No Social Media for One Week - The Truth Behind the Challenge
Pretty much like the rest of the world out there, my life revolves around social media. Sure, I can try to convince myself otherwise, but the truth is I get my news from social media, I remember birthdays through social media (most of the times that is... sorry Mary), I can keep up on the latest nonsensical trend in pop culture thanks to social media and I can post text ramblings, picture shenanigans and disappearing video on social media as well.
What other way am I going to be connected with my friends back home or spend idle hours of my day if not infinitely scrolling and stuffing my mind with worldwide lunacy?
I can't live without it, yet I hate being so dependent on it.
So after my most trusted informant (aka my bf) told me that I should "get off IG for a little bit, it's making you angry", I hadn't taken a minute to actually analyze why I was turning into this moody monster every time my eyes were glued to my phone screen.
The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem
I have to admit, the first thing I'd check in the mornings: Instagram... the last thing I'd do before bed: Instagram. Every time I had a spare minute, if I was waiting in line, sitting in traffic, waiting for my food at a restaurant, eating, watching tv, walking (even walking!) I'd be looking at everybody else's highlight reel. Feeling happy, then sad, then angry, the jealous, then proud, the scoffing at someone's exaggerated and overly produced "life", then annoyed by advertisements, then happy again. It was an emotional rollercoaster that would leave me feeling insecure, conflicted, questioning my life, my material possessions, my goals, my achievements, my looks. Everything! It was a ridiculous self-destructive routine I had going on for me. No wonder I was moody and cranky.
Sick of this uneasiness, I decided to challenge myself to quit social media for a week.
Here's what happened.
On the first day of my challenge I began by deleting all social media apps from my phone. No Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, but most importantly, no more Instagram for an entire week. Eek!
What was going on in my brain: I don't know if I can do this. Can I do this? Maybe one more scroll! NO! Stop. Delete. Geesh... get it together sister. Press that X and put the phone down.
What was going on in my life: I tried to carry on with my life as required by society, with the exception that I pretty much hid the phone from myself in the bottom of my bag. I felt anxious throughout the day and realized the urge I had to check IG every second. -The first step to overcoming an addiction is accepting it. Check.
Today I woke up and immediately grabbed my phone only to realize the IG app wasn't there. I felt a bit annoyed and then I reminded myself of the goal.
What was going on in my brain: My glob this is boring! And weird. I don't know anything. What's happening in the world? I feel disconnected and left out. WTF? Maybe I'm boring! I need to do something about it right now.
What was going on in my life: I started to realize all the things I could do with my free time. So I decided to experience the great outdoors on a one and a half hour hike.
3 days into my purge and the universe had not yet imploded. Nor did my life suffer negative consequences for not knowing the most recent #spon content out there.
What was going on in my brain: Hey, maybe this isn't that bad after all. I feel more relaxed and kind of free. I'm not constantly looking for nice backdrops and good lighting to take pictures. My hands are free to do what they want! I'm not holding the tech brick everywhere I go.
What was going on in my life: My boyfriend (unaware of my challenge) told me I was glowing and looked happier. No. Not pregnancy related. I just think it's this detox working its magic on me.
Today was Thanksgiving Day. It was specially tough not to check the feeds on every platform to see how everybody set up their beautiful turkey feasts, their stylish outfits, and the amazing Pinterest-like props that some creatives come up with.
What was going on in my brain: OMG! This is a major set back. I have to at least post something I'm grateful for. Don't I? Should I? Can I? Does the violate the terms of my own contract? Does anybody even care?
What was going on in my life: Thanksgiving preparations and lots of eating. I also decided to cheat my challenge this day and posted one picture on IG. Partial shame on me. I didn't check the feed though, since I did not feel like ruining my progress so far.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Long weekend is here! I re-deleted Instagram and decided to spend quality time with my loved ones. Hooray! I will fight this battle 'til the end. I even went out without my phone a couple of times. So accomplished.
What was going on in my brain: Pure happiness. I really felt free, more confident, and overall relieved with the fact that I wasn't planning my next 630 posts on social media. I wasn't over-thinking my outfits, analyzing my shoe options to see if they're IG worthy etc. I was just being me, in the simplest, most organic form.
What was going on in my life: I was actually enjoying the errands, workouts and leisurely times I had this weekend. I wasn't thinking if something would work for IG, or wasting hours of sunshine by pre-editing pictures in 3 different apps before posting them. No more evaluating if the place I'm at is maybe just Snapchat material, no cross-promoting my posts on my Facebook pages and Twitter feed. Phew! The relief.
In conclusion, quitting social media for a week made me realize how much I don't need it. Sure, I'll still enjoy posting pictures of IG and occasionally some random stuff on Snapchat, but this time off helped me regain my lost self-confidence, refocus on the important things in life and most importantly stop questioning myself and my life. I felt good about being me and that's more valuable than any useless, perfectly lit selfie I can take. Will I do this again? I most certainly will.
Have you had a social media detox before? Do you need one prescribed ASAP? Tell me in the comments below, I love to hear from you guys!