I took a 60 day digital detox, found peace and this is what I learned! Life is governed by your terms, not the terms of who you follow or what you see posted. To start with the basics I grew up caring about each and every single person’s opinion. Whether I was being praised, gossiped about or ignored – I cared. This set me up for failure as I unintentionally grew a social media platform and later found myself constantly “checking Instagram comments to crowd source my self esteem.” Falling into the same trap? Of course I outlined my experience below!
This set me up for failure as I unintentionally grew a social media platform and later found myself constantly “checking Instagram comments to crowd source my self esteem.”Kanye West
I set rules that worked for me, like setting time limits using my smartphone. It became clear that I spent way too much time on Instagram specifically, aimlessly scrolling by things and or people who I didn’t want to engage with or posts that felt negative or overwhelming. I went from 2 hours a day to 30 minutes, which worked for a while but I knew I needed to take an actual break. The key here is to figure out what boundaries work for you and a 30 day social media detox worked for me. At first I felt like a fish out of water, at events but not posting and taking down handles to follow them later. FOMO kicked in and a few times I almost relapsed into posting again.
Over time I noticed some healthy new habits that I developed before the 21 day mark, including proper use of my spare time and less distractions by constant notifications. I read a few self help books like More Than Enough, tons of inspiring articles on Tiny Buddha and wrote in my journal and e-journal at least once a day, all which normally took 2-3 times longer. I worked hard on a new project that I’m excited to share in the near future, replacing comparisons to other’s highlight reel with a clear focus on my own plans and goals without the influence of anyone else. I worked out more, hitting my home gym and finding group classes to join outside of it. I had more quiet time to sit and ponder, embracing silence as an important form of meditation. I actually talked to other people at events and wasn’t consistently staring at my phone or creating the perfect instant post. All in all, I actually enjoyed life in front of the lens and took in each and every experience!
Does this sound like something that you’re willing to take on? If so I’ve outlined some quick tips below so that you can make it through your detox, shed old negative habits and pick up some more positive practices.
1- Study your phone’s analytics (screen time) and figure out which apps you spend too much time on. It’s not our phone that we’re addicted to, it’s the apps that are made for us to constantly pick up!
2- Write your goals out and stick to a few apps that you know you spend way to much time on. If you get rid of everything, once you come back to it you’ll fall into old habits, so small steps are key!
3- Tell a friend – or two or three, your plans so that they can hold you accountable. Nothing on this planet can be accomplished alone, even something as minor as a detox. Once your tribe knows, at least one of them can check you when you try to sign back in!
4- Focus on other activities that you like to do but don’t currently allocate enough time towards. Narrow it down or build it up to match the number of apps that you’ve eliminated. Once again don’t overload yourself so that your not just as stressed as you were when you were always scrolling, liking and commenting!
5- Ignore the naysayers, especially if you run a social media business that is revolved around a personal brand and managed by yourself. Your followers won’t unfollow you, your credibility will not be shot and the digital world will not end. You can always pick back up where you left off and keep the momentum going!
If you feel like you need some time to recharge, reset and refuel – take some time to unplug and try a digital detox!
Photography by Dave Scholton
Dress from Quanasia Graham