Social Media Detox: Lessons Learned

Sometimes you have to step away in order to view something more clearly.

I’ve been navigating through another transformational period. When it began, my direction was unclear, but the gravitational pull was there… the need for growth, change, and expansion.

For me, personal growth is very much like tending a garden:

  • It starts small, and requires lots of patience. It doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Next you prep your space by removing obstacles like rocks, weeds, and other things that might get in the way of new roots, and then enriching the soil to make it a safe, nourishing place for seeds to grow.
  • Consider the natural gifts you’re working with (climate, soil type, etc.) when selecting seeds to plant.
  • Once the seeds have been planted, there’s more of that patience stuff.
  • Tending the garden requires attention. You must mind your garden diligently and carefully with love, while making sure not to overwater it.

At the beginning of April I decided to step away from social media to get some weeding done give myself room for growth.

FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:

Leaving social media isn’t that hard. I put up a post letting everyone know my intention (so they didn’t think I was dead), and deleted all the apps from my phone.

The first afternoon, I felt naked. I’d reach for my phone out of habit to scroll through Instagram or Facebook. I realized very quickly how ingrained social media platforms had become in my day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute life. It was pretty humbling to be so dependent on something. By that evening, I felt liberated. 

After a week or so… I noticed I was spending more time doing stuff I like.

I got back to my roots. I reconnected with things that move me, bring me joy, and have shaped me as a person. Art, literature, classical dance and music – there’s so much beauty in this world! I pulled out albums and arias and picked up projects that have been ignored for weeks, months, and years. I spent spent countless hours researching, organizing, and writing about subjects that interest me. Not for work, but because it’s fun and I like it.

Once I made my own interests a priority, I learned…

I create my best work without external influence. I’m more productive, more inspired, and more creative when I turn inwards. I’m not worrying about photos, likes, and comments. I’m not comparing myself to others, looking for external validation, or questioning myself. I feel free. Safe. Grounded. And I’m really proud of the work I’m generating because I know it’s all authentically me.

And…

By reducing noise, I’m more mindful. This manifests in small ways like observing that an occasional magenta bloom will pop up on the light pink rose bush next door, and that a tailless squirrel lives on our block.

I listen more closely to my body, and have discovered that I’m more energized when I take breaks instead of pushing through, and I now go to bed when I’m tired instead of trying to finish up “a few things.”

When people talk, I listen. Like, listen. I take the time to process what is being said instead of thinking about how to respond or what to say next.

Which brings us to…

Closing the space through deeper connections. Social media gives us the luxury of keeping up with friends, family, and students at our own convenience from afar. To find out what’s going on in people’s lives, I can’t cheat. I reach out via text, email, phone calls, FaceTime dates, and spend quality time with students before and after class. I feel connected in a more meaningful way.

And it turns out…

Quality > Quantity. I was concerned that my class numbers might decrease and that my already limited social life might evaporate completely along with my social media usage. As it turns out, a lot of the people are willing to meet me halfway. Friends call, check in, and still want to hang out. Yogis who enjoy my class are willing to make an effort to check the studio’s website or text me about my schedule.

Spending time and working with smaller groups of people who truly want to be there is far more fulfilling than 100 semi-friends and packed classes, and worth more than all the follows, likes, and comments on the internet.

Overall, this has been a wonderful experience. But it’s all about finding…

Balance. I’m nearing the end of my social media detox, and a little wary about returning. I’m looking forward to seeing the thoughts and ideas of others, but I don’t want to relive the pressure to create posts that will appeal to others. I want to protect the purity and integrity of my own.

I’m not exactly sure how I’ll transition back into the realm of social media, or how I’ll cultivate and maintain balance, but I’m grateful for the space and movement I’ve experienced in my time away.

And I think it will be another exercise for learning growth.

Cheers to perpetual movement, and beginning another leg of the journey.

See you guys Monday! xx

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