11 Days into My Social Media Detox
My name is Kattie and I’m a social media addict. That’s my chief realization after deciding to take a social media hiatus for the month of August.
Addictive behaviours take you away from pain and give you a superficial dose of dopamine to make you feel better. Some people drink, some people gamble, others scroll mindlessly in Facebook and Instagram.
Why I Chose to Do a Digital Detox
After some reading about the rise of anxiety being correlated to the ubiquitous use of smartphones, how these apps are designed to steal our attention away from what matters, and the damage we’re doing to children’s attention spans, I knew I needed a way to manage or break my own addiction.
I would pick up my phone (which was usually right beside me) whenever I encountered a challenging problem or difficult piece of work that I needed to tackle. I’d instinctively check my email and social media notifications whenever I was waiting in line or at a doctor’s office. I’d get to noon and wonder, what the hell happened to my morning?
While I value the connections I’ve made online, I value a productive day’s work and intellectual stimulation more than knowing hour-by-hour how many likes my post got. We are social animals, and the apps are preying on our instincts for belonging.
My Rules for a Life of Digital Minimalism
I’m not ok with being played anymore, and so I’ve formulated a plan for the least possible use of apps on my phone.
Email access on my phone is unavailable from 6pm to 9am the next morning.
Facebook is being deleted permanently.
Instagram posts will occur two times per week (Monday and Friday), but I won’t post stories.
I’ll release weekly podcasts as the most honest and human form of reaching out and sharing.
What I’ve Learned So Far
It’s only been 11 days without accessing social media like a fiend, but I’ve had some profound learnings already:
I can hear my own intuition more clearly
I have found the time to read four books, clean the entire house, and start my own major writing project
My attention span has come back
I know what’s important to me (honesty, family, integrity, intellectual stimulation and true holistic health)
My anxiety has subsided
Sometimes I wonder if this is too extreme and whether I’m being a tech luddite, but I constantly think back to when I was a happy, productive, independent student before social media and iPhones. I loved to read, workout, cook, learn and laugh.
I also can’t help but keep repeating what Alyssa told me on a podcast episode when it comes to tech and kids, which was,
“We’re going to look back on this generation and say: we really dropped the ball here.”
I’m taking a proactive approach, so that I feel better knowing that I’m using tech and that tech isn’t using me.