Social media detox: lessons learned and further plans

Five days ago I competed my social media detox.

I am now more intentional with what I post, who I interact with, and for how long.

I sign into Facebook, check MOMs’ club and Fulbright alumni group updates, do what I need to do and get the heck OFF Facebook. Same with Instagram: sign on, share what I need to share, and log out. No endless and mindless scrolling allowed.

I also lost the urge to constantly share my life.

Before the detox I felt persistant yearning to share pictures of my baby, my cats, my garden, my husband, my house, anything and everything... As if I was trying to prove to someone that I am living a worthy life. Since the detox, the yearning has passed. 

I was surprised how dull social media really is.

Apart from updates from fellow moms, colleagues, and a few close friends, I honestly could care less about everything else. What I really need to do is to go through my friends list and delete anyone who is not critical in my life. But I don’t want to spend time doing it since it could take hours.

After day 5 of not being on social media I felt a general sense of calmness and, surprisingly, happiness. 

The next step: Digital Detox

Statistics about screen addiction is simply depressing. Go ahead, have a read

I am now considering doing a digital (not just social media) detox. That would mean no smartphone, iPad or laptop for a period of time. Regardless of the fact that I use my phone to read, meditate, shop, and as my alarm. May need to set some norms for myself. Get paper copies of books. Have a journal going. Get extra house cleaning supplies. Naturally, no email. Or Amazon. The only thing I can use my phonefor is call. And text? No, no texting either.

So, who wants to try it with me? 


 

Day 7 -Detox Completed!

Today, at 3pm my social media detox was  complete. 

Why I decided to do the detox  

1. Time wasted looking at pictures of people and things that mean nothing/very little to me. 

2. That time could be used to do other things I enjoy: read books, take walks, write blogs.

3. It takes time to sift through all of the worthless content to get to the good stuff.  Note to self- do a **friends** purge. 

4. The tendency of comparing myself to others is not healthy. 

5. Personally for me, time I spend on social media holds little to no value. Especially on four platforms. Note to self- choose two and stick with those.

6. I wanted to decrease, if not completely eliminate how I constantly look at the world through the screen of my phone. 

How I felt after one week hiatus  

Checked Facebook for about 10 minutes. About 80 notifications. Nothing new. Status quo.  

Checked Instagram. Some nice images but predictable. 

Checked Twitter. 15 notifications. Did not have the mental energy to scroll through the feed for articles. 

No desire to post or share any pictures I took this week. 

I feel lighter. Excited. Happier. 

Next steps

Post less. Post with intent. Interact with intent. Check only once per day or every couple of days. Don’t use it as a crutch for when I am bored or stressed.  

What things did I miss the most? 

  • Definitely connecting with others (MOMs club, Fulbrighter Alumni groups) 
  • Being in the loop with close friends  
  • Celebrating life events of close friends and meaningfully interacting with others.

What things did I NOT miss? 

  • A stream of worthless content: memes, quotes, photos, polls, news, etc. 
  • The itch to constantly check Facebook/Instagram
  • Obsessing over notifications   
The integration of social media into everyday life has increased dramatically in recent years. Most view it as a positive driving force for social change; however, the over-saturation of social-media driven information in society has become a negative influence with far reaching consequences on the way we interact and work.

 

  

 

Social Media Detox: Day 6

I think I got over the hardest part since I barely miss social media now. Yesterday was day 6. 

Dropped Lyra at daycare for the first time. Wrote curriculum in the district. Grocery- shopped. Mommie-d (ongoing). Texted friends. Cleaned. Read to Lyra. Read to myself. Listened to *Lean In* by Sheryl Sandburg.

Feelings

Acceptance. Weightlessness. Openness. Excitement.

Concerns

Started thinking when my detox is over I’m going to binge. Or not. Need to come up with strategies to have on hand if I’d want to binge. 

Watched two amazing videos about social media. 

This man quit social media for a YEAR ➡️ 

This researcher talks about how social media is hurting our mental health ➡️ 

Both videos speak about using social media on your terms.

Would that work for me? How can I set boundaries for myself?

