Updated: Jun 16, 2020
For those of you that follow my personal Instagram account, you may know that I recently decided to do a social media detox. I wanted to write a blog post about my experience since the very first day of the detox but waited until I completed it to write this post. I waited because I wanted to see how my emotions, moods, reactions, and well-being shifted throughout the entire two week period to give a true reflective review. This post is my own personal reflections, observations, and experiences during the last two weeks. Enjoy!
Let me start this beast of a blog post by saying, I LOVE social media and the connection it brings, especially during times of social distancing. Technology and the internet are by far two of the greatest inventions of all time. However, I am finding it to be more of a curse than a blessing. It is causing more of a divide and spreading more hate than I wish to consume. It is also extremely detrimental to our mental health, according to personal experience [and numerous scientific research articles]. With that being said, I decided I am in charge of how I want to feel. I am in charge of my energy and what I absorb on a minute by minute basis. No, not every minute can be controlled, but it can be more focused and in tune with what I want to focus on. Much like any type of detox, this social media detox was an awakening for me; An awakening for what I want my daily and future life to look like. Full of positivity, love, grounding, and peace. [This does not mean that I am not educating myself on the current political and civil issues in America, it just means that I am not using my social media platform to do so].
SO TAL, WHY DID YOU DO IT?!
I wanted to do a social media detox for many reasons. The main reason was to put an end to the overwhelming videos of chaos and negative emotions I was consuming daily. I was feeling all of the anxiety of the world. The anger, hate, judgment, and fear; I wanted to escape. I wanted to find my own space of stillness and peace and I knew the best way to do that was to listen to my “whisper”. My inner whisper was telling me to delete my apps and get back to what Talia is feeling.
Right before I deiced to do the detox, I realized that I am not in my own head usually: I’m in my head thinking about other people’s thoughts. Read that again. I am in my head thinking about other people’s thoughts. I see what you post, I breathe it in, I feel it mentally, I absorb the energy you give off from that story or that post, then I swipe on and immediately digest an entirely different humans post and the cycle continues for hours each day.
We don't realize that as humans, we are not machines. We are human beings with souls and emotions. We are not meant to consume mass amounts of information 24/7. We are not meant to carry the thoughts, emotions, or opinions of our friends, family members, acquaintances, or even strangers every minute of every day. Yes, I LOVE social media for sharing and connecting multiple communities. I love being able to see how my friends are doing and what they are up to. I love educating myself by following mentors, leaders, and staying informed about the world's current issues. I also love that social media allows us to promote our businesses and share our thoughts, like this one, freely and openly. However, with the current political, civil, and health issues our world is facing, it has been very hard to even focus on what I am feeling and needing for my mental health to be healthy and stable. Have you been feeling this way, too?
I have always been a very empathetic person. I consume other's emotions pretty heavily, regardless if they are in person or online. I FEEL your energy. I feel your emotions. We all do, to a certain extent. I was consuming everyone's hate, anger, and fear. I was consuming stranger's feelings that I didn't even know!
I needed to take a step back and breathe. I needed to take a moment (or two weeks) to refresh my mental capacity.
I wanted to focus on what TALIA believes. What TALIA feels. I had to really take a breath and understand where did I fall into all of those issues? I had to ask myself: How is this affecting me mentally? How do I feel? Where do I stand? The answer to those questions: "Mentally, I am not ok" and "I feel overwhelmed, anxious, and full of racing thoughts and uncertainty." After checking in with myself, I knew what I needed to do.
We have to take care of ourselves and listen to our bodies when they are telling us something. Mine was telling me that I was consuming too much. I had to listen to my own whispers that kept telling me to SHUT IT OFF.
"Too much of anything is bad" Food, alcohol, smoking, sex, drugs, or SOCIAL MEDIA. I am now using social media in moderation, for sharing inspiration, connection, and education. I plan on doing a detox every other month and I encourage you to do the same.
HOW TO DETOX:
Mentally prepare. If I ever did drugs, I would compare this process to withdrawing from an addictive drug. More on this later.
Delete your apps. This will be the best/worst feeling ever LOL.
Make a plan. Start a new book. Start a new journal, workout plan, cook, clean, bake, build/craft, puzzle. You will want to "distract" yourself with other things (my goal was to not use technology)
Text or call your closest friends to let them know you are not using those apps, so if they need you, they know to text or call.
I had to prepare for this social media detox like I was about to take a juice cleanse, no joke! It was similar in the fact that I was about to clear out the "toxic" from my body & mind. I was cleansing and to do that successfully, you have to prepare.
What apps do you want to give up? Facebook? Insta? Snapchat? Tik Tok?
I gave up Facebook and Instagram. I spend most of my time on those two apps.
Duration: How long do you want to detox for?
At first, I thought maybe I’ll do it for a weekend, Friday-Monday morning. But Monday came, and I decided I wanted to stay "disconnected" and would get more out of it if it was for a longer amount of time. I ended up making the commitment with myself to stay off those two apps for two whole weeks.
