or even just an afternoon every so often, it’s always a positive thing to live in the moment and reflect on the life you are privileged to lead. Think about it, when last did you go even one day without social media?
Sheesh, I’m even inspiring myself right now guys.