I remember waking up, then slightly blinking my eyes to avoid being blinded by the sun, then immediately rolling over and reaching for my iPhone 7. No prayer, no thoughts of gratitude, no deep breaths and inhaling of the new day, just immediate highs from my timeline on Facebook and Instagram. I’d just start swiping, clicking, and liking posts. Without realizing it, 15 to 30 minutes of my day had escaped. I was consumed by social media drama such as the latest fallout with President Trump, the latest debates from the shows that aired on television the night before, relationship posts, and the horrible memes that predict your life if you grew up a certain way. Oh, and let me not forget the dog and cat videos. You know what I’m talking about, the videos with the animals dancing and doing The Mannequin Challenge.
One morning, I decided to quit my social media addiction cold turkey. Initially, I wasn’t sure how long my detox from social media would last, but I knew that I needed more time to focus on myself. It no longer mattered to me if someone liked my post, I needed more importantly to like the direction of my life. I was determined to climb out of my internet pit and establish some social media boundaries. I wanted to stop living in the digital world and focus more on living in the real world.
During my nearly two-month hiatus, I discovered that you can learn so much about yourself, other people, the world and how you experience the world when you take a break from social media. I think social media breaks are crucial for women because we already take on so much with our daily roles. According to an article for brainwatch.com, women are the largest consumers of social media. Research suggests women are more likely than men to use social media to share information about their personal relationships and careers as well as their emotions. I’d like to share with you three takeaways that I learned during my social media detox.
Reclaim Your Time
I think every woman needs to stop the digital clock and reset. I define the digital clock as your minute by minute social media status updates. A 2017 Nielson study shows that on average women spend 25 percent of their time on social media (vs.19 percent for men).
During my detox, I learned the importance of blocking out times throughout the day to think freely and openly to establish a strategy on how to achieve my daily goals.
Focus on The Real Relationships in Your Life
Before taking a break from social media, I spent a lot of time managing relationships with my friends and followers. I felt I was obligated to like and comment on other people’s post to stay to connected them. But, my real-life connections suffered because, when I was out with my friends and family, I always had my phone in hand, swiping away. My break from social media allowed me to be fully present in social gatherings.
Focus on Finding Your Internal Rhythm
I define your internal rhythm as what’s going on inside of you. As women, we have to take time out for ourselves. During my social media break, I had a lot of free time on my hand. I used that time to do things that fed my soul and made me happy. I read books, cleaned out my closet, tried new recipes, and enjoyed solo trips to museums. I also used a lot of my time to pray and meditate.
After my detox, I gradually returned to social media. But, I don’t consume social media the way I did before. I post every few days. I no longer feel obligated to check in or update my status every five minutes. And, I’m no longer addicted to social media. I think every woman should try taking a break from social media and discover the benefits. Make this the season for your break. It’s mind, body, and spirit-renewing.