Social media can be a great tool for making positive change in the world—just look at what the #BlackLivesMatter movement has been able to accomplish in the past week alone. When used with intention, it’s a catalyst for change; something that pulls us together while giving individuals a platform to share their voice.
That being said, when used as a way to keep up with the Joneses, social media can quickly turn toxic. Sick and tired of constantly feeling like I needed to keep up with whatever was happening on social media while making my life seem equally as interesting, I decided to give it a break… at least for a few days.
Here’s what happened when I signed off social media for a week—the good, the bad, and everything in between.
I felt weirdly anxious as I signed out of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the week. Not only do I use social media to keep up with friends, but it’s also a huge part of my work as a lifestyle writer. That said, I figured whatever I miss in a week, I could easily catch up with over the weekend.
By the second day, I felt like I was on a deserted island. I had no idea what was going on with my friends or family and I felt weird not updating my Instagram story. My partner pointed out that I could easily find out what was going on with my loved ones if I just reached out to them via text over FaceTime, which oddly didn’t occur to me… I had gotten way too comfortable seeing what my friends were up to on social media rather than actually taking the time to check in with them.
I’m not exactly sure why but today I decided to start leaving my phone in a different room—I figured it would be just one more step to cancel out the temptation to log into social media and I have to admit that it was really nice. Aside from not living on my Instagram feed, it was also a very refreshing break to not be able to Google anything right away. I actually had to think and ponder the questions I would usually just Google the answers to which stemmed a fun and impromptu thought session with my partner.
Honestly, today wasn’t so bad. Now that I’ve been checking in with friends and family I feel like I’ve been connecting in a way that just doesn’t exist on Instagram stories. I’ve also noticed that my evening aperol and dinnertime with my partner has been much more fulfilling. I always tried to put my phone away when we spend time together but not having the temptation to check Facebook resulted in much richer conversations and bonding time with him.
By the end of the week, I was still quite curious to log back into social media to see what I had missed—but I felt a sense of calm that was distinctly different from the constant hum of anxiety that I was experiencing on the first day of my detox.
At the end of the last day, my partner and I were incidentally talking about what in the world makes us the happiest, I immediately told him it’s when I’m able to live in the moment—a fleeting few seconds that usually only happens when I’m in the country at my cottage or on an airplane without access to the internet. I quickly noticed that I was able to practice that mindfulness all week—which made me so grateful for my week without social media and will be a driving factor in putting down my phone more often.