Social media – Why I said goodbye for 60 days
I missed you.
Although saying goodbye to social media for two months was such a relief, I didn’t realize how much I’d miss my friends. Yes, I found myself texting and calling them more b/c I had no idea what was going on in their lives if I didn’t reach out, but I also didn’t get to see pictures of them, their families, and their lives.
After about a month of no social media, I started having thoughts like “I guess that person hasn’t had anything going on in their lives,” or “I haven’t heard from so-and-so in a while.” My mind started to assume that b/c I hadn’t seen anything about these people, that nothing was happening. It was a strange feeling, and I began to understand how much I depend on social media as a form of communication with friends and acquaintances.
Here are three more behaviors my social media hiatus uncovered:
- Increased levels of self confidence. No longer did I compare my life to others; I didn’t have anyone to compare it to. No longer did I see a perfect picture of someone else and think, my head wrinkles need fixing or my belly isn’t flat enough (I’m eating a bag of Starburst jellybeans as I type this). Because I wasn’t regularly bombarded with supposed perfection, I no longer thought about how my choices compared to the choices of others. I just lived and it was good.
- No more F.O.M.O. Guys, I’m just going to be honest. I suffer from FOMO big time. It’s a legitimate issue I have always strived to manage. I hate missing out on anything. I want to be in the conversation, on the vacation, in the know! Even when I was a little girl, I would stay up late with the grown ups afraid they’d have all the fun if I went to sleep. I don’t think this is the most unhealthy characteristic, but in an age where you can literally see everything someone else is doing, it starts to weigh heavy. Thus creating negative self talk like “I’m not traveling enough.” “I’m not working out enough.” “I should have gone to that networking event instead of staying home and binging Shrill” Do you hear the common thread? I should have / I’m not enough. It creates discontentment. By removing myself from social media, I nearly silenced that internal voice.
- In its purest form, I actually really like social media. OK. I know this one isn’t nearly as concise as my other two realizations, but hey, deal with it. So here goes…I really like studying social media, creating posts, measuring engagement and connecting with people. Before this break, I was starting to warp what social media meant to me. I was in a space where I was consuming a lot of it and not participating in it. I felt doubtful of my place in it and suspicious of community. However, being away has created a great reset, where I’ve built self confidence and realized how much I thoroughly enjoy this creative outlet, specifically taking pictures and building posts, not to mention the way it empowers you to connect with others. I can’t wait to start building positive, encouraging posts again.
I’m ready to jump back into the social media game, but my time away has also created space for me to focus my time and energy into other areas. If you’re thinking about taking a break from social media, take some time to observe how you spend your time instead. Therefore, when you return, you’ll be more motivated to continue pursuing those things instead of taking to your phone to veg out for a few minutes, which leads to a few hours, and you get the picture.
These are the top 10 activities extracurricular activities that filled my day instead of social media:
- Pinterest. I know some of you may argue this is still social media, and I’d say it probably is. But it wasn’t something I ever really used until I gave up Instagram and Facebook. I spent a lot more time being inspired on Pinterest. Whether it was looking for new outfit ideas, modern living rooms or ways to improve my morning routine, I loved spending time brainstorming ways to be creative.
- Lumosity Brain Training. I practiced Lumosity almost everyday. When I wanted to spend time mindlessly scrolling, I’d not only do my daily exercise, but would also just play the daily games over and over again.
- Apple News / Apple News+. Isn’t Apple News+ a game changer? I was able to keep up with trends and read some of the most interesting articles.
- Updating my inbox. I am actually reading the emails in my Inbox and cleaning it out. This one was amazing. I unsubscribed to so many email lists, while also realizing how many great newsletters I receive.
- Podcasting. Chris and I started a podcast called Present Tenses and I’ve loved spending time working on this with him. Have you check it out yet?
- Reading. In the past couple of months, I got a library card, started my own book club, joined another book club and read The Ghost Wall, Severance, Shrill, and Everything is Negotiable
- Designing barre classes, playlists and themes. This month we are working through the concept of renewal. I’ve been able to spend ample time finding amazing quotes, building some great playlists and really focusing on the people I’m serving in class.
- Moving. We bought a house during this time and have been packing and painting and redesigning our house. I’ve had a lot more mental bandwidth to do this now.
- Earlier bedtime. Instead of spending time scrolling through my Instagram feed, I set my alarm, set the phone down on its charger and go to bed. There wasn’t much on my phone that distracted me from sleep.
- Stillness. I don’t feel the need to have my phone on me at all times. I like having a still mind where I can meditate, breath and just be alone in my own thoughts. Social media was an escape from being in my own head, and I’ve grown to enjoy that time with myself.
I have slowly started peaking back into the social media world since Easter. I’ve enjoyed catching up on your life and am finally ready to share some snippets from mine. I can’t wait to show you some projects and life changes and share all the things that helped me a long the way.
I vow to not let social media define me anymore. Instead, I will use it as a tool to stay connected with friends, build deeper community and be inspired. I’ll share the messy ups and downs of life instead of curated moments. And I will not let it beat down my self confidence and replace my positive self talk for negative thoughts. If it does, I’ll just have to resort to the wisdom of NSYNC, “I know that I can’t take no more, it ain’t no lie, I want to see you out that door, baby bye, bye, bye.”
So who’s with me? Who wants to transform this platform into something positive and supportive in our lives?