Thirty days ago, I would have been awakened by a stream of sunlight pushing through the half inch gap in my bedroom shade. I would have reached over to my phone on my nightstand to confirm that it was indeed time to get up. My barely awake face would look enough like me for the screen to unlock. My phone would also do this thing where it anticipated my movements. It would say “Hey, don’t you wanna see what everyone else is doing or did?” by shoving the Instagram square in a square logo at me. The screen would say, “usually at first pickup” above it. It’s not wrong. I’d open and scroll. There wouldn’t be much I hadn’t already seen when I looked at it right before I went to sleep but maybe someone posted to their story or maybe I made it so far down the algorithm that I discovered an account I hadn’t seen in months again. I’d walk away from the phone to do morning things; wash my face, brush my teeth, put on pants. When done, I would go back to my nightstand, checking the square in the square again; just in case I missed something in the seven minutes it took me to wake up.
This constant checking every few minutes would continue throughout the day. Previous Me set up notifications for important things like messages or comments on posts to prevent Current Me from having to check my phone at all. Current Me apparently didn’t trust the process because I would still be compelled to open the app and “just see” for myself. What I would “just see” would be a lot of reminders that my hustle was lacking, that I was taking up too much space with my body, and that I was doing too little to start the revolution. I spent tireless hours attempting to curate my feed by muting, blocking, and unfollowing but the monsters always got in. Eventually I realized that the monsters were all in my head. So I could curate all that I wanted but the comparison would never cease to torutre me.
I came across an Instagram story by an indie author who said that she found that being on the app was taking away from her focus. She was so overwhelmed with creating content for the algorithm that she wasn’t creating anything else. Same, girl. Same. So in an instant after seeing that story on March 31st, I walked away from Instagram and Facebook for 30 days.
I was embarrassingly nervous that I wouldn’t be able to stay away. I had deleted the apps from my phone to ensure my pushy device couldn’t tempt me in the morning with its suggestions but I could very easily access both platforms on a browser. I have attempted to step away from Facebook numerous times but always used the crutch of needing to check it “for work” – which wasn’t a complete lie but mostly it was.
I set new goals to turn into habits to replace the need to check social media. Movement was a big one. Before the detox, I was moving consistently about four times a week for at least 30 minutes. I wanted to reach for it every day. Movement is my medicine and when I do it, I always feel better. Sometimes more than others, but it has not failed me in the year since I found a fitness journey that serves me. I made a goal to write three pages a day. I also gave myself access to books on several platforms so when I found downtime during a child’s nap where I would normally doomscroll, I could read.
In the last 30 days,
I moved my body with intention for at least 40 minutes every day except 2.
I wrote 11 days, totaling 29 pages.
I read 8 books.
I didn’t check Instagram or Facebook once.
And I don’t even have a hint of FOMO.
I thought I would miss the connection to others. What I found was that the connection I was feeling on the apps was simply an illusion. I kept note of who I missed and what I missed about them. I reached out and conspired plans to make our connection happen more in the real world. I felt so much more connected to me.
Going forward, the plan is to utilize my newsletter and blog to make connections with readers. As I build that community on those platforms, I will slowly decommission social media. Maybe that plan will change but that’s the current one. I like who I am better without social media. I like the world better too. I hope you tag along. Be sure to subscribe here if you haven’t already. I also encourage you to take a social media detox too. You may be surprised by what you discover you really need.
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