Have you ever gotten addicted to checking your social media accounts all day long and had that major FOMO (fear of missing out) if you’re not in the know about something that gets posted? That’s me. I can’t help it, I feel like I need to keep up with the latest in social media, for my regular career and for my blogger life as well. My social sites have become personal 24/7 tabloids, always at the ready to absorb my attention with food photographs, pictures of babies, funny cat videos, and the endless sh*t show of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This is how society now gets their news and current events. Addiction to social media is something serious.
But yesterday, I decided I needed a break. A 24-hour break, but nonetheless, a break. I realized that much of what is annoying about social media concerns my habits, not the tools themselves. Just like with any other addictive substance — wine, perhaps, or junk food — I need to start setting limits of how much I let it control #myeverydaylifestyle.
My friends and I were running yesterday and we talked about the good ole days of having no access to cell phones and going out and actually enjoying playing in the park with the endless imagination we had as kids. Nowadays, even kids are attached to their cell phones. We’re constantly are on them, checking what’s new or to see if someone has liked our post and pictures.
My verdict: My 24 hours’ social media diet allowed me to catalogue my own bad habits — to observe the behavior I hoped to changed. Most notably, I’ve leaned on social media to remove myself from offline social situations I find uncomfortable. When I’m at a social gathering where I don’t know anyone, I find myself reaching for my phone as a way to hide or do something “more important.” And I also turn to social media whenever I want to avoid really thinking about something. A great example: For the last hour, instead of actually writing this blog post, I’ve been checking Instagram and Facebook compulsively for updates. I use it to zone out — the same way I might have flipped through bad cable channels. I couldn’t have picked a better day to stay off my social media too – round 2 of the reality show, Trump vs. Clinton. It was hard at first not to check my Instagram or Facebook, but after a couple of hours I felt like I gained back some “me” time to actually focus on my own checklist of things I need to do. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to do, but it was kind of refreshing. I will try to take out more time to detox from social media from time to time. But I’m proud to say I broke up with social media for a day and it didn’t make me sad.