"I'm not taking advice from her about health when she looks like that"
"Ugh this is so fake, she's just trying to sell stuff"
"Why does she HAVE to document this part of her life? Can't some things be kept private?!"
These were honest thoughts I had when scrolling Instagram that I am NOT proud of.
When you spend endless hours on an app, confronted with photo after video after photo after Reel, you begin to think of the posts or stories you're seeing as something that deserves your judgement or input. In reality, on the other side of the device it's a HUMAN being with real feelings and vulnerability putting themselves out there and they aren't asking my opinion, so why do I feel so inclined to let it take up space in my head?
In recent months I found myself on Instagram for hours, procrastinating other things I should be doing, and what was I getting out of it? Extreme anxiety.
The tipping point for me was in December. I was faced with trying to figure out what we should do for our upcoming wedding given the pandemic.
Will we push it back another year?
Will people want to wear masks?
Is it going to be the day we always dreamed of, or a lesser version of it?
All of the thoughts above combined with being bombarded with IG stories or posts of people still quaratining and scared, left me feeling helpless. I simply could not escape my own brain or thoughts. I knew like a bad addict with a needle in their arm that I needed to quit.
But I felt conflicted. Mostly because:
#1 I have run and 'performed' for my job as a Beachbody coach for over 8 years solely on social media. If I wasn't sharing my fitness journey and documenting my life, then who was I?
#2 I LOVE the connections I've made with others through out the years and didn't want to feel FOMO or miss out on what was happening.
#3 This was a BIG chunk of my day (embarrassing, I know) that I'd be giving up. What would I do with that time?
More than my excuses listed above, I craved a world where I knew about someone's life because we chatted about it on the phone, not because I saw their post. I was born in '89 , so I DID grow up in a world before cell phones, texts, and social media.
I knew I could make up new hobbies, find other things to do, or dare I say be PRESENT, instead of looking at my phone. So the decision was made: January 1, 2021 I was to sign off. I made sure everyone knew about my
e-mail list and how I could still communicate with them during this hiatus.
It's been nearly a month and I can say: I think I've struck a maintainable balance with social media.
Here's what I've been doing to cut social from my life but still keep in touch:
Kill Your Newsfeed Plug in: I'm sure most of us hate Facebook newsfeed, especially when it comes to politics. However, there are some good things like groups, market place, and messenger that you may not want to give up. On Google Chrome there is an amazing plug in that you can install called: Kill Your Newsfeed. This lets you open up Facebook and you will only see the column on your left, who's active on your right, and notifications or messages you may have gotten. You newsfeed and the annoying gunk that comes with it is GONE! This only works for Facebook on your computer, but it's been a great way to stay connected to groups and messages.
Instagram Willpower: my MAIN reason for leaving IG was because of comparison and judging others. But I was learning a lot from content created by medical professionals, herbalists and others. So only from my computer I access Instagram and TYPE IN the search bar of the accounts that I love to learn from. If there is any judgmental or comparing narrative in my head, I close my laptop shut. I have been doing this 2-3x a week. I also love to check in on my microneedling eyebrow lady, Candace Cameron Bure, my favorite skin care line, and my current Beachbody trainer. I do not check in on friends or family's profiles because again, I should know what's happening by chatting with them in person, not on social media.
Keeping Facebook Messenger on your Phone: I love my Beachbody team and keep in contact with them via messenger or our private on demand accountability group. I feel like I know what's going on in that specific world and I am able to check the app as I please. I do NOT however get alerts from messenger on my phone. I run the app, the app doesn't run me.
Other Apps: I've downloaded Duolingo (the language learning app), Words with friends, Pintrest and a new free app from my Library. These help pass the time here and there but let's just say my Spanish hasn't improved (LOL). Pintrest is helping with ideas for our upcoming wedding in June, so thats a plus!
All in all, I'm on my phone less. I've read more books this month than I did last year. I love listening to audiobooks or podcasts all day long. I still sometimes look at my phone like it's a full fridge with nothing to eat in it, but I know that will take time! I have loved reaching out to others via text when they enter my mind, and in turn being reached out to myself. I don't know if I will come back to social fully anytime soon, but if and when I do, it will be MY way. There will be a lot of deleting who I follow, and I'll be careful to curate a feed I enjoy. I hope you can do the same too.
How is your relationship with social? Do you need a detox too? Comment below!