I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I love that it helps me to connect with friends and family. I love that I can be inspired by all kinds of cool creative people.
I do not love that I compulsively check for the next update in any free moment I have. I also do not love when I’m staring at my phone catching up on people I don’t know instead of being present with the people with me in real life.
So, for a week over the holidays, I gave myself a social media detox. I deleted the apps on my phone and did not check on my laptop except for a couple times to check in on the She Reaches Tribe.
My intention was not to be away from social media forever, but I wanted to break my habit of going straight to social media in free moments.
What did I learn, you ask?
- I did not miss 90% of the kinds of posts there are out there. You know, what outfit someone was wearing that day, the meal they ate, or their most stylized holiday adventure.
- I did miss the 10% of posts from friends and family. I like seeing how much their kids have grown or what fantastic thing happened so that I could cheer them on from afar if we don’t live near each other. I did have to ask other people about updates because I wasn’t seeing them. In one in particular, I was told via text to check out something on Facebook and I had to ask them to send it to me directly (not the end of the world!).
- I read more books. Instead of reading status updates or the articles that people shared, I got to control what I wanted to consume. I read a couple new books and reread some favorites (Big Magic and Essentialism which I still highly recommend).
- I felt less stressed. There’s something about my brain constantly consuming content and the constant scrolling that makes me feel frazzled. I also don’t need to feel bad about myself for not living up to someone else’s highlight reel. Have you seen all the studies on why social media isn’t good for your mental health?
So what now?
My plan is to set social media boundaries for myself.
- Set my intentions for why I post on social media. I don’t want to share only my most instagram worthy moments. I want to share when I want to connect with friends and family through my personal accounts – not to brag about things I’m doing. This means there will be lots of photos of my girls and our family adventures, but not styled photos that interrupted enjoying the actual moment with my family. Perhaps less photos overall so I don’t forget that not every moment of life needs to be documented (who has time to manage all those photos anyway?!). For business, I want to encourage other working women and also share real life challenges. If it’s not either of those things, I won’t be posting it.
- I will delete social media apps when they become a habit. If they aren’t on my phone, I can’t check them incessantly. I can delete them and check instead on my laptop if I’m dying to find out something. I’ve done this multiple times over the last year. It seems drastic and silly, but I promise you’ll realize how much you were relying on those apps when they aren’t there. It’s a good wake up call and doesn’t have to be permanent unless you want it to be.
- I will set time boundaries on when I will check social media. For me, it means I will not be scrolling when I first wake up or when I should be going to sleep. In the past, I’ve done a good job with this and then I slide back into the habit. So, I will even delete the apps in the evening if that’s what it takes!
Do you have a love/hate relationship with social media? Have you set any boundaries with it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!