Wow, am I ever addicted to my accounts on social media! Not only is my phone constantly within reach, but every few minutes I pick it up to scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. I promise you, there isn’t really anything new every few minutes, but I continue to check anyway because I feel the need to.
Because of my irrational addiction, I decided to try something out; I decided to go on a week-long cleanse from my social media accounts. That’s right, I turned them all off for an entire week. For someone with a social media addiction, it definitely wasn’t easy, but I had a great end result!
Here is what happened:
I was going away with my family for ten days. We were going to a tropical place to get away from Canada’s cold winter and relax. Since I was leaving the country, I knew I wouldn’t be able to use my phone data or service without a cost. Unless I was hooked up to WiFi (and I wasn’t sure what the chances of that were), I wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone anyway. Therefore, I decided that I would use my time away to cleanse myself of social media; for science, of course.
At first, I was in hell. The urges to pick up my phone were awful. I wanted so badly to “like” a friend’s post, to update everyone on Twitter about where I was or to post a picture of my beach view. It was incredible hard to cut myself off from social media cold-turkey. However, after a while, the urges to check social media went away.
Near the middle of the week, I really started to enjoy not depending on my social media. I went for a lot of walks, and I read so much by the pool. It was so relaxing and rejuvenating, and I stopped feeling the need to check up on everyone else’s life because I was just thoroughly enjoying living my own.
I really started to notice the little things in life. I appreciated the scent of the salt water by the beach, I woke up early enough to see the sunrise and watch it set in the evening, and I just really liked being alone. Despite the fact that I was in such an Instagrammable place, I felt the most relaxed when I lost the desire to check social media.
The biggest change that I noticed during my social media absence was the change in my sleeping patterns. For my entire life, I have never been someone who enjoys waking up in the morning; however, when I pulled away from social media, I was going to bed around 11:00 pm, and waking up around 7:00 am or 8:00 am naturally. Also, I wasn’t even mad about this sleep schedule. I actually thoroughly enjoyed waking up early and experiencing a full day.
Finally, I learned that not everything is important to do right away. Beforehand, when I saw that I had a message on my phone or a notification from any social media, I would feel the need to check it and respond immediately. By taking time away from social media, I learned that I don’t always need to make myself available for everyone all of the time, and that I should respond when I need to, not because I feel like I have to immediately.
Taking a break from social media was one of the best things that I ever did for myself, and I learned so much. I don’t rely on my social media in the same way that I used to, and I often take evenings to turn it off and focus on other things that are important to me, whether it is finishing my work, relaxing and shutting out the world, or just being with people face-to-face. It has been two months since my detox, and I never reverted back to depending on my social media in the same way again. I have learned how to balance, and I think that is the key to using social media.
Feature image via Vivian Hoorn