I had been feeling the pull for awhile to step away from social media. So back in July I made the decision that, starting August 1st, I would take a break from ALL social media consumption for a month.
To be honest I felt a gamut of emotions even leading up to this detox. (Which confirmed for me that it was definitely time to create more margin for other things and embrace a hiatus that would hopefully serve me well.) I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I anticipated experiencing a bit of a void.
I use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and had started to play with TikTok. My online business, https://www.authenticsoulcare.com/, is the main reason I post regularly to these platforms (Facebook and Instagram being what I gravitate towards the most.) I also enjoy staying connected with friends and family, on a personal level, on these same sites.
Here’s What I Learned:
I noticed some interesting changes in my life that have caused me to reevaluate how I will show up moving forward. Having a healthy relationship with tech is key.
Decreased Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
At differing points in my life both depression and anxiety have surfaced. Fortunately, each time I was able to work through these issues, I’d become aware of situational experiences that seemed to cause the onset of one or both of these challenges.
Over my 30 day social media hiatus, any slight symptoms of anxiety and depression had subsided. I’d stopped comparing myself to other people (other coaches included,) because I had no idea what was going on in their lives and felt less anxious because I wasn’t compulsively checking social media. I was also able to connect more deeply with my inner truths and rest in knowing that what’s meant for me will find me.
Progress on Meaningful Projects
Attention is the currency of achievement, and you’ll be amazed at how much you achieve when you’re no longer spending any of that attention on Facebook. Quitting social media completely allowed me to spend ALL of my time and attention on things that mattered, and led to greater levels of clarity, and progress on several different projects.
I read multiple books, I conquered some household projects, I did more journaling and I spent a ton of time outdoors. I‘ve been going to hot yoga about four times per week. I had ample opportunity to assess where I’m headed with my business and how I want to show up to serve others. After quitting social media, I had a major breakthrough. It’s hard to hear the sound of your own creativity when it’s drowned out by the noise of excessive digital input.
Deeper and More Meaningful Interactions
My kiddos just started a new school year. I now have a 10th grader, a freshman and a 7th grader. It often seems like yesterday I had two in a double stroller and a baby strapped to my chest. When they were little we spent summers doing arts and crafts, playing in the sprinkler, taking little day trips to the library, etc., There was opportunity for daily naps and snuggling together for story time (which was my favorite.) Now my little ones aren’t so little anymore. They’re out and about, spending time with friends and are involved in sports and other activities. My older two even had jobs this summer. Life seems to be moving at an extremely rapid speed.
I was starting to realize that there’s nothing more valuable in life than the time we have left with the people who matter most to us. I made it one of my biggest priorities for the last month of summer to be more present to my kids and to connect more often. Life is far from perfect, but every interaction so far has been deeper and more meaningful. I’m more present, aware and mindful. I’ve had long drawn out conversations with my husband, friends and family members.
Measuring my Life in a Different Way
How you measure your life will have a profound impact on your happiness and well-being. When I ask my clients about the metrics they use to measure their life, very few say they measure social media metrics. While that might be true, people don’t see that the features on most social media platforms cause us to unconsciously measure our lives with vanity metrics. You’re being programmed to measure your life with someone else’s yardstick. This kind of measurement inevitably leads to comparison, which is the thief of joy.
We are Addicted to Social Media Whether We Realize it Or not
We didn’t sign up for the digital lives we now lead. They were instead, to a large extent , crafted in boardrooms to serve the interests of a select group of technology investors. —Cal Newport
When I logged back into Facebook for the first time, there was a flood of notifications, none of which were particularly relevant, and most of which were inconsequential. I realized how compulsive my habit of “checking in” had become, and also realized that I hadn’t missed anything. When I logged into Instagram, things looked pretty much the same. *I did continue with a weekly Friday Welcome post to new members in my Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/550351972278918/?ref=shares
I appreciated having a couple people reach out to share that they were missing my daily posts. I tend to share regularly about the three pillars of my work which are:
•Practicing Authentic Soul Care⠀
•Taking Off Your Mask/Honoring Your True Self
This is how I serve my audience, which actually brings me great joy. I will return to this, but most likely not on a daily basis.
What surprised me most about this experience was how much the desire to check social media dissipated. It was the clearest indicator that the way we use social media is not a conscious choice, but we have in fact been programmed and it’s truly addictive.
If the upside of 30 days away is progress on your most important goals, greater levels of happiness, and decreased levels of depression and anxiety, don’t you think that’s a worthwhile reason to embrace digital minimalism?
Maybe something to ponder as we begin a new month and head into fall/the last quarter of the year.
Grace and Peace,
Holistic Mindset/Spiritual Coach