A couple of weeks ago I watched a vlog by celebrity hairstylist, Jen Atkin, on her digital detox. Jen is highly sought after by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Bieber, so for her to be able to turn off her devices for a week was a huge deal. One thing she said that resonated with me is that we spend so much energy scrolling through our Instagram feeds, looking at how other people are living their lives, when we could be using that time to live our own. It dawned me that that I was wasting my valuable time liking life events of friends and celebrities and celebrating their successes when I could be using that time to make my own dreams a reality.
Cutting the cord
Before even considering a digital detox I first needed to slowly distance myself from my phone. I decided to plug my phone into the charger every night at 10pm and walk away.
The first couple of days were difficult because I could hear it buzz so I turned on the ‘Do not Disturb’ function on my phone, not knowing that friends and family were texting me certainly helped, A LOT!
I also plugged in my phone away from my bedside. This played well into the lazy side of me who would have to leave the bed to check the phone. Physical distance definitely helped! It also helped force me out of bed as soon as the alarm rang, because previously I would just hit snooze a dozen times.
In the weeks leading up to my detox I found myself feeling very down for no apparent reason. I had scary depressing thoughts, I questioned some of my life choices and wondered if I were doing all I could to be the best version of myself. I found myself comparing where I am in life to where friends and random strangers online are in theirs. After watching Jen’s video, I realized what was the root cause of the dip in my mood.
I texted my husband and my sister from another mister (my two best friends) and told them that I will be taking a break from social media. I did this to have a sense of accountability. Their support also encouraged me to do what I felt was best for my mental health at the time.
Life without my apps
- I feel free and empowered. I’m not saying that I feel like I am above my friends and family who still use social media, I mean for me it feels like I have achieved something I thought was impossible.
- I was obsessed with capturing the sunrise and sunset everyday now I just enjoy them and marvel at the beauty of God’s handy work.
- I text my friends to let them know I’m thinking of them and have an actual conversation instead of just liking their posts and moving on to the next.
- I use my commute to work and from work to listen to audio books and podcasts instead of checking each social media platform multiple times.
- I am happier inside and I don’t miss it.
What I learned
- The sky does not get upset about the number of likes it’s getting on your Instagram feed.
- People who actually care about you will text you and won’t just rely on social media to keep up with what’s going on in your life
- Not looking at your phone 30 minutes before bedtime will help you fall asleep easier since your mind is not consumed with unnecessary information, and not looking at social media all day definitely helps you live happier.
- You will like some of my friends a lot more when you are not exposed to the content they send into the world via social media.
- You can always text a picture to a friend or loved one if you think they would appreciate it.
Overall, I learned that I am not defined by the number of followers I have or the likes I get on a post. I am defined by who am I as a daughter, sister, wife, friend and teacher. I should not look to social media for validation because life is sweeter offline.