We all know someone who always has their nose in their phone. Even when there is nothing to look at…they look at it. Unfortunately, that was me up until seven days ago. I was always running late because my focus was on tracking my followers, reading statuses and uploading Snaps. I had a routine just for social media, which on reflection makes me feel a bit silly. It was, wake up, post on Instagram, share the same post on Facebook and Twitter, then do a couple of snaps on Snapchat. Then the same routine would take place again in the evening. I would find myself thinking far too much about effective hashtags, intriguing captions and how many likes or followers I may get that day. Basically, I was bordering on narcissism…kind of. I do need social media to share my blog! Anyway, we know everyone loves a good selfie…but it shouldn’t make you late for work! After all, social media is just a virtual space where we can project any perception of ourselves that we like…but it is not a true reflection of our real lives. When a new opportunity presented itself to me at the beginning of October, I knew I had to reign myself in and start focusing more on reality, rather than the virtual world I had been living in.
Day one began at 8pm on Sunday 16th October. I uninstalled all the social media applications on my phone and I immediately had no genuine reason to pick my phone up. It made my heart sink and I was already feeling like I needed a cigarette to cope. That immediate withdrawal from social media made me anxious. You may think this is exaggerated but in all honesty, I did not know what to do with myself. Monday morning was also a struggle, as that was my busiest Instagram time where I would connect with my followers and talk about fitness and my blog. Was I losing followers? Have I missed any important messages? That was my thought process for the entire day, thinking about what I’d missed online *cringe*. Nonetheless, my resolve did not break and I successfully completed the day in a shaky mess. A major difference I noticed on day one, apart from the social media withdrawal anxiety, was that my phone was still on! Usually it is on 100% at 6am and dead by dinner. Today it was on 86% at 6am and at 6pm it was on 52%. Result!
This was the day I travelled approximately 200 miles from Yorkshire to London for an interview. The journey was so long I thought I may crack and download the applications. I was also keen to share my little adventure and put Buckingham Palace on my snaps! It was during this journey I realised…no one REALLY cares what I am up to and if they do, they’re not on the edge of their seat about it. The desire was mine and mine only, so I should be focusing on enjoying the experience I created for myself! This uninterrupted alone time turned into a reflection session and I felt even more strongly that social media had been having a negative effect on me.
Day 3 was largely uneventful. Social media did not cross my mind all day, as I was so busy and still tired from the day before. I went to work then came home and watched Luke Cage. Part way through watching it though I did smile to myself…usually I would have missed the plot lines because my nose would be in my phone.
This was a day of realisations. My phone felt cool all day rather than heating up from the constant usage. I did not feel weary and eye achy. Nor was I acting like a zombie around other people. My partner and I talked more than we had in weeks! Usually I would prioritise my phone and be dismissive when he was trying to speak to me. I felt quite guilty at this point and I told myself I would not let social media take me away from reality anymore. Dinner was prepared in record time and I slept peacefully that night, without the urge to ‘just check my phone’.
Day 5 & 6
Friday and Saturday was my chill time. After finishing work at lunch time on Friday, I went to see a comedy show, had a few drinks, did a little shopping and caught up with my friends. I had forgot all about social media and I barely touched my phone for two days. I felt enthusiastic about doing stuff again!
It was not until someone asked me about my ban that I remembered social media even existed. I then spent much of day seven thinking about how social media had been shaping my life for the last few years. I joined Facebook in 2007 and only checked it a couple of times a week…on my desktop! By 2014 I had Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, however, I still only checked them every couple of days. Since starting my fitness journey in January 2016 and the blog in July 2016, I had progressed to checking all these apps every FEW MINUTES! How much time have I wasted and how many fantastic face to face conversations have I missed because of these creations?! A hell of a lot. These apps were making me late for work, interrupting my sleep, effecting my self-esteem and I was losing my sense of reality.
In conclusion, I seriously recommend that you take a break from social media to nurture yourself and free your spirit. It may sound ridiculous but I can tell you first hand…you will feel regenerated, renewed and positive about…REALITY. Social media is and will always be a virtual world. What you see is not the truth and it isn’t the right environment in which to play your life out. We get so caught up in it, comparing ourselves to others, judging, bitching, ranting and for what? More stress?
No thank you.
Social media has its place…but it’s not a place to live.