I deleted the apps so there would be no temptation to open them. I started a new book. I also texted all my besties and let them know that I was still able to connect through face-time or text instead, which was actually way more fulfilling now that I look back on it. When I thought of a friend, I would just text them. I would tell them I was thinking of them and that I'm here to chat whenever just to let them know I was still there. I had full-on conversations with some girlfriends that I hadn't talked to in a long time! It was so lovely. Instead of just seeing their insta story, I got to talk to them and get their life updates that way - talk about old school! Some friends even reached out to me through text to say hi and check in since they weren't seeing my daily social media stories. I felt way more connected to my small yet strong community of friends and family than I had ever felt from my 700 followers. Talk about a WOW moment. Connection is that simple.
I picked up my phone at least a dozen times an hour during the first few days. I would wake up and check my phone. I had maybe one or two texts. I would go see my apps, to then notice they weren't there. I would then sigh a big relief, knowing that it was OK to not have social media. Then, I would start my day. Do you realize how much time you waste in the morning looking at those apps? Do you know how much looking at other's lives first thing in the morning will affect your mentality and mindset for the rest of the day? It's actually mind-blowing!
You will get so much more time back and wake up refreshed, open-minded, and ready to tackle your days' goals if you just put your phone down! I felt as if I had more hours in the day. But, at one point, I contemplated getting the apps back because of the simple thought that I was "missing out"...
FOMO is REAL-O.
I felt like I was missing out pretty much the entire two weeks of the detox. But texting and face timing my friends really helped kill that feeling. I connected with my friends and family on a daily basis, but somehow, I still felt like I was "missing" something. Thankfully, my husband would come home from work and let me know of anything major that happened in the news. I told myself that if something major was happening, I would get notified no matter what. So I knew I had nothing to worry about. I think we become so accustomed to "being in the know" every day that it's hard to retract yourself from that way of living. Remember back in the 90's and early 2000's when we would have to drive somewhere to find out if it's open? Or go to a friend's house to see if they could come outside and hang out? Or look in a cookbook for a dinner recipe? Now, we literally just have to do a millisecond text search for anything we need! We can Google it, ask Siri or Alexa, or find it on social media. It is incredible and super helpful, but for my current situation. I just wanted to go back to the 2000's for a few weeks.
Don't get me wrong, I still took a hundred photos of my dog. I still cooked and baked almost every day. I still went on daily walks and daily workouts. I still watched TV. I still had date nights and dressed up with my hubby. I still went on with my normal life...I just wasn't sharing every minute of that life with my social media following. It was difficult for me to not do this during the detox. I wanted to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE and get feedback and LIKES, LIKES, LIKES. But why? To feel adequate? To feel enough? To feel seen and heard? Why do we feel the need to share our lives so much with the world? Because we have become so addicted to the feeling a "like" gives us. Not to get all scientific on you, but that feeling is the release of dopamine and serotonin which happens when we get a "like" or "comment". They release a feeling of happiness or a pleasurable-reward. Of course, why wouldn't we want to feel pleasure all of the time? That's why we post and share so much. We want to continue feeling liked or worthy of attention. There are numerous journal articles and research studies of the positive and negative effects of social media and this is supporting that evidence first hand.
I soon realized that the only person I needed to see my posts was ME. I was the only person that I needed any sort of support or affirmation from. I didn't need other's opinions on: "how good that meal looks" or "how intense my workout was". I was the only person weighing in on my life for those two weeks. And that my friend, was enough.
It actually felt like I was "in the dark" or "off the grid." It was invigorating! Imagine not showing anyone what you ate or did today... WHAT A CONCEPT?!?! All I needed to felt "seen" and "heard" was talking to my loved ones, journaling, reading, and living my own life the way I wanted to. I focused on me. I focused on what I wanted for my life and didn't compare myself to anyone but the person I was yesterday.
"COMPARISON IS THE DEATH OF JOY" - RACHEL HOLLIS
The final "ah-ha" moment I had during my social media detox was regarding self-image and self-confidence. I usually follow a lot of recipes, health, wellness, and fitness-related Instagram accounts and was becoming overly obsessed with how my body looked. Unknowingly, I was comparing myself to those women every single day. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, I was comparing myself to another human being. This is toxic. This is toxic to you and to everyone around you. About three days into not using Instagram or Facebook, something clicked. I began to really like my body more and more every day. I was feeling very confident, sexy, and slim. I felt extremely comfortable in my skin and was realizing it was because I wasn't looking at other woman's bodies every day! Another crazy concept!?! I only saw myself. I only compared myself, to myself. No one else. We are our own worst critic, yes. BUT, without any other critics or players in the game, we WIN! We are the ones who get to decide if we love ourselves. We get to decide how we feel. No one gets to make us feel inferior about our bodies, beliefs, etc.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" - Eleanor Roosevelt
Additionally, I felt more focused, present, and stimulated those two weeks of no social media. I was more present within my relationships and more focused on my work. I got more work done for my job and held longer, more in-depth conversations without getting distracted or interrupted by a notification. It was refreshing, to say the least.
Plain and simple: Detoxing from social media was two weeks of me-time. I encourage you all to take some time away from all the other voices that are not your own. You are the one that matters and you have the power to control what you consume daily.
I wish you all love, peace, and a future we can all agree on.
Until my next tip,