My 5 Day Social Media Cleanse
Last week I decided to take a break from social media for five days. During my time off social media I learned a lot about myself and my habits- gaining awareness around all of this was incredibly valuable for me. Now, I'm back online and I'm definitely having a different experience of it all.
As a lifestyle coach with an online business social media is a huge part of my life. It’s the way I put content out into the world and connect with my community as well as new and current clients. Because it plays such a large roll in my business I’ve always felt justified sitting on Facebook all day or checking Instagram 20 times over the course of a couple of hours. However, over the past month or so I started becoming aware of the fact that my mood would often drop (pretty drastically) after spending time on a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram. My intuition kicked in and quietly started nudging me to take a break from it all. While the feeling was subtle I know better than to ignore my intuition, so I decided to trust it and take a few days completely off social media.
During the break:
After I let my community know I’d be taking five days away from social media I proceeded to delete the apps off my phone so as to avoid any unnecessary temptation. Let me tell you, over the first couple of days I accidentally opened my weather app a handful times because it ended up in the same spot my Instagram app used to be. Holy wow is muscle memory a powerful thing.
I was honestly shocked at how challenging it was to stay away from social media. In moments I felt such a strong desire to check my Facebook that it was overwhelming. It was definitely revealing and at times even surprising to feel the hold these apps/websites had on me.
Even though it was hard at first, it certainly got easier with each passing moment. I kept a book by me at all times and definitely read a lot more than usual. By the morning of day five, my last day, I barely had the desire to get on social media at all. In fact I felt a little resistant to getting back online later that night, which was really interesting seeing as I was dying to check my Instagram only a few days before.
One of the biggest realizations that I need s p a c e to pause and regroup throughout the day, and because I hadn’t been consciously giving that to myself I had, in large part, been using social media as a means to numb out and be “mindless”. This is where coming back online was wildly helpful in allowing me to this realization. As soon as I was able to use my social media apps again I found myself falling back into the habits and patterns that led me to needing the break in the first place. I noticed that I would mindlessly begin scrolling any time I was craving the ability to reset my mind. It was like I would take these pauses to turn my brain off in order to turn it back on and keep going. The only problem with this is when I was mindlessly doing that I was consuming so much information, and mindless consumption of anything is never good. Hence my low vibrational feelings that would often come after one of these mental check outs. Realizing this was incredibly empowering because it gave me the ability to make new choices.
The question I asked myself was, “How can I give myself space to pause and take breaks in a way that will lift me up?”
Now, I’m giving myself the opportunity to mentally check out when I need to, but I’m doing it in a way that leaves me feeling good. Instead of getting on Facebook or Instagram every time I need a pause, I’m checking in with myself, noticing the feelings that are coming up for me and then giving myself what I need. Maybe it’s silence and time away from screens, maybe it’s a glass of water and a good conversation, or maybe it’s to meditate and clear my mind that way. All of these option are by far more uplifting that mindlessly scrolling on Instagram.
The best thing I gained from my five day hiatus was *awareness*. Awareness to me is truly empowering because it gives me the opportunity to change. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Here’s the amazing thing: You can use social media in a way that feels good to you, the only thing you need in order to do that is a little bit of awareness each time you sign on to one of these platforms. I follow a lot of people who truly inspire me on Facebook and Instagram and when I look at their content in a mindful and present way, I DO walk away feeling uplifted. So it really is just a matter of WHAT you’re consuming and HOW you’re consuming it.
Mindfulness tips for using social media:
Pause: Before you open an social media app, be it Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter PAUSE and check in with yourself. In that pause give yourself a moment to recognize what you’re seeking by signing onto one of these platforms. If you don’t have an answer for yourself, that’s a good indication you’re just craving a mental break. So instead of mindlessly consuming a bunch of social media information maybe do something else like read a few pages of a book, go for a walk, drink a glass of water, or call a friend.
Notice: After you scroll through Instagram or Facebook, notice the way you’re feeling. If you’re consistently feeling worse after spending time on social media, maybe it’s time to reflect on how and why you’re using it. Inviting in the pause as listed in step one can be a powerful tool here as well.
Take a break: Give yourself permission to take breaks throughout the day. We are so trapped in the “go, go, go” nature of our society that taking breaks or pausing is often frowned upon. But we all need space and quiet time, it’s crucial to maintaining productivity. So if you are noticing that like me, you’re using social media as a means to mentally check out, start giving yourself more mindful breaks from your daily life. Making the empowered decision to pause will absolutely leave you feeling better than mindlessly scrolling on Instagram.
Want to be a part of my free social media cleanse challenge coming up in October? If so sign up by entering your email below, and I’ll be in touch with details soon!