Today marks 6.5 months of me being social media free!
Back in April, about to embark on my adventure into the Australian outback, I had a choice. Resist the fact I was about to be cut off from the world of wifi and media... or embrace it.
I decided to embrace it and set myself a tapas (a commitment) to cut ties with Facebook and Instagram for 6-months.
And surprisingly, even from the very beginning, it's been way easier than I thought. In fact, I've not missed it at all.
During this period I've still used my email accounts, 1 business and 1 personal and as for other media, well... TV and radio have not really featured in my life for few years now and living in the outback during this time meant no newspapers either.
So my 6-month social media cleanse was actually more of a MASS MEDIA cleanse.
Think about it for a moment. No TV, no Facebook, no Instagram and no newspaper for 6 months.
How do you think life would be for you without all that input and information?
All that news and noise?
Well… as you ponder that, let me share some of my verdict with you:
I have found that life feels simpler and sweeter without social media.
Which is why my 6-month cleanse has turned into 6.5... And why I’m hesitating even now to log into my accounts.
So while I work that one out, let me share with you seven major benefits of living social-media free (in no particular order):
1. Enjoy the moment & life for what it is
You’re watching a gorgeous sunset, or having a great time out with friends and loved ones but rather than soaking up all the beauty and atmosphere, you’re writing out captions for a social media post.
Or you’re on your phone checking in with what’s happening elsewhere.
The grass is always greener right? No!
When you take a step back from social media you no longer need to capture or share the moment and are free to simply be present to what is.
2. Diminish feelings of lack & inadequacy
If you want to stop comparing yourself to others, I highly recommend taking a break from social media. Social media bombards you with news of other people’s lives and it’s the nature of our ego to then compare and judge ourselves against that.
Even though you know intellectually that what you see on social media is highly curated, it takes strength of character not to fall into the trap of feeling dissatisfied and lacking when you are continually benchmarking yourself against everyone else.
I will admit that there were many occasions when my feeling of self worth was dictated by social media; how many likes or comments my post got, which of my friends responded...
Or seeing others out there with 1000 upon 1000s of followers while I was in the early stages of building a business. It can be rather demoralising.
By not being exposed to all the ins-and-outs of other people’s lives, I’ve discovered it’s easy to tread my own path and to feel content in that. Which has brought with it improved self-confidence and peace of mind.
3. Discover more time for the things you love
Do you ever catch yourself saying that you wish you had more time to do the things you love? Can’t find time for regular yoga or meditation practice or for quality time with friends?
Have you ever added up all the time you spend flicking through newsfeeds? At a guess, I’m sure you’ll find that it comes to at least a couple of extra hours a week, if not much more.
By cutting down the time you spend surfing absent-mindedly through irrelevant information, you will have time for things that actually nourish your soul.
Discover more time for creativity, for self-care and for the people that really matter to you. Everybody wins. Since being off social media for 6-months, I’ve read more books than in the last few years combined.
Whether it’s reading or writing or spending time with friends, the choice is yours. But I can guarantee that you’ll feel more uplifted spending those hours that way than scrolling through status updates.
4. Remove a whole lot of complexity & busy-ness from your life (and your mind!)
By taking a step back from social media, it felt like I had removed a layer of complexity. I no longer had to invest time or energy into my social media identities - deciding what to share or how to share it, selecting photos, interacting with other people’s posts.
I was free of all of it!
We lead such busy lives and in spare moments, rather than taking a break…what do we do? We jump on our phones or our laptops and start feeding our mind even MORE things to think about!
I realise now that social media added so much extra noise to my mind. Yes it was nice to know what old friends and distant colleagues are up to, but was it necessary? Was it really serving my highest purpose in life?
The answer is no. No it wasn’t. It was just…extra noise in my head.
5. You’ll have more energy for fostering true connection with real life people
Having left my home city behind four years ago, I believed that social media was a great way to stay in touch. But I realise now that social media can never replace a good old fashion phone call or personalised email.
In fact, it had this way of making me feel MORE distant, because I'd share thoughts & experiences to keep people updated and in response... Crickets. Or not crickets, but nowhere near the same level of warmth or love that came via sharing those experiences personally.
Here’s the thing, social media promises connection but does someone liking your post or commenting on your post really make you feel warm and fuzzy?
Facebook is all about connection and it does do that... but not in a deep or meaningful way.
If you really want to connect, pick up the phone! Call an old friend and see how they are. Or be brave and initiate a catch up with someone new.
It will warm your heart ten fold over any Facebook interaction.
6. Reduce your exposure to emotional triggers
Facebook has this knack for showing you what you don’t want to see, don’t you find!? Even if you've actively managed your page to remove people or pages that show you things you don't enjoy, there's no guarantees of what you might see when you log in.
I remember when a photo of my ex-boyfriends wedding came up in my feed. We weren’t Facebook friends, in fact I’d blocked him! But because I was still friends with one of his friends and that friend got tagged in his wedding photo, it came up in my feed.
Which triggered all sorts of old emotions in me on that day. I remember feeling annoyed and frustrated that my day could be hijacked like that! But to frame things constructively, I saw that it was the Universe showing me that I still had healing to do.
By being off social media, there's a much smaller chance of your emotions and peace of mind being triggered in this way. Out of sight, out of mind after all.
Rather than curse social media making you feel or think things you don't want to feel or think, realise fully that you do have the power to choose whether you participate in these mediums.
And if you choose to participate, just be prepared for what comes your way.
7. nurture your creative expression & Find your own voice
In the past I have used social media as a way to learn and be inspired. And I’ve got to acknowledge that I've discovered some absolute gems over the years - beautiful quotes, great articles, mesmerising videos. I'm so very grateful for all the wonderful information I've got to share in through social media and my online networks.
But it got to a point where looking to others for inspiration actually made me more confused and unsure of myself and what I wanted to share with the world.
Since I've stopped looking outside myself for inspiration, I’ve been able to get in touch with my own heart and creativity. And I've got so much more clarity on what I feel inspired to share and what my big picture goals are. I no longer feel the need to model anyone else.
By blocking out all that social-media noise and everyone else's messages, I’m much more in touch with what the Universe is channeling through my own being and how I want to express that. This quote sums it up:
So in saying that, here’s my formula for you to find your own voice too:
Reduce or eliminate social media and worldly input -->
Discover more spare time -->
Invest your extra time in the direction of creativity and self-expression =
Discover your own voice
So there you have it. The seven major benefits, as I saw it, of living social media free.
Obviously, social media isn't going away anytime soon. And I don't mean to paint it as all negative or destructive. But its influence and impact on our lives and state of being needs questioning.
In my own experience, before this 6-month cleanse, I could feel that my use and consumption of social media wasn't entirely healthy or balanced. It even felt compulsive at times (for instance, I knew that checking updates or looking at a screen before bed would make it hard to go to sleep, but I'd still do it!)
And that's what prompted me to take the action I did. To call time out.
My hope is to inspire you to look into your own relationship with social media and see if you too need to create some space around it.
What do you think? Time for a social media cleanse? PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GET IN TOUCH PERSONALLY & share your thoughts OR LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.
And if you found this helpful, inspiring or know someone with a social media habit that needs reviewing, please share this post with them!
Until next time,