I started this task in January and it continued into February and it's becoming a habit in March. A social media detox. Some people love social media and that's perfectly fine, since about 2013 I think I've started a love / hate relationship with it. Like any person I can over indulge and use it for a few days like a crazy cat lady but then I rarely bother with it. Social media is pretty essential when you're a blogger or generally in any business. It's the quickest way to spread the word, find new friends/clients/ideas but it can also be overwhelming and mentally abusing. I know for the next few weeks I'm going to be switching off, I'm in an emotional place and the balance isn't good, social media doesn't help the feeling of being spread too thin.
"Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website."
Social media can lead us to undervalue ourselves. The media has a way to reach us even more now, leading us to think we need things and have to look at certain way to uphold to an image. I feel it can make mental health harder to live with, you're watching things occur and it can conjure up all kinds of feelings. Never envy someone's path but don't envy your own just make it more comfortable and less anxious. Social media shows only the highlights of others’ lives, people put up their idea of the flawless image, perfect filter and ideal caption, don't feel misled. I feel it sometimes when I go on social media and anxiety can stem from any place.
Recently my phone was in the shop for a week and I was using my tablet as a phone replacement. Bad idea. Why do we feel the need to have to always share? I'm beginning to believe the research on social media, is it really validation? Probably! Every like and comment makes us feel like what we're doing is a positive thing. Sometimes it's good to just share with like minded people but I'd rather not become an over-sharer.
How do I perform my digital detox?
• Turn off Notifications.The thing about notifications are of course there a helpful feature but it also means we are controlled by the technology, not us being the ones who control the technology. As soon as a flash, sound or vibrate appears we attentively look at our phone. Decide when you'll have a time to look at these notifications, give a set time, if you're going to spend 30 minutes going through your apps notifications, stick to that.
I've set up a time on my phone when it goes on blocking mode, no notifications from a certain time to another, only notifications from priority contacts in case of an emergency. Otherwise no whatsapp, snapchat, twitter, facebook etc no notifications during this time. That means my mind has time to unwind and declutter from the day leading to a more restful night.
• Unfollow Accounts.I started with my Twitter and unfollowed a lot of accounts. Why? I don't interact with everyone, some people just spammed timelines, I followed people I had no interests with besides blogging. Maybe I'm getting to a time in life when I realise with people I interact with I want more than just a common interest, it's not enough to hold me. Thinking too deep? Maybe but if I'm not being inspired or taught anything, is it worthwhile? Yes I lost a lot of followers but that's how it goes in this social world, people follow you expecting a follow back, if not they unfollow, I'm not being valued as a number. The same went for my personal Facebook, I unliked a lot of pages, I keep my friends list quite minimal but I've always done that. Instagram was next, I did the same thing on there and yes lost followers but oh well. Do you regard yourself as someone or as another number to someone else?
Social media can either be a reflection of the person we truly are offline or the person we want to perceive to be online. However you play it, it's up to you.
• Find Accounts That Matter.Find and follow people that help your train of thought. Since I've began this transition I've started to look for more mindful / yoga / minimalism accounts and slowly unfollow those purely beauty. It's nice and all but it's just one part of me, it's not all of me. Find that balance that when you go through your social media feed there's a nice balance of interests.
• Unsubscribe.I still have emails from around 2005/2006 so in total I've got a very un- minimalistic email account amount. I've got newsletters that go between around 5 accounts. Going through these during a spare time and un-subscribing to emails slowly and steadily, you'll soon see a clearer inbox from companies you use on a regular basis that you want to keep up with. I've seen emails from companies I signed up to their newsletters in 2009 - 2010 and safe to say I didn't really care much then, so why care now?
• Switch Off.Could you spend a day without your phone? Like a Switch off Sunday? Could you switch off your technology and go back to basics and just spend time with virtual life? I notice when watching programmes even therapist suggest couples to have a no phone policy on dates. The distraction of social media can leave us looking unsocial when with people. I've done it several times, you're with someone and on your phone, looking at that, it's pretty rude and it's things that can likely wait until you're alone & free.
• Be Prepared For Temptation.It's bound to happen, when we begin something new, we tend to seek comfort back to what we are use too. Quite like a new diet, you feel tempted to eat something because you're use to it, it's a habit. Prepare yourself for this temptation with a distraction already set up. Are there tasks you've yet to do around the house, you've put off? Why not wash your hair, do your nails, read a couple of chapters of a book. How about even doing a jigsaw or play a board game! I've been wanting to do that for so long, even going on 27 I'm still encountering the only child syndrome of having no-one to play with lol! Go for a walk, take in nature, take a breather or even work out!
This post was fun to read through if you're considering if a social media detox is for you.