This post has been so long overdue for me because this is a subject I am very passionate about. And I am not a professional so I can’t even advice you but I can share my personal experience. Many people may be able to relate, or not but the question, “do you need a social media detox?” is a very important one you need to ask yourself especially if you have been living online for the past few years. Two years ago I decided to delete my social media apps (not delete account) and focus on life offline for the following reasons:
- My life was falling apart – I was a mess physically, emotionally and spiritually
- Any free time I had I spent sleeping because art school and work took up every minute of my life
- I started to compare myself to the people online because I wish I had their evidently glamorous lives and cultivated an envious spirit
- I stopped enjoying everyday life with my family and friends because I was so caught up trying to document moments
Sounds toxic doesn’t it?
When I speak of social media I mean Instagram mostly, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Majority of us constantly use these. If I am to be completely open and honest, when Instagram became popular, in its prime I used to spend hours online looking at what everyone was posting and thinking of what to post to appeal to my friends and followers and collect likes and following – it wasn’t premeditated or intentional but it is what it was.
THE COMPARISON GAME
I realized I needed to take a detox when every time I was online all I did was compare myself to other people. I wanted their lives, their jobs, their clothes, their hair, their make up and as ashamed as I am to admit to this, I SPENT HOURS GREEN WITH ENVY over online versions of people I didn’t even know.
It led to a breakdown of my self-esteem. I started hating my season. My season of being a graduate with a starter job in a country with a struggling economy.
WHAT I DID WITH MY YEAR OFF?
I spent time with my family mostly. I spent time working on my real life and not an online version of me. I spent quality time building bonds with the people I loved the most. I spent time a lot of time with myself, worked on my identity as an individual and I am still a work in progress but I feel so much better now. I poured my heart into cooking, gardening, cleaning, writing and reading more books.
Before you label me narrow minded and negative about social media, I know that there are many people who use Instagram to share their daily lives with their friends and families, which is great. Many also use it to promote their businesses and personal brands to further their creative careers. And more recently it has been amazing to see inspiring hard working creative business oriented individuals use social media to build up their communities. I am here for that. So many of the women I follow inspire me everyday as they share their day to day work ethic and fun side.
But there is a down side if you are spending many hours daily watching other people live their NOT SO AUTHENTIC lives.
Everything online is often filtered, staged and strategically edited for your entertainment, so you need to take it with a pinch of salt.
If any of what I am describing is sounding familiar and you have no idea whether you need to take some time off for yourself, ask yourself some of these:
- Is social media dictating how I feel about myself (affecting my self – esteem)?
- Am I comparing myself to others and feeling envious because of their content?
- Do I feel pressured to only share the filtered and perfect parts of my life?
CONTENTMENT and SELF-CONFIDENCE are some the qualities you need to cultivate as a woman in the era of social media popularity and pressures.
I’ll be writing a post about how to prepare yourself for a much-needed social detox.
Love & Light to YOU!