Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: What Social Media Detox Taught Me. (7/13/17)

We live in a world of technology, and it’s simultaneously a blessing and a curse.

Technology makes things a lot easier to do; we can contact people within seconds, we can look something up in seconds, you could find out current events faster than most TV news outlets, and you can stay connected with people within these different social media platforms. Of course, over the years phones became more advanced and sadly more people use their phones more than they do their computers. I’ve known people who wrote final papers in their Notepad app on their phones. While yes, having a phone and these social media platforms may seem like the essentials to your life, you realize just how much you’re missing out on the world when you’re constantly worried about missing out on your timelines and news feeds. Like any addiction, quitting social media cold turkey will have anyone feel insane; you have to find some other way to keep your mind and hands busy that isn’t phone or social media related. Sometimes, the first step into getting social media detoxed is honestly to get a reality check. Realize that most of your time online isn’t necessary. No, you don’t need to constantly write Facebook statuses on what you’re doing. No, you don’t have to be “woke” online to be liked; you can simply be “woke” without stating how “woke” you are online. My point to all of this is that we think we need social media to be liked and accepted into society, and when you spend all of your time checking your feed and becoming so concentrated on that aspect of your life, you forget to interact with the rest of the world. You forget how to talk to people without typing “LOL” after every sentence. You miss some really good moments of your life when you’re too busy trying to get a dope selfie to put on Instagram. The fact of the matter is social media can be taken away from your life as fast as it came in. 

I decided to go on a social media detox because it was starting to negatively affect me. I started seeing other people lose weight and get fit, I started seeing people get their dream jobs after college, and I started to get intimidated by those people because I was not there yet. I haven’t lost weight in a while and I haven’t found my dream job, yet alone my dream career. I began trying to mirror that “success”, not realizing that social media statuses and pictures are simply just a fraud. Decoys. Something that hides the problems and insecurities people really have in their lives. I mean, it makes sense – who wants to show everyone on social media their problems and insecurities? We don’t. So we post things like “I got the job!” or “I lost my first 15 pounds!” to make it seem like we are happy in life; like there aren’t any worries in our world. But that builds up a facade. That tells us that the bad and the ugly in our lives shouldn’t be shared or told to anyone else. Of course, there’s a distinct line of privacy people want on social media, but when you constantly put on this “positive persona” online, it shows in real life. You’re left just being a person with a surface. There’s no depth in you because you hide that about yourself all the time. That’s exactly what I did prior to going into detox.

Going on a social media detox wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be this time around. I simply just logged off everything and deleted all of my apps off my phone. To take place of those phone apps, I downloaded games like Flow and Episode to keep my hands and mind busy whenever I just wanted to sit back and relax for a few. Once the weeks began to pass, I started to learn more about myself and the people around me. I started to be more aware and started to listen. I started to handle my problems and issues face-on without having any social media distraction. I had more time to get things done and enjoy doing the things I normally didn’t have time to do like write or do arts and crafts. As I started to find and do things that weren’t on my phone, I realized that I started using my phone less often. For something that I planned to do because I was on this self-love journey, became something that I want to begin doing as a lifestyle change.

Anyway, if you’re looking to step back from social media, here are some tips that I found helpful in my own detox journey:

  • Be in the right mind space. This is something you can’t be indecisive about. Compromise what apps and social platforms are causing you to feel a certain way about yourself. Those apps for me were Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Find a new hobby. The reality is that a lot of your time is going to be free once it’s not spent on your phone and social media. Join a class, go to the gym, write, explore your neighborhood; do something that benefits you and makes you happy. In the time of my detox, I started to sing in a choir and we had rehearsals every Saturday following up to our show. Singing has always been my way to escape life for a few hours, so I’m happy to have it back in my life.
  • Make sure you’re logged off on every device you use. The beauty about most apps (like Instagram) is that once you delete them off of your phone, there’s no way to check your feed without going online and doing it the most annoying way possible. The same goes for a lot of other social media apps. Deleting them off your phone makes it easier to not check them, in my opinion. Delete the saved tabs of these networks off your computer as well.
  • Out-beat your bad case of FOMO. Honestly, our fear of missing out is the reason why social media disorder is now a thing that’s discussed in psychology. It’s a real thing and it’s a reason why most social media detoxes fail after a day or two. Like I said, your head has to be in the right mindset to successfully beat FOMO. Your mind has to be focused on the bigger picture: the reason why you decided to detox in the first place.
  • Use your phone as a phone, not a computer. Text, call. That’s it.
  • Don’t feel pressured to go back full-time. As I begin to get TNTH back up and running, I know I’m going to have to sign onto these social media platforms to share posts and get them out there. A lot of people use social media to get out there as well. Because of this, people feel like they got to get back into old habits when really you don’t. Which brings me to my next point:
  • If you run a business through social media or your brand, keep your time on social media part-time. I might be posting on my social media accounts now that TNTH is running again, but it doesn’t mean I’m posting on social media again. What I mean by that is simply my social media is now running solely for TNTH. Occasionally I’ll post something, but my life isn’t going to be on social media. My blog is.

Life just feels a lot better without seeing things that negatively affect you and the way you perceive yourself. Again, technology is great to have in your life, but you shouldn’t allow it to become your life. Make sure you have control of your life, not a manufactured piece of metal.

-Liz (: