I’m Addicted To Social Media
They say the first step to addiction recovery is being honest with yourself and admitting that you have a problem.
For the longest time, I was not willing to be honest with myself. I came up with every excuse in the book to justify my obsessive usage of social media.
I need it to promote my blog. I’m just checking my Facebook group. I’m only using it to build my brand.
While those were all valid reasons for why I used social media, they weren’t ONLY reasons. The truth is, I probably spend 80% of my time scrolling endlessly through my newsfeeds and only 20% actually doing something productive on social media.
When I Realized I Was An Addict
I came to terms with my addiction one day when I wasted more than half of my sleep hours going back and forth between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, repeat. The worst part, I had no recollection of what I saw, what I read, what I liked, what I commented on…nothing. I was literally a social media zombie. It was at that moment when I understood I had a problem and I needed to do something about it.
I got out my journal and wrote down every negative impact social media was having on my life:
- Losing sleep
- Interfering with my work
- Interfering with family time
- Constantly feeling the need to compare myself with others
- Headaches from staring at the screen for too long
- STALKING others (anyone else end up on someone’s best friend’s cousin’s sister’s hairdresser’s page or is it just me?!)
- Too much time spent thinking of captions, pictures, or statuses I was going to post
In other words, social media was taking over my life and essentially, disturbing my peace. I had to do better. I wanted to do better. I made a commitment to myself to go on a 7-day social media detox. This meant for a whole week, I would not get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Snapchat. I made the decision to not include Pinterest, only because I use Pinterest as more of a search engine (honestly, I use it more than Google).
Observations During My 7-Day Detox
During my detox, I kept a journal of my thoughts, feelings, and daily activities so that I could see the progress that I was making. Some major observations I made were:
- The day I deleted all social media apps from my phone I felt empowered. The fact that I was actually doing this really excited me and I was eager to see my results.
- Days 1 through 3 was definitely the hardest. Days 4 through 7 things started to get a lot easier.
- The first couple of days I was literally having withdrawals. It was weird not waking up to notifications and there were multiple times I reached for my phone to get on social media only to remember the apps weren’t there.
- There were a few occasions where I felt disconnected from my friends. I never realized how much of our conversations are surrounded by something that happened on social media or the funny memes we tag each other in throughout the day.
- I was a lot more productive at work and during my free time. I was able to get some things done that I had been procrastinating on for quite some time such as writing new blog posts, applying for freelance writing opportunities, and reading.
- I was able to enjoy each moment without social media distractions. I actually sat down and watched movies with the kids without getting on my phone. Since I detoxed during the fourth of July, I was able to fully enjoy the holiday without feeling the need to post and share on my Instagram story.
- I shared pictures I took with family and friends BEFORE posting to social media (you know, the ones who really care anyway).
- After my detox ended, I didn’t immediately get back on social media. I actually waited for a few hours before redownloading any of the apps back to my phone.
Social Media Detox Q&A
Before I began, I came up with 4 important questions I wanted to be able to answer after my detox was completed.
1. Was my detox beneficial?
ABSOLUTELY!! My detox was 110% beneficial. I gained a lot of things, but to sum it all up, this whole detox was one of the best forms of self-care that I’ve practiced. A lot of times, I tend to think that self-care is enjoying a mani/pedi, getting a massage, or my hair done, etc. What I realized is that self-care does not have to be something tangible or visible. Sometimes, the best self-care is ridding yourself of anything that interrupts your mental, emotional, or physical state. There is nothing more powerful than a woman with the ability to recognize when something is disturbing her peace. And there is nothing more unstoppable than a woman determined to make a conscious effort to eliminate it from her life.
2. How will I prevent myself from going back to my old ways?
After my detox, I downloaded all the apps back on my phone with the exception of Twitter and Snapchat. I realized those were two apps that I missed the least and really only use to be nosey and look at other people’s posts. I also have decided not to allow social media notifications to come to my phone that way I don’t feel inclined to check them throughout the day. Additionally, I’ve been trying really hard to set and maintain boundaries on when I check social media. Meaning not scrolling when I first wake up or when I’m going to bed. Honestly though, sometimes I find myself slipping back into the habit. I think the difference is that I am more aware than I was before my detox and as soon as I catch myself, I stop.
3. What lessons did I learn?
- FOMO is real.
- There is so much life outside of social media.
- Every moment doesn’t have to be captured or shared.
- There are other, more genuine ways, to connect with friends & family.
- Social media wastes SO – MUCH – TIME.
4. Will I do it again??
Yes! I will most certainly do this again. I actually think next time I will do it for two weeks, maybe even more. Although my detox was effective, I feel like 7 days wasn’t long enough for me to get the FULL effect and really break the habit.
I can’t lie, I am content with being back online but it was definitely refreshing to check out for a little bit and realign with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and good things it can bring but everything in life is about moderation. The quote, “Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone,” is completely true. I reccomend everyone takes a break from social media at least once. Whether it’s for one day or three months, I think you’ll be surprised to see what you learn about yourself in the process.
4 thoughts on “Unplugging: My 7-Day Social Media Detox”
Amen to recognizing what’s disturbing your peace and eliminating it from our lives 🙏🏽💪🏽. Good stuff!
I want to do this!!! This helps with clarity of thought and a fresh perspective on life. Thanks for sharing
That must have been so hard! Especially since you need to be active on social for the blog!
I’ve heard of some people doing this for 30-days instead of 7-days. Think you could do it? Maybe make it a challenge for us to join in on!