Anyone who knows me will know I spend a lot of time on my phone. There is no denying that I spend too much time on it, if I am being honest. It is such an easily accessible distraction. I can blog from it, take pictures with it, watch TV on it, update and catch up with social media from it. I use it to find recipes and shy from physically cooking the dinner with it my phone is my lifeline for all things ‘day to day’. With our annual family holiday fast approaching I decided that would be the perfect time to have a rest from it all. Especially from the social media. Oh yes Peeps… I decided to have a social media detox! The very thing that my nightmares are made of.
Why Have a Social Media Detox?
The decision to have a social detox wasn’t one I actually thought that much about. Hubby made a fly by comment about data and my phone abroad, I can’t even remember what he said but I instantly thought ‘Well I just wont use it’. From there the idea gained momentum. Social media doesn’t bring me down psychologically, I actually enjoy it. And I have made some genuine friends from Instagram; some I have physically met and some I haven’t. Other peoples photos do not make me question every aspect of my life and generally, although occasionally it can be a necessary bloggers evil, I really enjoy it. At the time of deciding to have a detox I really didn’t feel like I needed it so I knew I would miss it. My biggest concern was my Fear of Missing Out.. FOMO guys… It’s real!
So Did I Learn Anything?
Initially I would have said I didn’t learn a thing from my social media detox but that isn’t true. I have had time to sit and reflect properly about it all and I have actually learnt a lot about myself, how I use social media and the power it holds.
1. I don’t suffer with FOMO as much as I thought
This could just be me, I know loads of people that suffer greatly when they think they are missing out. I always thought I did too. When people I know, mums especially, are not on Instagram my go to response has always been along the lines of ‘Oh you must sign up! You are missing out on so many inspirational mums to follow.’ And I do still stand by this response; there are some seriously great people to follow on Instagram. But do I really believe people are missing out on that world? No I guess not. That is not to detract from it, as I say I have made friends all thanks to Instagram. I have a whole new support network at the end of a keyboard. A network that is so full someone will always be around to offer support in your time of need. I honestly thought that not being able to check my notifications every so often would drive me mad, but it didn’t.
Ok, it did sometimes. I had 2 occasions where I really wanted to check my phone but that wasn’t actually caused by missing social media. Idiot that I am I realised that I had arranged our neighbour to go in and feed the cat but that I hadn’t given her the vets or the insurance details should she need and she only had my number and not Hubbys. I think I may have had a bad dream about it all as I woke up with a real sinking feeling and a desperation to turn my phone back on. I did… Everything was fine.
2. Social Media can be an amazing place to be.
I already knew this and much of my attitude of positivity towards it is caused by my overall attitude towards it. It can be fake but only if you take it so literally. I couldn’t wait to get back and share some of our holiday snaps, not to show off but to show my friends what we had been up to. I also wanted to see how everyone was, how their families were. My closest friends don’t really understand it but I know my insta friends do.
3. Social Media is taking over the World but not in a good way.
I may like social media but it was hard to ignore the impact it is having on the world. We stayed in a very picturesque resort in Turkey but people were not taking photos of their surroundings, they were taking selfies… constantly! I am not even exaggerating! Everywhere I looked there was someone either pouting and wriggling into a better selfie position on their sun bed, next to a bush, in front of the sunset…. Or they had enlisted their ever suffering partner to take the picture. In itself there isn’t much wrong with wanting to have a picture of yourself, I am guilty of taking the occasional selfie although I do struggle with the narcissistic feelings it arouses. The issue I had with the constant displays of self love was that people were only pausing to take the picture. Not one of them then stood and enjoyed their surroundings or a moments contemplative peace. No one was actually talking to each other. Couples walked by in silence until one or the other asked for a photo. Hands weren’t being held; phones were. Social media is taking over the world and not in a good way.
You could argue that it was just for their own keepsake. That the photos would never be seen on social media. This may well be true but I have seen enough photos to know a staged Instagram pic when I see it. The slightly slanted shoulders; the side aspect of the face; the gentle, almost indecipherable, pout. All of these things are the trade mark of a good ‘grammable’ picture. They are not the trademarks of a person living in the moment.
4. Nothing Bad is Going to Happen
Ok, I am not crazy enough to think something bad was actually going to happen but this goes with the FOMO. I have caught up as best I can with what I missed during my week off and from what I can tell nothing happened. Even the global news had a slow week. Plus my fingers haven’t seized up from lack of use. I don’t suddenly have dark spots in my eyes I couldn’t see before due to looking at a screen too much. Emails continued to flood in but realistically there was nothing that required immediate attention.
5. Spending Time With The Family is Great
You can consider yourself forewarned that there is a ‘but’ coming with this one. My Mother – in – Law always says ‘Everything before the “but” is bullsh*t’ and usually she is right but I mean everything I am about to say.
I loved not being tempted to check my phone. I loved being able to play with the girls when they wanted and not ‘in a minute’ because I was in the middle of something unimportant (they had to wait if I was mid sentence in my book though!). Fortunately, I had my camera to take photos if I wanted to there was no worry about missing a good photo op.. I’m not talking the ‘grammable’ ones, I mean the ones that only a mother can appreciate; the ones kept solely to offer embarrassment in the years to come.
I have realised it is ok to need an escape from the mundane aspects of parenting. I would love to say that escape is a book for me, but it isn’t. It used to be but now reading makes me drowsy and I really don’t have the time for it outside of a holiday environment. Even on holiday the girls moaned, whinged and made simple things more difficult than they needed to be. It was at those times, once the ‘issue’ had been resolved I really wanted to delve into something more simple. Something that requires less of me. It was the book on holiday but at home it is the world I find at my fingertips, inside my phone.
Would I Do It Again?
Yes I would. Although with that said I am not sure I would want to do any longer than a week. I was very ready to get back into it by the end of our holiday. The more I think about it the more I realise that was because I didn’t really need the break at the time. If, in the future, I find myself desperate for a break from it all then I will simply take one. Now that I know nothing is going to happen, nothing important will be missed, I wont feel any worse for it and may even feel 100% better the prospect of a clean break for a while is not as daunting as it once was. But until that time I will be posting and sharing as normal and enjoying the online company of others.