Earlier this year I embarked on a 30 day social media cleanse and the rule was simple: no social media for 30 days. The only exception was YouTube, and I wouldn't really call that social because I never leave comments or interact with others on it. It was goodbye for 30 days to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Instead I got to enjoy conversations in person or over the phone, I got to speak in more than 20 characters per sentence, I got to enjoy photos sans filters, and I had to actually dust off my cooking books if I wanted a new recipe. It was an amazing experience that was both anger inducing and liberating all at the same time. I found myself getting bored easily because every time I picked up my phone thinking I'd just browse people's pictures or take a look at what I'd missed on Facebook, the absence of the apps (because I was smart and deleted them) reminded me I wasn't allowed to go on them, and I got angry. I was angry because it meant I'd actually have to do something, and I felt lazy and didn't want to move any muscle other than the one in my thumb that I used to scroll. In reality, what I thought was boredom was actually discomfort as I changed an ingrained habit and ritual. It was fear of not knowing what to do with myself outside of social media (as pathetic as that sounds), and it was fear of having to push myself outside of my incredibly narrow comfort zone. But once the anger began to subside, something else magical happened - not all at once, just a little bit at a time, but enough that I noticed a difference. Time began to slow down. I went to bed at a normal time. I slept better. I stopped comparing myself to everyone else who happens to be on the same social media platforms. I stopped wishing my house was different. I stopped questioning silly little things in my relationship. I stopped being hard on myself about my achievements or lack thereof. I started finding new ways to spend my evenings. I started enjoying cooking dinner and washing the dishes. I started feeling less stressed. I started to feel a real change... and then the challenge ended, and things went back to the way they were before. I've been feeling a little hum drum as of late and I've noticed that I've been spending almost every spare minute of my time on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and I think it's time to have a little break again, and again I am a little nervous but more excited than anything.
If you are wanting to do a 30 day social media cleanse, here are some tips and reminders for along the way:
1. Delete all social media apps from your phone. It will remove temptation to check them, and you will thank me later.
2. Remind yourself of what your intent and goal is with this challenge on a daily basis. Reminding yourself of the why makes it easier to continue when the going gets tough.
3. Write a list of things you would like to do/achieve/accomplish/complete while on your social media challenge, that way if you ever get bored you can look at this list and choose something to work on.
4. Give all of your friends a heads up that you will be going on a 30 social media cleanse, and offer up another way of communication, or suggest a get together so you can still keep in touch.
5. Understand that the 30 days will have highs and lows and that is okay because it is all part of the journey.
6. It only takes 30 days to form a habit, and therefore it only takes 30 days to break one. Stick with it!
7. Keep a daily journal of your challenge and track your progress, thoughts, feelings and any changes you notice. It will be neat to look back on, and will be a good reminder to look back on.