After seeing a few friends taking time away from social media and raving about the good it did them, I had to give it a try – I’m a sucker for a trend you see.
I am part of the generation who grew alongside social media. Before Facebook and Instagram I had Bebo, MSN and Myspace. I was just on hooked on those sites as I am on modern social media sites today. Photo Albums called “[[Vanityyyy]]” and selfies in mirrors with actual cameras not camera phones and page themes and nudges and “sending love”, it was all so addictive, it made me feel accepted in a small town where I felt out of place. So you see, this hasn’t been a short fling, but a lifelong relationship since my early teens.
But not all relationships are healthy. I needed this break to see whether this relationship had become toxic.
So I woke up one morning and with my cup of tea to steady my nerves, and I uninstalled Facebook and Instagram. For a social media addict like me this was a hard move to make. What would happen, would I lose contact with the outside world? Would I lose my mind? Would I start speaking in hashtags and follow people double tapping their faces in real life to replace my daily habits? Would I become overwhelmed with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?
For the first hour I was suprised at how easy it was. Piece of cake. No problemo. Then after a couple of hours I noticed something. Even though I wasn’t on social media, I was still in that mindset.
“Oh that looks pretty, better take a picture to post on insta.”
“I just smashed that run, need to log it so I can share my progress with my followers.”
“I wonder what _________ is up to? Where were they riding today?”. Even though I was offline, I wasn’t free of it.
Another small something I noticed was that, much like a smoker who has quit smoking starts eating more to replace the hand to mouth motion, I still had the habit of looking at my phone every few minutes “just to check”. I hated how much I picked up my phone and was more aware of it now because as soon as I looked at the screen I was reminded how dependant I had become on my online life. What did I do before posting? This was a habit that was hard to shake but as each day passed I checked my phone less, and lifted my head more, and took in my surroundings with more focus.
What I have learnt from this one week offline is very basic life lessons. I have learnt that I can enjoy the world around me without having to capture every moment. I have learnt to connect more with people around me, in real life and through messenger and really talk to them, not just a comment here and there but real conversations. My partner and I even started our own “social media” feed, by sending each other photos of what we were up to if we were to busy to text. It was wonderful. It was life. I was so simple.
Now that I have done it, I would not only recommend it, I would recommend at least a month off. After a week I hadn’t given up the small things like checking my phone or thinking about posting. I am still pretty shocked about how much room social media has taken in my life, and although it is great for the most part, it can quickly become harmful to your mental health, your relationships, and your perception of life. Like anything in life, you need a balance. Although I am back online I am more aware of how often I am on my phone or if I am posting to my followers and not talking to my loved ones. I am learning to find the balance.
Have you taken a social media break? Get in touch and let me know your thoughts.