Separating myself from social media was something I’ve never done before. Honestly, the thought never even crossed my mind. It didn’t occur to me that I had a problem. That I was addicted to social media. Addicted to my phone.
I realized something needed to change when each week my screen time report went up, and each week I didn’t accomplish all that I had wanted to. I spent an absurd amount of time on my phone. Like an embarrassing amount of time, but I’m here to speak my truth, even the embarrassing parts of my truth. I averaged around eight hours per day on my phone, sometimes more, sometimes less. Oh goodness that was hard to type. Eight freaking hours? For what? Mindless scrolling? Staying in the loop? The loop of the world? The loop of people I went to highschool with and haven’t spoken to in six years? False connections and stimulation through basically strangers on the internet? I needed this digital detox more than I had anticipated. I needed to disconnect.
I originally got the idea of doing a digital detox from one of my favorite podcasts: Find the Magic. Check out the episode here.
I knew that if I was going to do a digital detox, I wanted to make the experience as beneficial as possible. Even if that meant taking it to an extreme. Meaning, deleting ALL apps unimportant to everyday life. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. Afterwards, I basically had my email, bank, and camera app left on my phone.
At first, it seemed impossible. On day one, I could not tell you how many times I picked up my phone, opened it, realized there was nothing on it, and set it back down. Probably thirty times. It was such a strange feeling. I haven’t gone a day without some form of social media since, like, middle school. What did I even do before social media? Why did I allow myself to become so dependent on it?
As time passed, crazily enough, I forgot about my phone. About a week into my detox, I even left the house without it. That has never happened. Ever. Deleting all of my apps on that day was such a liberating feeling. For the first time I truly felt disconnected from the ridiculous control that my phone had on me. I was fully present and engaging with the humans in front of me, instead of half listening while mindlessly scrolling at the same time. I suddenly had free time. In the first thirty days of my detox, I read TEN books. Ten whole books. I spent even more time loving on my boys. I painted the cupboards. I did yoga. I did all the things.
Once my thirty days were up, I didn’t want my digital detox to be over. I was truly enjoying it. I had no desire to return to social media. I decided to extend it, making my digital detox a full three months.
I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my time away. While my digital detox was liberating, and necessary, I was completely disconnected from the outside world. As a stay at home mom, my world revolves around one boy. I wouldn’t change that, but I do feel as if being so off the grid heightened my social anxiety. I can’t say for certain that was the main cause of it, we’ve had a lot going on, but I do think it played a part.
With my ninety day digital detox coming to an end, I look forward to returning to my blog. I have missed this little space in the world wide web that I have created. I plan to use my return to social media with intention. It’s easy to get swept up in the mom blogging world. Do you post everyday? Do you post three times a week? Do you post something grand? Do you post something different? Do you post what you think other people want to see or read? The possibilities are endless. I created this space with a vision. A vision to connect mothers through my good times, bad times, hardships, vulnerability, all the things. To stay true to that, I must stay true to myself. Meaning, I will continue to walk to the beat of my own drum, as I always have. I will post if I want to, or don’t if I don’t. I will write about what I want to write about. I won’t please everyone all the time, and that’s okay.
Overall, my digital detox was eye-opening, and enjoyable. I will not allow myself to create negative habits regarding my phone usage again. I now have the self awareness that I need in order to not let it become a problem. There are benefits to social media. I can acknowledge that, but I want to reap those benefits without it having a major effect on my life.