16 Sep My Social Media Detox
I took 10 days vacation in August to spend time away from the city with my family and my husband. Plus, I decided to take it one step further and take a vacation from my social media accounts. I love connecting with people on social media but it is a part of my business so it can feel like I’m taking my business with me on vacation. I’ve seen other people talk about doing social media or full digital detoxes and I’ve always been curious to try it myself. Let me share my experience with you!
Developing The Detox Plan
I have to say I was anxious about doing a social media detox. I love being connected to all of my friends and followers on social media and I was worried I would feel like I was missing out being away from it for a full week (think of all the stories I would miss!). But I was realizing that social media was getting in the way of my relationship with my husband. I would spend our time together scrolling social media or putting together a story or a post. I wanted to be fully present for our vacation together and a social media detox seemed like the best way to allow that to happen. As with any type of detox, it’s important to put together a plan before you get started. There are many ways to do a digital detox so here are a few of the considerations I made prior to starting my detox.
Type of Detox
I monitored my phone use for a few days prior to starting this detox, and it was clear that social media was where I was spending the majority of my time. I considered a complete digital detox from my phone but it felt too overwhelming. Social media felt challenging but doable.
I decided one week made sense because that was the timeline of my vacation. If I weren’t on vacation, I likely would have chosen to do a shorter timeline since social media is connected to my business. Again, I wanted it to feel challenging but doable.
Considering My Why
For any type of detox, it’s important to understand why you are doing the detox. What do you hope to gain from the experience? For me, I wanted the space to clear my mind and fully relax while I was on vacation. Also, I had started to realize that social media was taking over a bit too much of my daily life. My vacation felt like the perfect time to monitor my use and see how I could improve it going forward into the busy fall months.
The Detox Week
When I first started my detox, I was worried I had made a big mistake. Initially, I felt increased anxiety being away from it. Who might be messaging me? What would I miss? Would people feel that I wasn’t being supportive because I didn’t like their posts? I wasn’t sure if I was going to gain anything from this experience. I kept thinking that I should be enjoying my vacation and maybe I’d be enjoying it more if I could spend time scrolling through social media. Luckily, I knew exactly why I had chosen to do the detox and was able to keep reminding myself of what I was hoping to gain from it. I have to admit that it feels embarrassing to write about my heightened anxiety from avoiding social media but I don’t think I’m alone in this attachment to it. Thankfully, the anxiety dissipated and it ended up being a very positive experience. Here are some of the observations I made during my detox week.
Subconscious Social Media Use
One of the first things I noticed at the beginning of my detox was how often I subconsciously reached for my phone and opened the Instagram or Facebook app. It was amazing how the app would be open before I even realized what I was doing! It took me some conscious effort to stay away from it.
The aspect of the detox that I LOVED was the chance to rediscover some of my favourite hobbies. In the time that I would previously spend scrolling on social media, I started reading and knitting instead. I was excited to get through more of my book and to make some good progress on my knitting project! It added to my vacation experience to feel that I had enough time to enjoy these hobbies.
I was surprised to find that I noticed improved connection with those around me. Actually, I found it annoying how much time they were spending on their phones! I noticed I was able to focus better on the present moment and felt more compelled to get involved with the conversations being had around me. I also didn’t have social media as a way to check in on my friend’s activities for the week so I was more likely to individually connect with them to ask about their weeks. It was a good reminder that although social media is a great way to connect with a wide variety of people, it isn’t the best way to stay connected to your closest friends.
Real Life Post-Detox
Despite my initial hesitations, I really enjoyed the detox experience. I noticed a number of positive aspects that I continued into my daily life when I returned from vacation. Most detoxes aren’t sustainable long-term but are the perfect way to kick-start habit change. It’s important to take time after the detox to appreciate the benefits you gained from it and then look at which aspects of the detox are manageable to maintain in your daily life.
Ditch the Notifications
I have kept the notifications turned off for my social media apps. Honestly, I don’t know why I ever had the notifications on! I always check social media at least once a day so I’ll see the notifications when I sign onto the app. The notifications for social media are never urgent so it’s not necessary for them to pop up on my home screen. It’s helped me better manage my daily use now that I don’t have these pop up notifications.
Social Media Can Wait
I’m continuing to focus on having personal connection with my husband, family, and friends. I’m paying more attention to when I reach for my phone and trying to stay away from social media when I’m with my husband or my friends. If I want to create a story, I can take the photos while I’m out and about but I can create the story when I return so it doesn’t take away from my experience.
Hobbies Are Important
I’m continuing to read and knit more regularly. When I’m watching TV, I’m reaching for my kntting project instead of scrolling social media. When I’m eating breakfast or lunch, I’m reaching for my book instead of turning on a show.
Keep It Regular
I’ve decided to choose a weekly time to do a social media detox. Saturday nights felt like the perfect option for two reasons. First of all, I usually either do a date night with my husband (even if it’s a date night on the couch with Netflix!) or go out for dinner with friends/family. I also don’t have any pressing business duties on Saturday nights. There’s literally no reason that I need to spend my Saturday on social media. So I’ve decided to make it a weekly detox on Saturday from 6pm to Sunday at 10am. This will give me a weekly reminder of the benefits I noticed from my weeklong detox. I’m curious to see how it goes!