I recently took about a month off from social media. It wasn’t like I planned it because I felt like I needed a media detox, but this whole experience made me realize, maybe I did!
I got busy right after coming back from the July 4th weekend trip to Hawaii. A month-long 200 hr intensive yoga teacher training started while I was keeping almost all my regular teaching schedule. I realized quickly that I had no mental capacity to keep up with social media posting. It would be a lie to say I had no time at all, but after a week of not posting and less frequent engagements, I didn't feel like going back. So, I decided to take a soft break and ignored the slightly uneasy feeling of not keeping up with posting and engaging on social media space. The idea of having one less thing to distract me during the busy month of juggling teaching and training gave me a little bit of peace of mind.
First thing I noticed after cutting social media out of my life was how often and quickly I used to fill my time with my iPhone and how much it was taking me out of "now". While I was not using social media, I was still using my phone to check emails and texts, but I was spending noticeably less amount of time with my phone, and more time being present with myself and people around me. I felt good in general not to clutter my mind with endless information and stimulations. Not being on social media meant to me, no time spent on thinking about and writing my posts, commenting, responding and liking for other people's feeds, and all the other interactions that happen on the social media space plus some side track activities of watching videos and reading articles someone else posted.
I knew from my own experience as well as other people’s blogs and comments, how social media can be like a black hole, sucking up time, mental and emotional energy (FOMO, Instagram/Facebook Envy), but I didn’t realize how it was affecting me until I stopped and started to pay attention to my own behaviors. It wasn’t like an earth-shattering, life-changing experience, but I definitely noticed throughout my day, I was more present with what was around, and people I was with, and I don't think it was a coincident that I felt more grounded and less anxious overall during the busy month of training.
To be clear, I am not against social media, and I don't think I will cancel my social media account any time soon. There are so many possibilities how social media can be used for great causes and changes. I also enjoy connecting with my family, friends, and students on social media. I believe the key is mindfulness and moderation.
Managing and minimizing the time posting and scrolling down the feed got easier for me after this break. I may use a time tracking app if my willpower is fatigued and notice myself being sucked into social media black hole again. I am being more mindful of my comparison mode and FOMO.
Have you ever taken social media time off? How was your experience? Leave a comment below!