5 things I learned from my social media break
We went away for a few days for my birthday. During the trip I took a social media break from Friday to Monday. Truthfully, with the way I use social, it was a detox. It was hard, and much needed. I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone as those are the places I find myself gravitating to every time I pick up my phone. These are the things I learned:
Picking up my phone and opening social apps is an unconscious habit. I found myself going through the motions without realizing what I was doing, only becoming conscious when I saw the apps weren't there.
I am much more present when I'm not momentarily ‘escaping’ every five minutes. I don’t want to escape my own life after all.
As a society we are on our phones a lot. I was much more aware of other people scrolling their phone when I wasn’t participating.
It was nice to not care or think about what other people were doing. Perhaps we can work on being addicted to our own lives, instead of the lives of others.
Social media creates a lack mindset that bleeds into other areas of life. Thoughts of wanting a life, job, following, etc like this or that person makes me feel like I lack in ways that I really don't
I came back home and into the work week with awareness and feeling fed up by these devices we carry. I have this struggle where I feel I must be on social for my business and community building, yet I don't want to be consumed by it. Finding balance is the ultimate struggle in our overly connected world. That first week back I did a good job trying to keep my time on social in check. I quickly returned to old habits. I have been telling myself I ‘must’ be on to share content and stories with followers. Though I admit the transition back to 'normal' happened quickly I have more awareness. I reach for my phone when I am bored, want to procrastinate, or feel unhappy in a situation I am in (traffic, work, etc). Finding a relationship with social media that works but doesn’t consume will be an ongoing process. I think experiencing the quick slip back to old ways was important to notice and I am slowing working on balance. Based on what I experienced this month here are my 5 tips for cutting back and setting boundaries with social media. I hope you’ll share your experiences and efforts with me too.
5 tips for breaking up with social media
Turn off notifications. Those badges, and banners coax your brain to open the app right away and see what’s new. Turn them off so you can choose when to open it.
Unfollow people. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel less than or inferior. Any account that elicits jealousy, comparison, annoyance, or negative feelings needs to go.
Do something else on your breaks. I started bringing a book to work and reading on my lunch break instead of scrolling. I will still look at my phone but I won’t scroll and eat simultaneously.
Set time limits. This is one I am working on. I kept a post it note at work putting tally marks when I went on the app and writing down approximate minutes spent when I realized I was on social for an extended time. I am working on creating a schedule. For instance allow 10-15 min 3-4 times per day for posting, commenting, replying, interacting. Not checking in between time allotments has not truly happened, but I am working on it! Writing things down certainly increases awareness!
Consider your goals, priorities, and reasons for being on social. Are you trying to learn? Find motivation or inspiration? Find fashion and beauty trends? New recipes? Keep up with friends? Promote a business or brand? Know your reason for being in the social media space. Write down your priorities for your life. It helps to remind you where your focus should really go.
Have you taken a social detox? Thought about it? I want to hear about your struggles and experiences with balancing social media. Comment and join the conversation!