It was not the first time I had taken a social media break and it won’t be the last. But after taking a much needed social media break this past weekend, I definitely learned a lot about myself and the bad habits I have created in the past few years.
It wasn’t even something I had planned ahead of time. However, when on Saturday by 8:30am, I had already rolled my eyes several times and was actually frustrated on what I had seen on Instagram and Facebook, I knew right there and then I needed to unplug.
And I knew that “saying” I was going to take a break wasn’t good enough. I needed to actually delete the apps from my phone. Having them on there would make it way to easy to just have a peak.
So there I was, no apps on my phone to distract me and promise to myself there would be no social media over the weekend. And here a few things that I learned about myself.
- 1. Reaching for my phone is a TERRIBLE habit that I have formed. Even after deleting the apps from my phone, I must have reached for it 10x to “check” for something that wasn’t there and without any sort of thought put in to it. It was just a bad habit. Luckily by the end of the weekend, I was only reaching for it if I heard it ding that a text message had come in.
- 2. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real. For the first little bit, I worried yes, literally was worried I was missing something. But the whole reason I was taking the social media break was because it wasn’t a happy place for me anymore, it was becoming a place of frustration. So why did I worry so much about what was going on? But by the end of the weekend, I totally understood what JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) meant. Everything would still be there when I got back. I didn’t need to see everything as it was posted. And nobody was going to miss my postings.
- 3. I waste a LOT of time just scrolling. After deleting the apps, I proceeded to make a “To Do” list of things that I wanted to do that weekend with my son and in general. And even though we didn’t accomplish everything on our list, we had a lot of fun crossing the things off that we did get done.
- 4. I am a much more focused and attentive parent without the apps on my phone. This is obviously a given. In addition to myself being on the break, my son was also made to be on a break as well. I did allow him some video game time with his friends but limited and that was it. Instead of playing games on his phone or on the TV, we enjoyed a ton of time outside enjoying the almost summer like weather, we played Lego together and he made a few art projects. And best of all, we had full on attentive conversations. We talked about where we wanted to go this summer, people we wanted to see and things we wanted to do together.
I know that none of these items are earth shattering revelations, but for me it was a real eye opener and some that actually brought me to tears. I felt like I was not only failing my son in certain respects but also myself. My son and I have made a pact that during the summer weekends that he is with me, we will take a social media breather. I will delete the apps from my phone and he will turn off his phone completely. During the week, he can watch YouTube and play his games – within reason. We want to be present to each other and really enjoy all that the summer has to offer us.
But what I have also come to realize is that I really need to focus on the causes within social media that are frustrating me to a point that I want to unplug. I need to look at what and who causes the frustration and clean up my account so that I am not subjecting myself to these feelings. Someone once told me about how they had cleaned up all the “noise” on their accounts and it made things so much better for them. I need to do a complete Marie Kondo and get rid of those that do not bring me joy.