I want to share with you, the recent magical shift I have had in my life. And it’s been from one simple change…
For most of the summer, I’ve noticed an increased attachment to my phone and to social media in general. Part of the reason being that I am contracted with two companies to run their social media, and the majority of how I promote The Courage Collective, is through social. But not only was I constantly using apps like Instagram and Facebook — I could also feel this almost uncontrollable draw to check these apps and see every post, every story, and collect likes like they were going out of style.
The part that was most alarming was how habitual this was becoming.
My fingers were reaching for these apps before I had even consciously decided to. I had turned off notifications for all social media for a few months and that had made a difference, but I knew I needed to pull the plug in a bigger way.
I decided to create tangible and mental boundaries around my social media use. The first step was moving all of my app icons on my phone to the last page — this way, I have to swipe twice to actually get to them. I hoped this would interrupt the habitual part of my usage. The second step was logging out of social media apps on my computer. And for the same reason, when I’m required to login, I have more time to think about whether or not I need to use it at that time.
And of course, I kept all notifications OFF.
Then I just had to be strict with myself about how often I go online. For the first day, I didn’t go onto any of the apps. It was a Sunday, so it was easy for me to stay busy with other things and leave my phone at home.
Now I’ve decided that my social media use falls within the workday hours and is INTENTIONAL (obviously I socialize once in awhile, but this is much more infrequent).
So I use social media between around 8:00am and 6:00pm. I’m doing my best to visit these apps with a purpose and then close them without spending time mindlessly scrolling.
It had been about two days into my social media detox when I was chatting with one of my best friends and just kept remarking on how light I felt. How clear my head was. The truth is, I realized where my feelings of busy, cluttered, and frazzled were coming from. It was the fact that I was using every spare moment to look at social media. What was supposed to be downtime or quiet, was spent staring at the screen. And whether we like it or not, social media has busy-ness built into it. It feels like you’re running on a hamster wheel trying to keep up with everyone else, maintain an image, and explore everything, as to not miss something important.
When I said stop, I invited more open space into my days.
It sounds crazy, but I instantly felt less busy. I literally thought ‘I have nothing to do right now.’ And I don’t think I have had that thought in a year and a half. I feel an incredible detachment from these apps and have taken back the power they had over me. Let me acknowledge though that this is, and will always be, a practice. Just like anything else, resisting temptation, validation, and mini dopamine highs (seriously, look it up) takes focus.
I’ve decided though, that being present means more to me. Looking up at the world around me means more. Absorbing and being appreciative of quiet is important. Taking the time to reflect on what I share and why I share it, is powerful in and of itself. When you ask yourself if you’re being intentional with what you share and if what you’re consuming even matters to you, you may be surprised by the answers. For me, it makes more sense to put the time spent scrolling into actual face-to-face interactions and relationships. And it also makes sense to me that I practice gratitude for the space between — like the waiting in line, the streetcar rides, and the ‘killing time’… those times when you think there’s nothing better to do but stare at your phone.
Soak up the quiet, the mundane moments of life. We are SO lucky to even say that they happen to us.
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And if you’d like to get more focused on your social media detox goals, come to my workshop this month! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/renew-intentions-refocus-tickets-37376775943?aff=erelexpmlt
Brittany is the driving force behind The Courage Collective, a personal coaching service and blog for millennials and young people alike. It’s courage for your quarter life. This initiative and company has been her heart work over the past year. Connect with Britt on Instagram: @brittkathrynn