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My 3 Week Disconnection “Detox” {from social media}

Shut your jaw, because I am sure its wide open right now, with big glaring eyes and a loud drawn out  ‘huuhh’ coming out of your mouth.  Yup. 3 weeks. No social media. Pure bliss. Like a frothy pina colada on a desserted beach in Jamaica. 

This. Is/Was. Freedom.

Confession time. I had been struggling for quite some time with simply feeling too connected. Too connected to people’s drama. Their kids. Their one-sided political posts. Their holiday plans and weekend ventures. Their preaching pedestals. Their sales. Their lives. I found myself taking whatever 10-minute chunk of brainless time I would have in my day, and aimlessly scroll through Instagram and Facebook feeds. This one 10-minute chunk would translate into multiple 10-minute chunks. Some involving my personal posting of TMI (because honestly, who really wants to see my kids every day), and some of just me scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Maybe I was on the elliptical, or laying on the couch when my kids played, or standing in the kitchen with my kids beside me. Wherever I was it was 10-minute chunks of distraction. Because, well, that’s what you do, right? I don’t even have half of the apps that folks have these days to ‘stay connected’ – because – God forbid anyone has to actually not share some sort of experience with the rest of the world. There are video apps, voice-texting apps, blah blah blah. I was never someone who even had Facebook logged on 24/7 on her phone. I actually had to log onto Facebook in order to access it, and I STILL felt like I was trapped. A few minutes to spare while waiting for the bus? Instagram. 15 minutes while my coffee is brewing. Facebook. A text comes in. Must respond right away. Email always syncing. BLAHHHH. Enough is enough!

Insert my continual mission of minimalism. Disconnection in order to connect. And a striving for living as much of a hands free life as I can. This has been something I have been journeying toward conscientiously for the last 6 months or so. Reading books, mindfully attending to my kiddos in ways I have looked over prior, saying NO in order to say YES, and the list goes on. I fail constantly, but quite honestly how can I truly practice what I preach when I myself have shamelessly become a social media addict? Yup. I consider the above explanation one of addiction. And a detox was needed. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted more. I didn’t want to feel left out and I felt that in order to do so I must be ‘in the know’ of everyone else’s business. Does this sound familiar? If so, hold that head high and know you can break free from the ridiculousness. Some days I didn’t even care about what was online, but alas, Iwould log on. Gah. Must detox. Destash. Declutter. Disconnect.

And I did. And it will continue. We went on vaca to Florida Oct 11. That was my ‘go time’ in relation to disconnecting. I had made a pact with myself that I would disconnect for 7 days, one whole week, and then write a blog post for this here lovely blog and share my story. I literally made an excuse to disconnect. I wanted to, but felt like having a ‘reason’ was necessary (ie. writing a blog post). Gah. Addiction central right there! My plan was to write a post following this 7 day hiatus highlighting some personal change and also as a motivator to others to do the same. Because of course then I would log back on to social media and spin the hamster wheel all over again. Goodness. I’m literally shaking my head at myself as I type this.

What I soon found was a deep sense of wanting to “stay away”. Far away. I enjoyed every second of our family time away without announcing it to the world. Without sharing photos of my kids throwing sand and frolicking in waves. Without sunrise photos and sharing food ventures we enjoyed. I just lived it. I lived it and shared it with the people I experienced it with. It was glorious. I didn’t want this ‘private time’ to end. I also didn’t care if anyone was ‘offended’ that I didn’t share anything (with them) via social media. Because – get over yourself. I decided to continue this disconnection from social media for another week, which then led to another. 3 whole weeks (plus). It has been one of the most freeing experiences thus far, and in the midst of this, has made me realize how many precious moments of our day can be literally wasted while we suck ourselves into the pits and valleys and hills of other’s lives. 

