The Social Media Detox: A Liberation Story

no-facebookFor the weekend, I decided to partake in a social media detox.

The mission?  Three full days of staying off all social media as a way to honour my family and my time with them.

No facebook.

No twitter.

No instagram.

I set an email auto-responder, turned off all notification settings on my iPhone and didn’t open any social media programs on my laptop.  I posted my last words on Friday night and then put all my focus on those that I love and those that love me.

If you’re connected with my online world, you know that I’m quite active on social media for both entrepreneurial and personal purposes.   It’s been a large component in the growth of my workshops, retreats and coaching.

As wonderful as social media may be for business and creating inspiration, it can also be a massive source of distraction and noise.  It’s also a very convenient avoidance tool that engages us in an endless game of procrastination – and it was engaging me with a vengeance.

The intention with my detox experiment was to remove myself from the game for a few days in order to step back, reconnect and refocus.

I’ll admit it that Day 1 was somewhat challenging for me.  I didn’t realize how attached I was to a hunk of aluminum and glass adored with a partially eaten apple (aka: iPhone).

By Saturday night, I started to feel a shift.

By Monday night I felt liberated.

Free. 

Rehabilitated.

My social media/email detox was a necessary breath of fresh air that resulted in many meaningful and thought shifting lessons.

Here are just a few:

  • I noticed how often I felt the urge to pull out the iPhone and take a picture something.  A meal, a sunset, an experience, my family.  When I felt this urge, it forced me to STOP and truly “BE” in the experience.  To absorb every moment in a beautifully selfish way.
  • I wrote.  I was uber productive, more creative and in the flow. Not seeing that little red notification flag waving at me allowed for focused and distraction-free writing.  Multi-tasking is definitely a myth, I’m fully aware of this now.
  • I fell asleep faster and slept better.  No more doing the iPhone finger scroll while lying in bed (you know what I’m talking about).  Is it really necessary to see what the facebook world is up to before I fall asleep?
  • I experienced a new level of simplicity.  With a lot less chatter in my head I seemed to move slower.  Walk slower.  Breathe slower. I noticed a whole lot more around me as I didn’t feel compelled to turn everything into a sound bite to later post for the world to read.
  • I became more inquisitive.  This experiment made me question how quickly our world is moving.  I talked to my mother about it, asking her thoughts on how the world has changed since I was a child. It was an emotional conversation that brought me to tears as I reminisced about the pre-text days where I would ride my bike to a friend’s house to see if they were home (“She’s not home? Okay, I’ll just come back later”.)

I could go on here but I think this is a good glimpse into some of my observances.

Will I go back to posting on social media?  Of course!  Having the ability to inspire others around the globe online is one of the great gifts social media has brought into my life.

There’s nothing quite like making a difference in someone’s day simply by posted a short quote that landed in their lap exactly when they needed it.

I will however, continue to partake in a regular social media detox in order to bring me back into balance.

*******

The Yoga Code™ Principles used in this post:

ASTEYA:  Non-Stealing

By going offline for the weekend, I didn’t steal the opportunity from my parents to experience a daughter that was present.  And I didn’t steal my opportunity to experience life in real time.

APARIGRAHA: Non-Attachment

Putting the iPhone on a shelf and detaching from it taught me how attached I actually was to it.

SAUCHA: Purity & Simplicity

Being present in each moment naturally brings a sense of simplicity to the mind.  The less thoughts we have, the more pure our words and actions.

TAPAS:  Determination & Self-Discipline

There were a few times I was tempted to “peek in” to the online world, however refrained.

SVADHYAYA:  Self-Inquiry

By not focusing on what everyone else was doing online, I was able to enter into a deeper state of self-awareness, learning more about myself in the process.

Do you regularly take breaks from social media?  Tell me about them.

If not, will you start?

I invite you to share your thoughts below. 

10 Responses to The Social Media Detox: A Liberation Story

  1. Lana Wright says:

    This is GREAT, Jackie. You were surely missed on SM, but I think your commitment to being present with your loved ones far outweighed the impact of that. Thank you for tying in the yoga code principles to your post! I found that incredibly helpful in understanding them better/seeing them at work through you.

  2. gregandjan@telus.net says:

    Every weekend i refrain from facebook, but not email…. In the month of June I will deactivate facebook and primarily focus on my family and people who need me! :) I want to be “present” in life!My children will fast also from facebook! :) they dont know it yet tho! Namaste’ Live and love life, outside the box no excuses

  3. Jackie the tie-in to the Yoga Code principles really brings them home – powerful stuff!

  4. Kathy says:

    Good for you! Glad you got what you wanted and needed this weekend my friend!

  5. I deactivated from FB for the past month and have experienced much the same – a simple more balanced life where I feel more in tune with myself and those around me. It also made me stop the dreadful comparisons with what everyone is doing and accomplishing and brought my attention back to the present – made me more grateful for what I have and where I am right now! I am a much happier person unplugged!!

  6. Awesome! I tried to do this over the weekend, but to much less of a degree. Just for one day, and I still played on my phone using a couple of apps. I had to stop myself from checking Twitter and Facebook a couple of times (it’s almost as if it is a reflex as opposed to an actual desire to look for info, sometimes!) but actually enjoyed NOT checking.

  7. Joce Yeoman says:

    Absolutely! Your post highlights the contrasting lives we all lead. I too love connecting through social media but have only recently begun to check the online world during the weekend. It is distracting. It is also productive. Instead of relaxing watching a movie I start surfing, following interesting posts, reading blogs and gathering more material for my own future enterprise.

    It’s nice to turn off though and I’ll be making a point of not logging on during weekends again most of the time. There’s too much more to enjoy in my own little world! PS – most of my friends know that if they want to reach me during the weekend, don’t bother texting. My cell phone sits in my office and I only answer it when I happen to feel the urge. Try that one! :)

  8. Caroline says:

    Inspiring especially with the Yoga Code principles, I will try and use these in my daily endaeavors and really need to do a social media detox.. ooooeeee

  9. marianne elliott says:

    I am SO OVER social media.
    It robs me of time, energy, connection and being real.
    I always fall into it though feeling like I’m missing out on something, when today… looking around the streets instead of having my head buried in my phone, I realized this..
    Being stuck online is missing out. Being on Socail Media is missing out.

    So I am travelling and backpacking for the next 2 and a half months and I decided… NO PHONE, no updating, no INSTAGRAM. my life is not my social media.. my life is out where I am.

    No need to brag, no need to update. (Although I will let my family know I’m ok from time to time). Just out simply being free, and being real.

  10. Nyk says:

    I am currently on a 2 month facebook Detox as we speak (just Facebook since that’s the time waster for me) I have been feeling disenchanted with facebook for a while and I have considered leaving it many times. So we will see what aha’s & insights I have at the end of the two months….there maybe some change in the winds 😉

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