In May I decided I needed to take some time off social media for a number of reasons. As an introverted extrovert( yes there is such a thing :)), I occasionally need to just get my head out of the hustle and bustle of my everyday routine to re-energise. I have done this in the past by taking a few days off, a spa day or just a day to do NOTHING! During those “me time” off, I was still very active on social media which is not a bad thing, unless you end up scrolling through timelines for forever, basking in others highlight reels and defeating the purpose of doing nothing and rejuvenating.
So why 5 months away? Well I did not have a number in mind in the beginning. All I knew was that, I will just come back when I felt it was time to. If I am really honest, it was beyond taking time to rejuvenate but taking time to mentally reset! What do I mean? I was becoming too engrossed in people’s lives ( well at least what they decided to show me). All I saw everywhere was proposal videos, new jobs, new cars and everything in between. I like to think that I am not easily swayed by things like this or peer pressure, but wait… I was starting to feel a little left out. I was beginning to consciously compare my life to the “fun” others were having, forgetting that my definition of fun is totally different..
Don’t get me wrong, there were and still are so many reasons to be on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. The issue here was that, I was consciously or unconsciously berating my experiences, my fun, with a competitive lens and reimagining what was right, lovely and acceptable by the number of likes and views associated to it. The great thing here was that, I recognised this change in mind-set which to me was a revelation that there were some demons I still had to deal with in my life.
So what did I do next? Until you recognise that there is a problem, you are unable to fix it. With this recognition, I had to take stock of what I was actually feeding myself with and why I was so upset or jealous. I decided that I had to first take away all the distractions so I can concentrate on the deep rooted issues that were manifesting at that point. I did not have to disappear entirely from every network including whatsApp I was told, but when know yourself and you really have to get working, you do whatever it takes. So below is what I did:
- Logged off and deleted all social media apps off your phone: Why not just log off, did you have to delete it? Yes, I did this because I didn’t want to be tempted to log back in. I deleted Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook ( including messenger) and what shocked most was Whatsapp. Yes, I deleted that. The question I got most was how would you communicate with your family which when living away from home is very crucial. I knew that I could call them but frankly, if I needed this to do this I had to be really strict and set boundaries for every relationship in my life. Oh we found ways to communicate and the friends that emailed me, you know yourselves, you are the real MVP’s. In that time, I took up listening to podcasts on mental health, self worth, meditation, etc. and I can’t tell you how much difference it made feeding myself with “the good stuff”. That’s a blog post for another day!
- I took up meditation: No I was not waking up at 4:00am to recite anything while sitting in he lotus posture! For me this was taking time to account for my thoughts, intentionally bring myself to pause and notice when I was beginning to reflect negative thoughts and energy. In some cases pray but also notice the times I could not be bothered to pray and why that was the case.
- Went back to old school writing: I have found that writing things down, with pen and paper, helped! No matter how haphazard my thoughts are that it produces a clarity in my mind allowing me to concentrate on what’s important. If you know me, you know I love me a list and a good notebook, and its because of this reason. Being honest in my writing and literally pouring my most vulnerable heart onto those pages felt and still feels like therapy.
Okay, so really, how did this help? Recognising there is a change is great! However using that information to put steps in place and actually taking those steps, makes the difference! These are the 3 differences I noticed since doing this detox ad continue to notice:
- Acceptance:My current situation be it my finances, relationships, is exactly that, MINE! and totally accepting that this is a transitional period allows me to enjoy the process but also, to use what I am seeing around me as motivation to keep pressing on
- Gratitude:This ties in with acceptance. I used to own a gratitude jar but I stopped filling it in. Why? I was not achieving what others were so there was no point. Well, this is the mentality of someone who attributes gratefulness just for big things, which should not be. When I accept who I am , what I am doing and where I am going, my mind automatically picks up extra-ordinarily beautiful things around me that I would not have noticed in the past. I now, use the 5 minute journal (well after owning it for over a year lool) which helps me to focus on the good in my life and what’s priority for me.
- Genuineness:Fam! please tell me I am not the only one that fakes it sometimes when someone shares some real good news with you or you see them “killing it” in life? Oh and especially if you think you are better than them, whatever that means. You know why this is the case? Its because of our mental limitations, natural competitive nature and also our past experiences. Well, at least for me. Being genuinely happy for people now is important because I now accept that their success is not at a detriment to mine but an indication that mine is on the way. It’s all part of learning to be my authentic self. That’s not to say that those feelings of jealousy would not come, but I remind myself that they are on whatever chapter in their life and I am on another and its only a matter of time till its my turn. Celebrating with them, opens things up for me! You can still say its kind of selfish, but you get the deal. It’s good selfish!
So hey this is it from me. Would I do it again, yes! it was so worth it. It’s still a continuous process and I have started to mindfully re-introduce some of these networks back into my routine. At the moment, I am editing what’s on my timeline, who and what I am following, and setting boundaries on how much time I spend on social media. Do I have to do this? Yes, this is what I have identified would work for me. Its important to know you and do what works for you if you need to do something like this. Let me know if you have taken any breaks like this and what you learnt from that! Remember, opinions are like noses, and everyone has one! This is my nose and My two pesewas!
This really spoke to my soul. I think the hiatus was worth it for you seeing the benefits and knowing full well that an unexamined life is not worth living. Sometimes we need to step back, go offline, evaluate and have some alone moments. The world will not come to an end if we do that. I tried going off one time in the past but it was majorly out of circumstances and not a personal decision. when I came back after five months I was surprised to discover that very little changed. Fortunately, that was when I discovered my passion and what I really wanted to do with my life. I strongly recommend this to anyone out there. Maybe not as much as five months but once in a while. Thanks once more, Sugru.