My resolution this year was to live my most “present” life. I aimed to deeply enhance my overall practice as a mindfulness meditation teacher. That being said, I set out on the personal mission of assigning a challenge to myself for every month of the year.
My challenge for this month? No checking Facebook or Instagram for 31 days. As a current professional Social Media Specialist and Entrepreneur (with a strong online presence), it would be a refreshing four weeks.
Personally speaking, the majority of my social media presence is found on Instagram. I opened the app numerous times daily, sometimes doing it out of pure habit. My Facebook usage is predominantly used for “checking in” with my friends around the world. In order to be more mindful – and for the sake of my mental clarity – it would be a release to temporarily “sign off” from these apps.
So, I deleted both apps from my phone on the first of the month. Honestly, I did miss sharing my mindfulness-based posts with others during the first week. I would scroll to the left side of my phone, searching for the apps, and forget they were deleted. Oops.
Regardless, I didn’t give into my own temptation. Surprisingly, the challenge became easier from that point going forward. I carried on with my work and almost forgot about the platforms altogether. I surpassed my personal expectations and happily completed this mini challenge.
Below, I highlighted some of the lessons learned during my 31 days of being Instagram and Facebook free. Based on my personal experience, I’m hoping others will choose to “detox” from their social media routine or at least, limit its usage. Trust me, your brain (and overall concentration) will thank you!
1. I Accomplished More Tasks: I was able to focus on my freelance writing without the distraction of checking notifications. This process of single-tasking (focusing on one task at a time) sparked a realization of how checking social media genuinely averted my focus. Since the notifications stopped buzzing, I would place my phone on “Do Not Disturb” and carry on with my current task. Overall, being fully focused was a perfect mentor for creating my best work.
2. My Need for Comparison Diminished: The daily content consumed on social media is staggering. We are exposed to endless images, videos, and outside opinions every day. Humans have a natural comparison tendency based on our outward influences. With that, unhappiness rates have surged since social media made its prominent mark in society. Navigating through a previous health issue, Instagram was my muse for provoking subtle tendencies of body comparison. After going without it for 31 days, I can confidently (almost embarrassingly) admit my self-image has improved. I felt so much appreciation for the body’s beautiful uniqueness. In my opinion, it’s humbling to forge inner appreciation found in body authenticity.
3. I Did Not Miss Seeing Other People’s Lives: Surprisingly, being offline didn’t increase my loneliness tendencies. Social media has statistically enhanced our FOMO (fear of missing out) due to intense oversharing, and what others call a “highlighted reel” of our best moments.
Here’s something to remember when FOMO comes into play: Those holding major importance in our lives will personally share their joys with us.
I’ve never found out major news from friends through social media. That said, choose to connect (or limit your following) to those you find important. This way, you’ll only engage with your friends’ lives, not the glitz and glam of strangers.
4. Sharing Isn’t Always Caring: After my personal challenge ended, I didn’t feel the need to frequently check my apps. Logging back into them seemed mundane, superficial, and empty.
Why? I enjoyed my time being present and fully connected with others outside of a digital platform. As a mindfulness practitioner, being “present” is my own gift for inner fulfillment. And luckily, a large part of my presence returned while choosing to go offline for a month.
As of today, I’ve only checked the apps 1-3 times daily and removed notifications from my phone. Mindfully speaking, no amount of “likes” can replace a genuine person to person connection. Period.
How will limiting your social media usage enhance your presence daily?