Two weeks off social media and I did not miss it. Honestly, I’m afraid to log back on today, get sucked in and loose the gains of this liberating detox.
Here are the 3 biggest take aways from my social media break and how we can change our relationship with our feeds for the better.
1.) Using you phone to self regulate robs you of opportunities to grow.
I realized that I use my phone to self soothe. Specifically at the end of the day when I’m winding down or when I’m feeling bored standing in line or waiting for someone.
Not having social media as a distraction allowed me to acknowledge what I was feeling, take a breath and consciously choose another way to cope. Warning - creating space is an invitation for uncomfortable or painful feelings to surface. It begets more light and joy too though. Two sides, same coin.
Turns out I’d been avoiding some shadow work thanks to my friend, Instastories that really needed some healing. So instead of finding another distraction I dove right into the muck and self administered EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
This powerful therapeutic intervention has helped me work through trauma and change unhealthy patterns that have baffled me for years.
You can learn how to use EMDR in founder Francine Shapiro’s book Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy.
Although reprocessing trauma should be done with a trained clinician like me, the techniques in this book will empower you to balance your emotions and regain control.
2.) Documenting your life is not the same as living your life.
This morning I witnessed a man grooving unabashedly on the street corner to some fabulous music flowing through his ear buds. Instead of trying to whip out my phone in time to capture him for my feed. I just sat there and took him in. I experienced the corners of my lips turn up and my heart expand. Now that’s living.
These precious moments make me feel more connected to others and myself. I also feel more in control of my time, carving out space for new rituals.
My favorite nighttime ritual is taking a bath with epsom salt, a few handfuls of sea salt (to cleanse my aura) and Dr. Teal's calming lavender bubble bath. It's so soothing that I literally sleep like a babe.
I also started reading for fun again. Novels like Swan Huntley’s We Could Be Beautiful is akin to an addictive Netflix drama. Reading from an actual book is recommended as the light from a screen can mess with your Circadian rhythm making it harder to fall asleep and decreasing the quality of your sleep.
3.) Creating limits around your social media use is crucial.
Social media is designed to be addictive. No matter how woke you are all of our brains are wired to continue seeking reinforcement. Each heart or like lights up your neural synapses keeping you craving more.
Creating consciousness around your social media use is the first step. Try your own detox and observe where you get edgy and where the magic comes in because it will come in.
Then reevaluate your relationship with social media. Whether you use it for business, pleasure or both these questions can help you get a grip:
How does social media serve me/my clients?
Does the time I spend on social media create the feelings/outcomes I want?
Once you’ve got your answers you can create a new strategy that’s in alignment with your personal and professional goals.
Here are a few things I practice:
- Not looking at my phone in the morning until after I meditate. Not using your phone as an alarm and storing it in another room over night makes this easier.
- Turn off all notifications on social media apps limiting interruptions throughout the day.
- Unfollow anyone that annoys you, makes you feel bad or is irrelevant.
- Create set times to scroll. Since I use social media for business I’m going to try and log on once daily to catch up on messages and comments. I’ll let you know how it goes!
- Use a scheduling app like Planoly to set up social media posts ahead of time and automatically post for you. Major time saver!
Share your trials and tips for living with social media on Instagram and Facebook, <<First Name>>. Your contribution could help someone else!
In this together,
P.S. We all desire freedom from our devices. Share with a friend in need of liberation.