I realised I was an addict.
The first thing I’d do, before my eyes even had a chance to un-blur in the morning, was reach for my phone. I’d scroll through Instagram, lose five minutes to that, and then check Facebook – just for good measure.
(My mum might have tagged me in a hilarious video of a French bulldog eating pizza during the night.)
I’m not alone, though.
According to bankmycell.com, 69% of users pick up their phone within 5 minutes of waking up.
And, to top that, 85% of people use their phones whilst speaking to friends and family.
So, I decided enough was enough. I was tired of being a slave to the habit.
It was time to get a grip (on something other than my iPhone, lol.) I was to embark on a 7 day social media detox.
And here’s what I learnt:
1. Ignorance is bliss
I travelled back in time.
All of a sudden I was back in a low, lit bar necking Bacardi Breezers for a pound a go and stumbling across a very sticky floor in stupid heels.
Okay, I joke. But it was similar.
Imagine a computer monitor so heavy it would kill you if it fell over and having to ask if anyone wanted to use the phone before dialing up to the internet. That’s where I was.
It was peaceful back then, not knowing what everyone was up to.
I’m going to liken it to being being back in the olden days (way back in time when your ‘rents were young – ie. one million years ago) where you’d bump into an old friend at the petrol station and get a brief update of what they were up to:
‘Dad’s great, joined a line dancing troop last year, Sue’s fine, married to Dean from college now, and Uncle Bob has a new job as pilates teacher’; rather than ALREADY knowing everything about them from social: bra size, dog’s last wee, entire wardrobe.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no objections with using Instagram however you choose. I’m all up for freedom of speech, frequency and post.
But it was rather nice to be ignorant to going’s on for a while.
2. No FOMO
You no longer have a constant fear your life isn’t quite as good (or photo-ready) as someone else’s.
Eg. Seeing Glastonbury updates and being in no doubt that you are, in fact, definitely not there.
You are, however, sat on a swivel chair repeatedly opening your desk drawer to check for snacks past-you might have stashed for a rainy day. Case-in-point.
3. Oh, the productivity
I had more time.
Of course, I didn’t, but it felt like I did.
Without losing minutes scrolling on the end of my bed watching stories of people’s dinner, I had more time to get shit done. To write, read and focus.
Because time is precious.
We work hard to play hard.
And if getting rid of time spent on social means I can do the washing without eating into valuable minutes with the husband and dog, that’s good with me.
4. You only think about yourself
‘Where your focus goes energy flows.’
Thanks for the reminder, Tony Robbins, you legend.
We spend far too much time worrying about what everyone else is up to. And when it comes to social media, being selfish is important.
If something isn’t serving you, don’t follow it; if the app isn’t enhancing your life, try and use it less (or not at all).
Having zero distractions meant I could really get a handle on my own life (or try!)
When you aren’t worrying about what everyone else is doing, you enjoy the now you are doing.
Which, tbh, is the whole point in this life, right?
1. Always the last to know
I was late to the party for ALL news.
Like, Instagram is the font of all knowledge, isn’t it? People barely have the ring on their finger or the baby’s head out their foof before it’s grammed these days.
Excitement, bragging, validation?
Whatever it is, it happens (we all do it 🙋🏼♀️). And to be honest, I got quite used to getting my Royals fix and the latest celeb update on my insta dives.
Being a nosey human, I’m game for instant updates, so being out of the loop was a bit lame (but definitely something I could adjust to).
Solve: set up news notifications.
2. Lonely times
I missed my pals.
I keep in contact with a lot of people via Instagram. I have certain friends who are cheerleaders of mine and I’m the same to them; we always comment on each other’s posts and stories.
These beautiful, digitally born relationships are a life line. And I missed them; I missed posting fire emojis on their smoking- hot selfies and obsessively commenting on their stories.
Solve: get over it and speak on whatsapp.
3. Never knowing what to wear
Social media can be super helpful.
Don’t know what to wear to so and sos wedding? Need some home-decor inspo? Just want to flick through memes for a quick lol? Instagram.
When used in the right way, it’s a brilliant, live trend platform, where you never have to miss a beat. Without it, I might be found wearing a bin bag due to severe lack of clothes-spo. (Dressing well does not come naturally to me!)
Solve: nothing is replacing Instagram on that front (right now) but Google will sort you out.
4. Laughter & Lemons withdrawal
I missed my Laughter & Lemons Instagram account.
Of course! My baby and creative haven. It was difficult to go from posting on the reg to not at all.
I follow an eclectic mix of accounts, who truly enhance my life. So not being able to have a scroll through some inspirational, motivational goddesses, or see an amusing meme, was sorely missed.
Solve: can’t. Love L&L.
This detox was easier than I thought.
Over the first few days, my fingers habitually navigated to the Instagram icon of their own accord, only to find it missing. But by day five, I was loving living in my own zone.
I got used to having zero clue what was happening in the online world and stopped caring. I enjoyed it a lot and wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back on at all. (But I did. What can I say, I’m weak.)
Going forward in a digital world
Nothing ground-breaking here.
I just felt bloody good for it. It was the time out I needed to reset, away from the infiltrations of the online world.
Unsurprisingly, I am now making a conscious effort to cut down my screen time. No longer will my arms reach for that satisfying Instagram scroll pre-morning cuppa, or right before I hit the hay.
For me, the pro’s of not being on social media (for a generous amount of time) outweigh the cons. Undeniably, they are a bloody cracking set of platforms that are beneficial in many MANY ways, but only when used in moderation and when exposed to what’s right for you.
(Which, if you are anything like me and hormonal AF, is subject to change on a daily basis.)
An elongated ban would do wonders, I’m sure. And I will sporadically take time off, going forward.
Let me know if you’ve binned off Insta and Facebook in the past. How did you find it? I’d love to know!
Fyi, The irony of posting this on social media is not lost on me.
Remember, a lot of what you see online is staged and false.
YOU are bloody ace. Have a belter of a weekend.