Updated: a day ago
My biggest New Year's goal this year is around screen time.
Last year around the fall I started feeling uninspired. I felt like I wasn't getting enough done, I was making excuses to finish my work day early, and my lunch breaks were generally plopped in front of the TV, initially lasting the length of just one Office episode, then two, and eventually three or four, taking me to the end of my "work" day.
Social media use was excessive as well. Though I do use social media to support my business, it felt like it was all consuming. I would wake up and open Instagram while still in bed, I would spend an hour or so on my post for the day, then a little bit on adding to my story, and the rest of the day checking to see my likes/comments and commenting on other's posts. At the end of the day I found myself scrolling to see what was going on in my actual friend's lives. I would find myself opening the app at any lull in my day- when I needed a break from content creation, when I was in line at the grocery store, even during that little break between the end of one episode and the beginning of another on Netflix. It started feeling a bit cray.
During the fall I made a goal for myself to eliminate TV during the day, not turning it on until 5:00pm. I also completely cut TV out one day a week. This small goal (that probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal to some of you) completely changed my energy. I was more motivated at work, I felt like I got WAY more done, and I felt myself being more creative.
However, my social media time hadn't changed. I still felt controlled by those little apps on my phone.
Well, January came and I wanted to do something big for myself, to feel more in control, more inspired, and change up my routine. I started the year off with a 2 week detox from social media.
Again, this might not sound like a big deal to you, but for someone that was spending upwards of two hours a day on the socials and who's work is so intricately intertwined with these little apps, it was a big deal.
And I have to say, it felt soooo good.
Here are three things I took from my social media detox that might help you if you feel like your screen time is a bit heavy~
1. I Got So Much Time Back
I hear it weekly from my clients, I just don't have the time to do XYZ. The truth is, you do. You have time for the things that matter to you, you just have to make some adjustments.
Not surprisingly, social media is a huge time suck. Even if you are a passive social media person as I was before starting my business, it still takes a chunk of time out of your day. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, 15 minutes at the end of the day... it all adds up. Just with that example there are 30 minutes that could have been repurposed somewhere else like a workout, sewing that hole in your kid's jeans, or making dinner.
I had time to read more, get things done in my business I had been putting off, call friends and family, be more consistent with my workouts, and even get more household to-do's accomplished. With more time in the morning, my day started earlier. I got things accomplished earlier in the day, leaving me more time in the afternoon to do the things I enjoy.
2. I Was More Intentional
Having two weeks off of social media gave me the space to be more intentional about how I want to use the socials in the future. In the past my posts have been fly by the seat of my pants kinda things. I would have an idea or be talking with a client and suddenly want to post about something. I would sit down, work on it for an hour or more, post and be done. I didn't have a game plan.
As someone that loves an organized life, this random, unorganized posting was a bit stressful for me. I needed a game plan and I wanted to be more intentional. Having this break gave me the time and space to really think through the content I want to share with my audience, create posts that I feel good about and will serve my audience, and have a schedule for when to share them so they aren't just coming at my followers randomly. My followers may not notice any difference, but it has made a huge difference in my own mental space.
This process, though much more organized, also leaves room for spontaneous posts that showcase my life, my husband, and my dogs when the moment strikes. But instead of feeling like I need to figure something out for ___, I feel empowered to know that I have a process in place. This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't had the detox.
3. I Realized What I Value About Social Media
You've probably heard by now about the chemical reaction our brains have when we are on social media. They've linked getting likes, comments, and followers on social media to your body releasing serotonin, the happy hormone. Your body literally feels happier when you get likes on social media. And when you don't get likes? Well, to some it can be a bummer. I like to think that that stuff doesn't matter to me. I'm not a teenager who's life is run by social media and how many followers I have. But I would be lying if I said it doesn't play a role.
When I was thinking about doing a detox I was worried about losing followers, not getting engagement when I got back, or missing the joy of getting honest, thoughtful comments on a post that mean something to me.
None of this happened. I didn't miss getting comments, I didn't care that my engagement was a little lower when I got back on, and I'm not even sure if I actually lost any followers.
I realized that what I truly enjoy about social media was connection. What I genuinely missed was seeing new recipes being put out by fellow healthy food bloggers that I admire. I missed the random memes my friends send me in my DMs. I longed for that connection you get with someone on social media that you don't know very well but is being raw, honest, and vulnerable about something that they are going through. When you work from home by yourself all day, social media is a way to feel connected to others.
I missed the connection.
This social media detox taught me so much more than I had imagines. I now feel excited and in control of how I will be using social media. I don't feel controlled by these little apps and the amount of likes I get.
I've decided I want to use the apps to connect with people. I want to enjoy seeing other peoples lives, interacting with them in this fun way, and being honest and real with my own life and health journey. I have been empowered to take back control of how often I want to use the apps and will be much more intentional about it before I mindlessly open and start scrolling.
I'm not here to demonize social media. But this social detox was more empowering than I could have imagined. If you have ever felt like your social media use is a bit excessive, consider doing a detox. It could do more for you than you think!