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.