IF YOU CAN’T LEAVE SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT FEEL UNETHICAL STAYING ON THE PLATFORMS, THEN A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK IS YOUR NEXT BEST OPTION.
Have you ever wanted to delete your social media accounts or take time off of the platform, but didn’t?
We both have, right? You’ve thought about taking a day or a week off, but somehow it was never a good time to do this because of work, your connections, covid-restrictions, etc.
You’ve probably heard that these platforms were designed to be addictive and to keep us engaged. It doesn’t mean that you lack discipline if you have found it hard to unplug for more than a few hours. However, when I delve deeply into thinking about this, I’m concerned.
Repeatedly, gurus and success gurus and leaders talk about how time is the only resource we can never get back and is one of the most important things we have.
But many of us have become poor managers of our time because we’ve become slowly accustomed to the ever-better engineering of platforms to keep us scrolling and liking and sharing.
It is incredibly easy to adjust to the ceaseless scroll and the encroaching time with phone in hand and not even realize how much you are personally impacted by actions that have become subconscious and or unconscious habits.
Its time to get intentional with your use of Social Media again
A social media detox is the next best option if you are not ready or able to delete your social media accounts. Let’s face it, these accounts might be necessary for work, business, and social connections. You might not have the energy or capacity to make a big life change right now.
But you do have the capacity to take a short break from social media- a social media detox- to reset your habits and create more time and more peace of mind.
This summer my intuition shared some big directions to me.
- Stop Drinking
- Pull back in business & rest & meditate more
- Get off Facebook within 6 months.
You know I deeply believe in following my intuition and that I listen to my inner voice most of the time.
This was before The Social Dilemma came out, but you may have heard ripples of discontent & distrust of Facebook for a while now (recall the impact to voting and election results of 4 years ago).
However, sometimes its inconvenient. My 6 months is almost up from when my intuition guided me to stop engaging there. I have limited my time there, but not fully dis-engaged.
I wanted more fuel to motivate me. I know that what gets my motivation going is when I have overwhelming evidence that the new path is essential for me.
FOMO is not actually what is keeping you on Facebook.
Last night I was reflecting on how I feel emotionally from thinking about deactivating my account or simply avoiding Facebook.
I got the image of when a wave is going out at the shore and I’m standing at the edge of the water. The ocean is pulling me and the sand beneath my feet. I love to feel the tension and question at the wave’s edge- will I let the ocean carry me in or stand my ground?
I recognize that its a deeper sense than FOMO that I’m feeling. I would call it FOLGO: Fear of Letting Go of Opportunities.
Giving it up means clients can find me there, friends can’t reconnect, people can’t invite me to their virtual events, I can’t easily sell outgrown children’s items, etc.
The pull of the loss drags at me.
Yes, I acknowledge there are other options & places for all those opportunities.
In January of 2020, I took a week off all social media and offline (I wrote about it briefly here). I did check email during my digital detox challenge, but I didn’t surf the web. I shared 2 videos on the reasons I did a digital detox and how to do a break from social media successfully.
As I write this article, its time for another media break and probably a new video.
I delayed watching the Social Dilemma, because I thought that I knew enough to not need it right now. (My already-knew-that attitude can sometimes block me from experiencing what I need to in life. I recognize this weakness of mine, so I relented and began watching the docu-drama last night.
I’m committed again to a social media break- this time I’m going to do 31 days in January.
WHEN AND WHY MIGHT A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX BE A GOOD IDEA FOR YOU IN 2021?
Ask yourself these questions and notice how many of them are a yes:
- Have you ever wondered if social media is making you unhappier, more jealous, dissatisfied with your life?
- Have you ever felt like you were being manipulated, buying more than you needed to, following the events of people’s live you don’t even really like that much?
- Have you noticed that you spend a lot more time on your phone than you mean to- almost every day?
- Have you ever said to yourself that you’re going to start a new habit, but couldn’t follow through and don’t know where the time went?
- Are there any new habits or big goals you’d like to achieve in the next year or two?
If you answered YES to more than 2 of these, you may agree its a good time to take a break.
Let’s regain control over your use of social media TOOLS and manage the Technology for YOUR best personal use.
First, its important to examine why you are on the social media channel. When you take the time to notice and reflect upon what you are gaining and losing by spending the time that you are on the platform, you will be better able to plan for and be successful with breaking your current habit of spending time online and begin to build a new habit that better supports your happiness, your dreams, and your connections with friends and family.
Take out a piece of paper and fold it in half, lengthwise. Draw a line down the middle. On one side write the Title: Positives/Benefits and on the other side write Negatives/Downsides
Write down a list of all the reasons/benefits you get from the channel.
Write down a second list of all the reasons/negatives that time on this channel is taking away from your life.
Take out a new sheet of paper and journal freely about how taking a week off would make you feel. Be very honest with yourself and notice the words and emotions that you’re writing about.
You may want to journal and reflect about your upcoming social media detox for several days. This will allow many emotions to rise to the surface. When I did this fear and other several other emotions arose.
Then I was able to plan for my detox. If you are fearful of losing touch with certain loved ones, can you plan for a time to connect with several people this week? You can get a phone number or email address and plan a time to chat/write. You can schedule a call over Zoom or Google hangouts.
TIPS AND TOOLS TO MANAGE YOUR TECHNOLOGY AFTER A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX
After I complete a social media detox, I find that it is still essential to manage my use and my time when (and if) I re-engage.
Here are several tools and tips that I have found to be incredibly helpful to keep conscious and intentional with my time online and on various social apps and platforms.
- Use a timer when you are going online
- Identify if you have a purpose for ‘scrolling’ or ‘checking in to see what’s up’ or are you craving connection? Are you craving information and knowledge? See if you can get to the root of why you want to go online now.
- Use features on your phone that aid with deterring your time on platforms. My phone has a focus mode which makes all “unnecessary” apps turn to grayscale when I need to work.
- Utilize the grayscale feature on your phone- you can schedule it to turn on at certain times of the day or times of the week.
- Buy a technology box to store your device in if you need to be fully present
- Swap out your phone for a simple “dumb” flip-phone. I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve heard of folks adopting this approach.
- Plan time with friends/family outdoors or actively engaged so you won’t be inclined to want to use your phone.
- Have someone else be in charge of changing your password weekly and only telling you the new password on the weekend or in the evening when you choose to go back online.
- Find an accountability partner to check in and reflect on your new habits with you.
- I know there must be many more. What’s your preferred method right now for managing your time online?
This article is a work in progress, as I am preparing for a 31 day social media break in January 2021 and as I gather tips and tools to help you have a successful digital detox. Reach out and comment or email me to let me know your tips, tricks, and successes with staying off of social media.
If you wish to have support in being more intentional with your time online and cultivating a life that nurtures your whole self, sign up here. You’ll get updates when my group program Nourish your Soul is running again, as well as weekly email encouragement and inspiration.