I never considered myself to be a big Social Media person.
That’s important. Because everything I’m about to share with you is coming from someone who is not a scroller, and whose primary purpose for social media is in promoting my business.
I’m one of those who remembers the days before smartphones. I still send handwritten notes, and I prefer to pick up the phone and hear your voice more than sending a text. I insist that my kiddos learn cursive and write letters to their grandparents. Devices don’t come into the bedrooms in our house, and my phone does not go with me to bed. All of this to say that if I had to pick someone who does not have a problem with social media – I would raise my hand (and maybe even waive it around a bit).
So when I decided to take a 7-Day Social Media Vacation, I didn’t think that I would see too much of a change. I was doing it more so to support the youth that I work with in their own endeavor to take a 7-day break from fake.
To prepare myself for my fast from Social Media I took the following two steps:
- I removed all social media apps from my phone.
- I made a list of things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time. After all, if I’m taking a “vacation” from social media, I figured I should have some fun things to look forward to. They included getting my hair colored (finally!), finishing a book, completing a course, and making cake batter ice-cream with the kids.
So on Monday, June 4th I deleted Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook from my phone (I’m not a Snapchat or Twitter person). I actually almost didn’t delete them. I figured it was going to be such a hassle remembering my passwords when I went to reinstall them, but ultimately I decided I should do this thoroughly. So off they went.
On day one, I was already glad I had deleted the apps because I found myself mindlessly going to where that little Instagram square is usually waiting for me on my phone and caught myself. That was close. I almost cheated in less than 12 hours without even realizing I was doing it.
That was eye-opening! My finger was automatically going to Instagram without even continuously realizing what I was doing.
As the days went by, I noticed significant changes in how I felt, what I was accomplishing, and in my relationship with my kiddos and my hubby. Life felt easier!
I felt happier, more engaged in life, and more inspired!
I couldn’t believe it. All of this because I wasn’t on Social Media?
As my week came to an end possibly the most surprising reaction of all was the dread I began to feel toward jumping back into social media.
We have come to believe that social media is this gift (and don’t get me wrong, it can be helpful! I’ve seen/experienced it connect old friends, faraway family, and help us get the word out about our businesses, and or when someone needs support.) Social Media has in many ways connected us and helped us become a global community – that’s incredible.
But in all the “community” that’s been built, are we losing personally?
Have the relationships within the walls of our homes suffered?
Are we in control?
Are we acting for ourselves? Are we sure about that?
When my 7 days came to an end, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t jump back in yet. I needed to form a plan and better understand everything I was learning about myself. So I extended my vacation… One more week and then another week after that.
In the end, I learned that social media comes at a cost and that it’s a cost we may not even realize we are paying.
Walking away from social media allowed me to feel freer, more positive about myself and my abilities, less pressure, more connected and engaged in my life, and happier!
I read and or finished 4 books, colored my hair, called and talked to old friends, had more meaningful conversations with my kids, and got fresh inspiration that formed clear action steps (that I even had time to start on) for two major projects I’ve been playing around with for months.
When is the last time a vacation did all of that? For me… never.
I still don’t know entirely what this will mean for me moving forward? Am I writing off social media? No. But I am evaluating how I use it, how it’s impacting me, and how I can combat the adverse effects that I’m not aware of.
Here’s what I do know… I want to fill my life with things that encourage, support, and inspire me to live my best life! This means that I have to take a very serious look at social media and where or how my feed fits into all of that.