My Social Media Detox Kickstart
Social media is, without a doubt, a big part of my life. I utilise most aspects of it and enjoy sharing my news through various platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Like any other professional, I get a real kick out of sharing my success stories, publicising my events and getting my top biz tips out there to a whole host of potential clients. Furthermore, my recent fundraising success for the Young Mums Support Network had largely been achieved through a social media call-to-action.
My multi-faceted use of social media had taken a toll as Christmas approached. I decided that I needed a detox. it sounded easy; just switch off my phone, right? Tune out and zone into the things that really mattered. Perfect! However, switching off my phone wasn’t terribly practical – my family, friends and partner had no other real way to contact me. I began to realise how totally dependent I was on my device. How could I possibly change this fact?
The Christmas Eve Conundrum
I thought I would begin my official detox on Christmas Eve, but this proved challenging. I was meeting my extended family for a theatre trip with my son Malachi to the brilliant Unicorn Theatre. What time would I be there? Who else would be there? What were the reviews for the show like? Where were we meeting? These questions manifested themselves through a series of pings on my phone. Okay, I could answer these questions but I MUST NOT BROWSE! In all honesty, it was tough, but I survived. Furthermore, the offline world wasn’t too lonely. I mean, I was actually with the real live people I loved!
Christmas Eve Relaxation
My social media detox needed more structure. I sent a message to my contacts stating that I would be going offline for the next 48 hours. This was the only way I could be certain that I would not give in to the temptation of checking updates, likes and newsfeeds. With this done, I could relax and properly prepare for Christmas without browsing distractions! I was incredibly productive and mindfulness enveloped me. I had bought a picture frame for my mum which my daughter, Natyla’ and I personalised with a collage of prints. My bedtime routine became more akin to a ritual. This new found serenity meant that I read a book and afterwards, thought more about the people that mattered to me. My phone was no longer dominating my life. I had taken back control!
Christmas Day Heaven!
I awoke on Christmas morning minus the ping ping ping sounds on my phone. Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp were not about to intrude on my day! I was quite shocked by the natural reaction to want to check my phone. For me and most people, it is an auto-pilot response. Resistance appeared to be the solution! My day proved to be one full of laughter, joy and dialogue. I was able to concentrate on the emotions of the moment. Yet, it wasn’t without its challenges. Luckily, my sister filmed the children opening their presents. I found it easier to personally document my day without the intrusion of social media. Overall, I had surprised myself.
Boxing Day Bliss
After dropping off my mum in the West End, I had accidentally checked the time on my phone. I instantly switched it off By now I felt committed to the challenge I had set myself. My aim was to be accountable and responsible for my detox. I had certainly become more aware of how absorbing and addictive social media is. By switching off, I was more aware of how my daughter used social media and decided that we needed to discuss decreasing the amount of time she spent on it.
Natyla’s Point of View
Perhaps the most poignant conversation on my social media detox was with my daughter, Natyla’. I asked her if she had noticed anything different about me. Her reply truly made me think. She noted that there was more family interaction, and I was less absorbed by my phone. She stated that she was aware that I was more preoccupied in meaningful things. We came to the conclusion that we should have ‘no phone’ quality time together. We also agreed to get her a personal tutor – something she really wanted. Watch this space!
Social Media Statistics
The statistics show that there is now a trend to decrease the amount of time on social media. Interestingly, this resonates with the younger generation. According to Global Web Index, a whopping 58% of 16-24-year-olds and 25 -34-year-olds have significantly decreased their social media usage. There are also gender shifts with the time spent on various platforms, with women using Facebook less and men using Instagram more. Perhaps there is a dawning realisation that the virtual world cannot replicate the love and warmth of our real worlds. This was definitely the case for me. As a result, I compiled a top ten list of how to balance social media use with your work/life balance. Try it and let me know how you get on.
My top tips for a better balance in 2019
- Make a conscious effort to check your phone less
- Allocate yourself social media time off per week
- Ask your friends and family if they notice a difference
- Set yourself productive offline tasks
- Observe how much time other family members allocate to social media
- Suggest a family social media detox
- Allocate your browsing time to doing jobs in the home
- Spend offline time to declutter
- Switch off your phone and read a self-improvement book
- Tune out of group chats that are irrelevant to you