Social media – we can all agree it is a great way to stay connected with family and friends, find inspiration for traveling, fashion, or DIY projects, or even promote a personal passion. But it’s not all inspiration, smiles, laughs, and happy connections; these platforms have their drawbacks as well. Recently, I’ve been noticing that I get caught up and spend too much time refreshing feeds, falling into black holes of incessant judging, and unnecessary comparisons.
In the last five years, there have been dozens of studies linking social media and depression, anxiety, and “fear of missing out” and I feeling some of these affects. While I love the photos that fill my feeds and seeing what my friends and family are doing, I noticed that I was starting to put myself down for not doing or being enough. But this self-awareness lead to the decision to take a break from social media, turning my focus back to myself and all the positive experiences that were happening in my life daily.
I decided to implement a seven day social media cleanse – this meant no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Though it wasn’t easy, it was probably the best self-love decision I could have made for my piece of mind and mindset.
Here are the most important takeaways that I received from my cleanse:
- You have more willpower than you think – after being committed to limiting social media use, I found my willpower to avoid use became stronger with each day. Coupled with a strong reminder as to WHY I was abstaining from social media use, this intention showed me that I can actually do whatever I set my mind to do.
- I noticed that I became more present in the here and now – Though this feeling didn’t happen right away, eventually the constant need to check my phone faded, leading to a greater sense of being. After the initial shock wore off, it actually felt freeing to not feel like I was missing things if I wasn’t checking my notifications.
- I became more intentional about self-love and care – Though I didn’t actually count the hours gained by giving up social media for a week, I did feel like I gained a considerable amount of time caring about how I was feeling. I spent time practicing breathing techniques, meditation, and prayer to my clear mind and tap into my feelings. Becoming more self aware lead to more self-love. I was able to recognize the signs of anxiety and negative thoughts much faster and address them more effectively.
Though the thought of giving up social media may be daunting, my hope is that I have inspired you to try this for yourself, are you thinking of doing something similar? If so, here are a couple tips that I used to make this a little easier on myself:
- Be intentional about it. Clearly state what you are doing and WHY you are doing it. Your why will help when you have the urge.
- Put all your social media apps in a folder and move it to a separate page on your phone. Another option is to delete the shortcuts from your home screen or from your phone completely.
- When you feel like checking social, replace it with a different action such as playing a board or card game, listening to music, call or text another, go for a walk, or whatever else may help drive the need away from the forefront of your mind.
Have any of you done something similar? We’d love to hear your results and what you learned from doing this! Please share below as we’d love to connect with you about this.