Digital Detox // 5 Things I Learned from Stepping away from Social Media for a Week

August 28, 2018

I am so excited to be partnering on this sponsored post with Workman Publishing on another special release by Flow Magazine. Flow is a magazine that takes its time, celebrating creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures.  In a time when other print media is focusing their energies on their digital properties, Flow Magazine is finding success by fully embracing the physical qualities of paper.

Creativity Takes Courage is the newest book released by the co-founders and creative directors of Flow Magazine, Irene Smit and Astrid Van der Hults.  It is available now, and only $21.95!

It is a practical and hands-on guide to stretch your creative muscles and dare to focus on the pleasure of the process!  The book is organized around a series of twelve “dares” that are intended to break you out of your usual habits and approach to creating by giving you a fresh perspective and leave your comfort zone.  A few of the “dares” in the book are: dare to be quiet, dare to be mindful, dare to try something new, dare to be alone, and one that particularly stood out to me was number 9, dare to go offline.

Do you remember what life was like before social media?  Well, I guess some of you don’t, but for the rest of us oldies, I sure do.  When we were waiting in line at the grocery store, our only choice was to wait.  When our friend stepped away from the restaurant table, our only choice was to just sit and ponder for a minute, maybe even a little people watching.  When you showed up early in the carpool pick up line, you just hung out in your car maybe listening to some music.  But now, each and every one of those scenarios are ones where I find myself reaching for my phone, mainly to catch up on some social media, scrolling, watching, escaping for a few minutes or even hours here and there.

It can be hard as a blogger/influencer to step away from my phone and digital devices, especially social media, because it is my job. But, there is always that intention of getting things done for work that gets me sucked in for hours on end if we are being honest.  With my kids being out of school this summer, I knew that I wanted to be more present and step away from my social media use to enjoy spending time with them.  It was the perfect time to go on a digital detox, or a social media cleanse if you will.  So I decided to dare to do differently and take on number 9 in Creativity Takes Courage, Dare to Go Offline.

5 Things I Learned from Stepping away from Social Media for a Week:

  • The First Step is Admitting you are Addicted:  The first thing I learned on my week, (well, actually I went a little over 8 days) without logging in or looking at any kind of social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, you name it) was that I was clearly addicted!  Ok, so I knew that I was addicted to social media, but I didn’t realize the level of addiction.  I deleted my social media apps on my phone, and what did my fingers do automatically without me thinking every single time I opened my phone?  It hovered to the exact spot where my Instagram app was.  I found myself about to hit the Instagram app to share a moment, or something on my Instagram stories for my followers.  It took me a few days to break this habit that I didn’t even fully realize I had!
  • Allowed myself to be more Present:  I know, being present is such a buzz word these days.  I’ll admit I also roll my eyes at all the be more present talk out there.  But, it’s true.  Taking a social media cleanse really did help me to be and feel more present in the moment.  While driving in the car with my family with my husband driving, I can’t tell you how many times I zoned out looking at my social media during the drive.  My kids would say things to me, and I wouldn’t even hear them.  I was missing out on what was going on right inside our car.  By not being on social media, I found myself being much more present with my family, looking up instead of down, and feeling more in tune with my surroundings.
  • Productivity-I was able to get so much done!:  Being off social media made me SO productive!  I finally got around to things on my to-do list that have been sitting there for months! All the time I was spending on social media really sucked a lot of my time!  In all fairness, again a lot of my work revolves around social media, so there is only so much avoiding it I can do.  But, this cleanse was such a nice reset to help me break some not so good digital habits I had created for myself.  I was able to pick myself up from staring at my screen and be productive in things I had been pushing aside for much too long!
  • Felt such relief of unnecessary pressures:  With someone who works in social media as an influencer, there is constant pressure to share and share some more.  With the new algorithms, Instagram actually punishes you for not being active on their app!  That means the more you are on and engaging with your followers and others, your content can actually be seen more depending on how active you are.  This leaves a bit of pressure to post X amount of times a day, or share on Instagram stories.  It can be a lot!  While I try not to worry too much about all that, it is also my job to be aware and put my best foot forward.  But, being on a social media fast was so refreshing to not feel the pressures of feeling like I have to post!  It helped me to rethink why I am posting and what I want out of my presence on social media.  And, to be honest at the end of the day, it is for ME, regardless of my job in social media, I love to be a part of this amazing community and share my message with the hopes of inspiring and connecting with others.
  • I was able to find balance:  This is always a work in progress and my balance tends to shift especially when my work load is high or not, but I was really able to look into balance when it comes to my digital life.  How long was I spending on my phone, what could I do differently?  Some really important questions.  What is a good time to be on social media?  How long should I be on it before I should shut it down?  I think having an idea in mind and a plan really helps moving forward. Because as nice at it was, a total social media shut down is just not an option for me when it comes to work.  When it comes down to it, even with the negative, I love social media and the community it has created for me!  So many of my very best friends have come from connecting on social media!  And, I have loved the amount of good that is out there because of social media.

All in all, I am SO glad that I decided to take the prompt of going offline taking a social media cleanse.  I absolutely felt so much more productive, present, free, and aware of my addictions to social media during this time.  In fact, as I mentioned above, after the full seven days I wasn’t quite ready to come back.  After eight full days, I still was nervous to download the app back onto my phone.  I looked at it a little bit on my iPad, but I definitely was loving the freedom of not being tethered to my social media and work too.  It is always nice to take a break to refresh and re-evaluate!  So, do you think you could take a total social media cleanse?  How long do you think you would last?

Be sure to check out Creativity Takes Courage! It is now available online and in stores!  I hope you dare to think differently and take a moment to unleash your creativity but stepping out of your comfort zone and moving toward a better you!

Be sure to check it out, and shop the post below!



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