I have learned that I am distracted enough without the distraction of social media. I feel more at ease with myself, how I raise my kids, how I maintain my home, and in my marriage. I don’t compare or contrast to the extent that I used to (and didn’t even realize I used to). I get my ‘news’ from reliable sources and I can still run two successful businesses. I have friends. GASP. Yes. One can still have relationships without posting on each other’s walls 24/7.  I have learned that I actually do want parts of my life to be private, and I don’t feel like I need to know everything about everyone else. Where is the unique connection with people when the whole world knows about every connection you have? I have learned that my kids’ cuteness doesn’t need to be posted daily and that my personal opinion about several topics doesn’t need to be shared {because come on, I’m sure I’ve gotten as many eye rolls as I’ve given out}. I have learned that my scrolling-distraction would trump my kids when they would say ‘hey mama’ and I would say ‘hold on.’ That’s right. Someone else’s life and drama and kids took precedence over my own. What? Are you kidding me? My innocent 10 minutes of distraction ( multiple times a day) had a major impact on my parenting. My mothering. My attitude. Gah. Be gone! Am I anti-social media? Heck no. Am I pro ‘take a break’ from social media? Heck yes. Am I high-fiving all the baby boomers who still have flip phones? You betcha. Watch out Verizon. More may get on that train.

If you are sitting here saying, “Goodness, that girl has a problem, she definitely needed a break. But me? Oh no. I’m a-ok. I check my Facebook 2x a day and Instagram maybe once’ – Ummm sister, denial is the first sign. If you are sitting here saying ‘What the heck. She takes this way out of proportion. Nothing is wrong with social media. She needs a chill pill.’ Nope. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with social media. It is a genius invention with a hoopla of positives. The problem lies in what we do with it and how we allow it to consume us to varying degrees. If you are sitting here saying ‘There is nothing wrong with me posting my entire life every day, or me wanting you to do the same.’ Nope, I didn’t say there was. Just don’t assume that everyone knows everything because you post it on social media, or that everyone wants to post everything.

Here’s a social experiment. Take a day off of social media and see if you are convulsing at the fingertips as you give your phone the side eye. Maybe 3 weeks plus isn’t for you. Maybe 3 days isn’t for you. But I challenge you to take a break. To go for it. It is one of the most refreshing things I have done. 

I am typing this 23 days after my initial disconnection, and just 2 days ago my index finger accidentally swept across the Instagram shortcut on my phone and I panicked. I legit panicked. I hit that backspace as fast as I could but it was too late. I saw it. Someone’s life. I read it and I logged off. Not again to log back on (yet, because I soon will). I have a business to continue running, which does need a social media presence to gain interest (but not a 5 posts a day social media presence. Insert another eye roll). I have friends in other countries whom I connect with via media. I have relatives who enjoy seeing photos of the kiddos under my roof. Yes. I will reconnect with social media. But yes, you can guarantee, I will do so in an entirely different way then I have in the past. Facebook is uninstalled entirely from my phone. My email does not automatically sync, but rather I sync it just a few times a day and filter through it for messages from friends, business clients, and school folk.  My Instagram is still installed on my phone because when I’m ready I’ll check it out again and I’ll share goodies again. But the feelings of ‘I must have my social media presence made known daily’ has diminished. I don’t owe anyone a posting about me. I don’t owe anyone me reading their info either. I am amazed at how many people assume you know something because it has been made known on social media. How complicated our lives have become. Man, I miss the 80s some days. 

In a nutshell, my friends, because I could type for another hour on this experience, sometimes you must step away in order to notice the things that need to be changed. The nuances that need rid of. The detoxing that needs to be done. 

You can do it, sister. Delete that app. Shut down that computer. Take your kiddos to the park without the phone. Don’t answer the texts or emails as soon as they come through. Don’t share a 39904-word post about the significance of that chicken sandwich you ate at lunch. Live life disconnected for a bit. The outcomes are phenomenal.

Have you ever disconnected from social media? How and why did you do it? Please share! 

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2 Responses to My 3 Week Disconnection “Detox” {from social media}

  1. Leslie
    Leslie November 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I am SO guilty of saying, “hold on” as I’m scrolling my dang Facebook feed when my son asks me to look at something. It is AWFUL! Thank you for this honest post and thank you for the encouragement to scale back my social media addiction.

  2. Suzanne Hines November 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    Yes. This. I have too long bought into the excuse that my job requires me to be connected all the time. It doesn’t. So for the holidays (Thanksgiving-New Year) I’m planning to disconnect entirely. I am actually SO excited!!! Thanks for this reminder and your willingness to speak the truth!