If you’re a person in 2018, chances are you have some form of social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or even the forgotten Myspace. Pretty much everyone I have come into contact with uses some type of SM platform. Which isn’t surprising as it was designed to be addictive. The likes, comments, followers… All of these things provide us with a digital high ~ or possibly a low if you are not getting the attention you’re searching for.
I’ve personally had a serious love-hate relationship with social media the past few years.
While on one hand ~ I love it because it allows me to connect with like minded people from all over the world. Some of my best support systems are women I have never even met IRL! There is a whole community of loving, supportive, and authentic people on SM that make it worth spending some time scrolling. And I’ve curated my feeds to make me feel good every time I hop on which leaves me feeling motivated and inspired. It’s also a great platform for small businesses! Being able to get noticed and sell product without spending a grip of money on advertising has been life changing for some people. Plus it allows us to connect with our customers on a deeper level.
But on the other hand, SM can be detrimental not only to our physical health (because chances are we’re not running while we’re scrolling!), but our mental health as well. Because we’re typically only seeing the best part of people’s days, it paints a picture that everyone else’s lives are perfect while we may be suffering and alone. We start to question ourselves and wonder why we can’t always be happy like the people we see online. Why do they have more followers? Is my content not as good? Do people not like me? If only I were prettier, skinnier, richer, had more friends… We enter into a downward spiral of comparison and self doubt when in reality our lives are actually pretty awesome.
It’s also extremely time consuming. If you haven’t noticed, Instagram implemented an algorithm which basically means unless you are constantly using the app – like commenting, liking, DM’ing, storying, etc – then your posts won’t show up in your followers feed. So unless you’re spending hours engaging, then chances are no one will even see your pictures.
If you’ve been feeling lately like SM has been more of a burden to your life than a benefit ~ you may likely be in need of a detox!! Which is exactly what I did! I made the decision on the last New Moon (August 11th) to take the entire moon cycle off of SM. I’ll do another blog post on my experience, but for now I wanted to share with you how you might benefit from taking your own social media cleanse.
1. You will stay focused and therefor get more done
We all do it. When we get bored ~ we reach for our phones. Really only to scroll through and see someone’s food, a selfie, or maybe a quote here and there. While interesting ~ it’s just not productive. You know it’s bad when you reach for it so many times in a day that when you refresh there’s nothing new to see. Have you ever noticed yourself opening up your phone to look something important up ~ but then out of habit you open up SM and start to scroll, only to forget about what you actually went on to do? Once I noticed myself doing this ~ I realized I had a problem that needed to be fixed. SM takes up so much of the time that we could be spending creating or working. But if you were to take SM out of the picture completely, there would be nothing to distract you. You’ll find you get more work done, you create more, which leaves more time to spend on other things you enjoy!
2. You could use that time to better yourself
Every time I would end up on SM, I’d go on with the intention of only spending a couple minutes ~ then look up hours later only to have found myself on my best friends-friends-cousins-sisters-friends account on January 1st 2015 wondering where she got that cute dress. I’d end up feeling bad about myself because I could’ve used that time to better myself. Whether it be studying a subject I’m interested in, practicing yoga, reading, listening to a self help podcast, or maybe even spending time outside ~ anything would have been better than scrolling aimlessly for hours. Studies have shown that people on average use SM for 3 hours a day…. THREE HOURS! Take a second right now to think about all of the things you could do in three hours….. A lot, right? Most people’s biggest reason for not eating healthy and working out is that they don’t have the time, but what they don’t account for is all the time that they spend scrolling. If this sounds like you ~ maybe a little detox wouldn’t hurt?
3. Create real connections
While our connections to the outside world are becoming more abundant ~ our connections to real life human beings are decreasing every day. Because we now have an inside look into people’s daily lives and we share everything we do on SM, we don’t typically reach out and see how anyone is actually doing. We find out about engagements and pregnancies through SM instead of phone calls, we comment on cute pictures instead of texting, and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen a group of people sitting at a table together, but all on their phones (I know I’ve been guilty of this!). We’ve forgotten what it’s like to make real connections with other humans. People are becoming lonelier every single day because SM fills a void of actually having to see anyone. But without SM, we HAVE to reach out to chat with our friends. We HAVE to go out for coffee to catch up because we have no idea what their life is like. We HAVE to text pictures of our kids because we’re not seeing them grow everyday. Ever since starting my cleanse, I feel both disconnected and extremely connected at the same time. I may be disconnected from the online world, but I’m better connected to my friends because I’m actually taking time to talk to them.
4. You’ll Sleep Better
Have you heard of the dreaded blue light? Your phones screen emits a blue light that makes it difficult for your brain to produce melatonin (which is responsible for helping you sleep). While some phone companies have implemented a sundown feature (turn it on if you have it! Lookin at you iPhoners) ~ it’s probably not the best anyways to be scrolling through your phone before you settle down for a good nights rest. Have you ever laid down for sleep knowing you have to get up early, but sat there on your phone for hours before you actually went to sleep. (Guilty, again.) But without the distraction of SM ~ you’ll be able to set your phone down and get a solid 8 hours. Some people say it’s best to not even sleep with your phone next to you at all! I know what you’re going to say ~ “But I use it as my alarm!”…. Invest in an alarm clock and watch your life change. Plus, this will mean getting fully out of bed before checking your phone which has many advantages in itself!
5. You’ll live in the moment
Most of us get satisfaction from letting people know what we’re up to at all times. We feel the need to post a story, a picture, a status, a snap right then and there. I see this a lot at concerts ~ but if we’re spending half the time taking the pictures then the other half writing something about it and posting it ~ then are we really even experiencing the music? At that point you may as well have stayed home and saved the money and watched a video from it. But the truth is…. IT CAN WAIT! People don’t NEED to know what you’re up to 24/7. What I like to do is take a bunch of pictures, then in my down time post them in bulk. That way I’m not wasting time out with friends or family just sitting on my phone. Without the focus on SM, you’ll see more, smell more, laugh more, smile more ~ try it out, you’ll thank me later!
Now, I’m not suggesting to rid yourself of all SM FOREVR.
Because it is a really great tool and can be fun to stay up to date with people. But with a little detox ~ maybe even just for the week ~ you’ll learn to reprioritize your time and discover things you may have let go that you actually enjoy. You may realize how much of your time you were giving up to these platforms which can be extremely eye opening. You could find new hobbies, start an exercise program, eat healthier, the possibilities are absolutely endless with the amount of extra time you’ll have! This way, when you hop back into the SM world ~ you’ll be more mindful of how long you scroll and have better time management skills. Maybe start with one day and see how you feel!
Maybe instead of setting a week long goal, try seeing how long you can go without it! That way, when you feel you’re ready to hop back on ~ you can do so without feeling bad about yourself.
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