I recently took a two-month hiatus from any type of social media and electronics. No Facebook (deleted it all together), no Instagram, no texting, no calling, no phone, no TV.
What I learned was this:
You get into a routine of what you make routine.
I have to admit, I did miss my phone for the first week or so. I would wake up in the morning and reach for my little electronic sidekick, slightly panic when I couldn’t find it and then relax more deeply when I realized I didn’t have to.
Before I tried this experiment I hate to say I was a tad obsessed with my phone. I wouldn’t want to leave my house without it, because god forbid SOMEONE calls me and can’t get ahold of me….? What if someone tagged me in a photo somewhere and I couldn’t approve it before everyone saw it? What the hell was my issue and why did I care so much?!
It wasn’t until after the two month mark and reintroducing myself to my phone that I realized how LITTLE I’d actually missed.
My sleep routine was amazing. I would meditate before bed and fall asleep right away. I didn’t even LOOK at an electronic screen for two months and I really didn’t miss it.
Now, being reintroduced to my phone I try to consciously use it at opportune times. I never want to become reliant on it again, or have it be something I do when I’m board. If it breaks, I don’t want it to be the end of a good day, I want it to be the beginning of a non-documented adventure.
Sure, there are many ups to having a little internet-savy sidekick around all the time but there is also something to be said for leaving it in a cupboard on weekends and getting a real camera to take on vacations.
Here’s what I learned from a 60-day media detox:
- People want to chat.
Conversation will teach you so much more about a person than social media ever will. Instead of seeing the highlights of someones life, get to know intimate details of those around you. Learn to listen.
- You’ll sleep a hell of a lot better.
I usually give myself one hour to “get to sleep” at the end of the day. Turns out you really don’t need that much time if there isn’t a phone involved. The blue light on the screen hinders your ability to fall asleep because it prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies it’s nighttime. Get rid of that light, read a book, meditate or journal and you will be fighting with yourself to keep your eyes open!
- The competition ends.
It’s no secret, social media is a competition. Who’s at the nicest place for Canada Day? Who gets the most “Happy Birthday” posts on Facebook. Who’s dog is the cutest (…I win this one). Once you get rid of social media, that competition ends. There’s no need to check what others are doing because you can’t, and it doesn’t matter. Whatever YOU are doing and who you’re doing it with is what really matters. Focus on that.
- You begin to live in the moment.
Sunsets fade quickly, the best way to experience it to the fullest: don’t take photos. Enjoy it. This becomes so simple to do when there is no one to “share” it with but whoever you’re REALLY actually sharing it with. Live completely in the moment.
- You’ll think more clearly.
I began to have more time on my hands, which in turn gave me more time to just be, and think. Situations in life require thought before action. Too often we react to a situation before we have time to clearly think things through. With more time and fewer distractions I consciously got myself through uncomfortable situations instead of distracting myself with social media. Those difficult situations will make you so much stronger, especially when you face them head on.
So go ahead, veto social media, your phone, your computer. “Check out” for a minute and see where life takes you.