As someone whose job involves a lot of social media, I had the idea to take a social media detox during my family holiday at the end of March. As much as I love interacting and sharing my experiences with the lovely community I built over the years, I was feeling overwhelmed lately. I felt like I had to share every time I did something exciting because that is how the internet works, right?
I didn't have fun anymore editing photos and writing captions. I stopped posting on my personal account and working on my business page felt like a rather boring task. I had forgotten how it once felt like a fun experience when it was just a hobby. I missed those times when there was no pressure to post every few days and when I didn't care about numbers.
Social media had become part of my job. I loved it but it was always there. It felt like I couldn't close the door of the office. I was never fully on a break. I never stopped working (at least not mentally). The notifications on my phone kept making me feel guilty when I was out having fun instead of working. It was about time to change those bad habits.
I made a post on both my personal and business account saying I took seven days off and didn't touch any apps during this time. This holiday with my family was the perfect opportunity for my detox. I shouldn't have much time anyway to socialize online and I could focus 100% on spending quality time with the family.
Some people put their phone away in a box. I wanted to bring mine along because I listen to music all the time and everywhere I go, I wanted to stay in touch with close friends and the thought of being able to call someone when something is wrong makes me feel safer.
But I know that not everyone can just ignore all the other apps like I did. You can either delete them, put them all in a folder or use one of those old flip phones.
My detox went a lot smoother than I initially thought. I did not get bored at all. Even not during downtime. I had brought a book with me and downloaded some episodes of my favourite Netflix series on my IPad so I would not need any wifi. I bought a magazine and a board game on my destination and for the first time in a long time I just watched what was on tv! I know right, shocking! No, timeshifting, no TV-guide and actually browsing through all the channels.
So my biggest tip would be: prepare your detox! If you don't like staying up till late doing activities it might be a good idea to think about other ways to entertain yourself.
I did take a few pictures with my phone. And yes sometimes I felt like I wanted to share what I was doing with the world and show my beautiful destination. But those feelings passed by very quickly.
So did I miss social media during those seven days? No, not at all. I would recommend this to anyone who feels overwhelmed by social media or who is addicted to their phone.
This made me realize a couple of things.
Your phone is not in charge of your schedule
If you want to share something, question yourself if you're posting it because you want to keep your account as active as possible? Or are you sharing it because you really want to? Because what is the point of rushed, meaningless content?
If you want to, then know you don't have to post when it's happening. It's okay if you decide to post about your adventure later. Right now you need to enjoy it. You can always log back into your account but this moment won't come back. Trust me, there is no one waiting behind their device for you to post. Unless you are Taylor Swift. Share when you want to, when you have time. Your phone is not in charge of your schedule.
Personality is key
Another thing I learned is to have more fun with it. I love editing photos and taking my time till it looks good enough to me. Write in your caption what you want to say. Stop using captions that you think are trendy but don't fit your personality at all.
Don't scroll down your timeline liking and commenting everything you encounter because that will drive more traffic to your account. Only search for hashtags you're truly interested in. Only hit that like button when you actually like it. And only comment when you feel like you have something to say. We all get annoyed when brands post meaningless comments that have nothing to do with the actual message. So stop doing this yourself.
I'm happy to say the therapy has worked and my phone and I are back in a healthy relationship. This detox will be my new annual tradition. In order to not fall into bad habits till the next one, I do take small breaks now and then. For example, I try not to look at my phone at least an hour before going to bed and I put it away on days that are important holidays.