Lessons I Learnt From My 40-Day Social Media Detox
I recently embarked on a 40 day detox off all forms of social media. What this meant for me was that I logged off Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts from my phone. A disclaimer though, I do log onto FB messenger and Pages to check on work related stuff.
Why A Detox?
Just like how our bodies and mind would need a detox once in a while, I felt the need to put aside being always “connected” for a period of time. And whilst my church was initiating a 40 day fast, I decided that apart from a meal fast, I would also purge social media off for that period.
I do not consider myself overly addicted to my phone but there are periods of mindless scrolling and time wastage on my phone. On my phone social media tracker app that I use, I generally log 40–60 minutes on FB, Instagram and Twitter combine. Note that this is only on my phone and not via computer or other devices. Depending on how you see it, I think that this could be further reduced and to channel my time for better use.
A few months just before this detox, I have also been trying to cultivate the habit of putting my phone away from my bed so that it will not be the last and first thing I check when I wake up! I’ve not been super successful but I’m getting there!
Here’s how I spent my “additional” time saved from browsing my social networks:
#1 — I journaled more than before
To me, journaling helps keep my mind fresh and free. But I’ve never been consistent on this and I always wished I ‘had more time’ to journal, but truth is, something else takes precedence over this desire. I’ve journaled probably the most I can think off in recent years during this 40 days and it helped keep me sharp and focused in my day to day activities.
#2 — I avoided the FOMO syndrome!
It is not just a fear of missing out on a particular event or situation, but it can also be FOMO of the need to be in the know or the first to know. This freedom allowed me to be more cognisant to other people’s needs and emotions in my surrounding — whether it’s my own family members or friends.
#3 — I read real news rather than swiping Instagram stories
You do not realise how a web of nonsense news that fills our timeline and social media until we switch it off. This 40 days, I intentionally went into news sites to read the latest updates of a particular situation to keep abreast. I felt this was a better way of being informed rather than relying what my community shares.
#4 — Work on matters that really build me up
During this period, I had to spend some serious amount of time in my studies as I just embarked on a Master program so this 40 days actually came in handy. But during my break, I learnt some new skills by enrolling myself in an online workshop through Skillshare to replace the hours possibly spent on social networks.
After speaking to a few people the last few weeks and sharing my experiences, here are some additional tips you can consider for your social media usage. Different people has different consumption levels, so you’ve got to first honestly evaluate yourself and then consider the following:
- Log off all social media accounts for a period of time to reset your mind and feelings.
- Get someone accountable to change your password and after a period of time to commit returning the password to you.
- Instead of always posting updates on your daily life, food and what constitutes to nothing, consider posting things that may build others. You may want to commit to posting an uplifting message for every 3 instagram stories of food or daily life (if you’re a foodie!)
- For every 30 minutes you go on social media, you commit to writing one page of journal. For every 45 minutes of Youtube video, you commit to another page. You get the drill…
- Get one of the many social media addiction tracker app to lock your apps once you go past a certain amount of time for a particular app. For me, my app locks my Instagram after 30 minutes of browsing. Yes, I can still unlock it, but it still requires additional effort.
Many of us cannot (and perhaps, will not) remove social media completely from our life. Nevertheless, we can control how much grip it has on us by setting parameters to its usage.
If you’ve got any tips or experience about detoxing from social media, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!