  • Limit my time, perhaps look at social media once every couple of days? (Still need to work this one out...)
  • Post with intention (i.e. look at Teacher Grants group posts and that’s it)
  • Don’t use it as a crutch when I’m bored or stressed. Find something else to do (this is huge). 

Please leave comments below with any ideas.

 

Social Media Detox: Day 5

Have you ever asked yourself: why am I on social media? What’s the value of each platform for my life?

And then answered honestly?

"Connect with friends?” Or, “build a network”? “Stay relevant”? “Stay up to date”?  “Build a personal or professional brand”? "Be inspired"? "See what others are up to"?

Facebook

  • I like to keep up with my friends’ lives
  • I like to receive neat articles in my feed.
  • Can communicate with fellow moms via Messenger and groups.

Value for myself: not much. Mainly the MOMs Club, Teacher Grant, and Fulbright Alumni groups. 

Twitter

  • I read somewhere that that’s how you stay relevant in your field 
  • I receive neat articles in my feed 
  • I follow hashtags I enjoy (#phdchat, #langchat) 
  • I connect with fellow educators by way of TweetChats (haven’t participated in a TweetChat for about 2 years).

Value for myself: not much. A few articles from Inside Higher Ed and Edutopia. 

LinkedIn

  • No idea why I am on LinkedIn. Perhaps to simply to have a presence if a potential employer ever looks me up.

Value for myself: none.

Instagram 

  • Images of Greek Islands and babies
  • Filters to make myself and the world around me look trendy.

Value for myself: close to none.

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Day 5 of social media detox was yesterday. 

Activities

Gardened for two hours, read, meditated. Briefly socialized. Hang out with Tony and Lyra. Was mom (ongoing). Went to a party. Had conversations. Hasn’t taken the phone out at all at the party.  Napped when Lyra napped. 

Thoughts 

Felt ok with not checking social media yesterday. The longing has passed. 

Feelings

Tiredness. Calmness. Acceptance. Clarity. Don’t miss social media as much anymore.

I think day 5 may have been the breaking point because I feel pretty weightless right now. 

 

Social media detox: Day 4

Yesterday was day 4 of my social media detox. I think I fell off the wagon since I went on Pinterest.

Do not remember why I opened the Pinterest app yesterday but I did. I then found myself being sucked into a world of infographics of teaching strategies, baby food, and healthy living. This lasted for about 30 minutes.

This morning... Instead of reading my (very heavy) book, I decided I needed something lighter. Went on Pinterest.

Twenty minutes later pins on Spanish class motivational strategies, how to talk to your kids about mental health, and best purée recipes for a 7 month old were added to my boards. 

#fail 

Some would argue that Pinterest is not really a social media network but I think it is. So I deleted the app.  

Day 4 looked like this:

Yoga in the morning. Hiking with Tony and Lyra in Watchung Reservation. Read. Listen to my audiobook. Help a friend with her resumé. Be Lyra’s mom (ongoing). Garden. Meditate, twice. 

Feelings

Boredom, restlessness. A little anxiety that I am missing out of stuff (but not sure what *stuff*). Annoyance. Craving connection with people. Wanting to reach out to folks I know and care about and realizing: I don’t have their contact information, I can only reach out to them through Facebook! #grrr

Most favorite thing: none.

I miss the stimulation and the excitement social media gives us. With Instagram, I miss the feeling of curiosity you get when you take a peek into people’s lives. With Facebook, I miss the articles and group posts (like my MOMs club and Fulbrighter groups). Don’t really miss Twitter or LinkedIn. 

Don’t miss worthless memes, quotes, pictures of people I don’t know/pets/food/houses/other nonsense. Don’t miss all the political commentary or news. 

Moving forward... 

Today is day 5, and I’m struggling. Feeling the itch. Need to refocus and regroup. Need to remind myself the reason why I am doing this. 

Perhaps I need a different book. Perhaps I need to connect more with people. Maybe spend more time gardening. Find a project. Clean the house again?...

Please note that although you are seeing this post on social media does not mean that I am using it. I am still doing the detox. This post is shared automatically via my blog settings.