I was starting to get anxious every time an alert or notification went off on my cell phone.
The alerts would derail me from whatever sort of productive moment I was trying to have. It would take me moments to recover and get back into my “zone.” Moreover, I would mindlessly scroll through Facebook and Instagram when I should have been doing other things. I even went down Amazon rabbit holes each day.
The time spent with my neck extended downward, staring at my phone was starting to affect not only my mental wellbeing but also my physical wellbeing. Therefore, it became clear that a social media break was needed to help me reset. I turned notifications off and practiced the art of putting the phone down. Here are the lessons I learned from a social media detox.
My Attention Span Needed a Reset.
I could have sworn that my my phone was inducing symptoms of attention-deficit in me. Like Dennis the Menace’s character in the 1993 film, my hands would clasp together as I tried – and failed – to avoid mischief. My mischief in this case was scrolling Facebook when I needed to be doing other things. Essentially, I was no good at sitting idle. Red light? I would pick up the phone. Document loading on the computer? Obviously, I’d see what was new on Instagram. By turning off notifications on my social media and news apps during my social media detox, I was able to offset my urge to pick up and click. An uninstall of apps is an even more powerful way to truly disconnect.
My Productivity Was On the Decline.
I began to associate scrolling through my cell phone apps as a form of decompression. It was how I would “unwind” after a stressful day at work. Also, it was a form of “relaxing” for me because it required little to no brainpower. I wasn’t giving attention to passion projects or activities that held personal meaning for me. By putting the phone down, I revisited abandoned craft projects and accomplished more during my workday.
I Relied On Social Media To Keep Me Connected.
Checking the newsfeeds on my social media became my way of knowing what friends and acquaintances, and even people I friended over a decade ago, were up to. During the social media detox, I realized that a post on social media doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of one’s reality. It’s a pretty passive and unsocial way to “stay in touch.” Additionally, I was reading updates and rants and controversial views from people that I wasn’t even close with. It was time to clear the weeds, narrow down my feed, and actually reach out to friends directly to see how they were doing.
I Didn’t Have to Share Every Moment For it to Have Meaning.
It’s so easy to share our lives, our stories, with others. By clicking the ‘+’ on Instagram, we can share a glimpse of our day in mere seconds and crosspost it to Facebook or Twitter just as quickly. But do we really need to? During my social media break, I resisted the urge to share that cute thing my daughter did during breakfast, what my dinner creation process looked like, or how the sky looked at sunset on a particular day. And guess what. It all had meaning to me and I was mindfully aware of it.
I could go on with the things I discovered during my social media break, or tell you the best way to detach from the phone to live in the present. I think ultimately what works for one person might not align with the benefits discovered for another. There are numerous blog posts addressing the topic, even some older ones here on San Diego Moms. We can even track our time on social media using apps for our phones! If you feel the urge to pick up your phone and open social media apps more times in a day than you’d like, a social media detox might just be for you!