My Social Media Detox – Part 1: Noticing
Despite how much deliberate “growth” I’ve experienced over the years, some elements of my life still feel a bit tricky to navigate. You know, I’m talking about things like vulnerability, moderation, trusting the universe, and drinking enough water. It’s interesting that many of the elements ingrained in my daily routine are, in fact, potential gateways for toxicity to make its way into my life.
My exercise regime, for example, is designed to help me feel strong, balanced, and empowered. Yet, I’ve often observed that whatever the regime – initially it will fuel me with energy and strength – then, overtime it’ll become a stress-er. You know, something that I struggle to keep up with because instead of being inspired by it, or drawing nourishment from it, it begins to rule me… and even trigger me.
Noticing Your Patterns That Repeat:
I think this pattern is more common than we realize.
Things that start off as fun, productive, and healthy can end up feeling like something else entirely.
Easier said than done, but the trick to navigating this (very normal) phenomenon is to actively stay present so that you can catch the evolution in the act. You want to be able to acknowledge the parts of your life that no longer feel good for you before you hit the point where they’re sucking the soul out of you.
Recently, I became aware that this pattern was showing up for me in my relationship with social media.
Rather than drawing positivity from scrolling, and seeing, and engaging, and posting, my experience had shape-shifted into something else.
At first, it wasn’t even clear to me exactly what I was feeling. As you know, last month I was going through some personal struggles (read: IVF + hormones + book deadlines + a toddler). I got to the point where I felt like I was constantly facing this pressure to post something, and yet, I also felt like I couldn’t publish videos and photos suggesting that everything was “all right” when it really wasn’t.
Now don’t misunderstand me – I believe in honesty, honouring your feelings, and even vocalizing them when you need to. There’s no shame in that whatsoever. However, I’ve struggled with the pressure as a ‘public figure’ to be truthful and share experiences and insights that (hopefully) inspire others, without presenting myself as someone who is falling apart.
Here’s the thing – it’s easy to talk about your struggles after they’ve passed and you’ve had time to gather your thoughts, insights, and learnings. But to narrate your journey as you’re going through it, particularly in a way that will make sense and be valuable to others, is really challenging because you’re just so deep int it.
And yet, the disconnect between how I really felt and what I was posting about started to eat away at me. I felt inauthentic. I felt kind of like a fraud. I found myself struggling to find meaning in what I was doing (i.e. what’s the point in having an audience and posting regularly if I can’t be honest?) and the idea of engaging with social media began to feel like a really stressful chore.
But I ignored my feelings, doubled down on the whole “this too shall pass” mentality and continued on until…
Embracing My Word of The Year: Trust
It was a Monday morning fresh with possibility and I was about to post a video that I had filmed about gratitude… when… all of a sudden, like a super quiet whisper, it hit me: I need to tell the truth, be vulnerable, and tell everyone that I need a freakin’ break. I need to trust how I’m feeling..
Sure, there was a part of me that was worried about how people would react… that they wouldn’t get it… that they’d think I’m being dramatic (because hello, what can be “hard” about social media)… that they would think that I’m crumbling or failing. But the other part of me didn’t care because there are some fundamental truths that I try to live by:
- First and foremost – I must honour myself. If my gut is telling me that I need something, then I do, it’s just a fact. When I honour my ‘word of the year‘ and trust myself and tune into my intuition, the answers always come.
- Getting into the proverbial ‘driver’s seat’ of my life means that I will face messy, complicated, confusing times. It won’t always be pretty and that is OKAY.
- My mission is to help others live an empowered life and that will always involve me being vulnerable.
What I Noticed that Led Me to a Social Media Detox:
- I felt obligated to keep up with the pace and tone of my peers;
- I felt anxiety if I didn’t participate frequently enough;
- I felt anxiety if I spent too much time scrolling – was I being productive?;
- I felt anxiety if I spent too much time away – would I be forgotten, become irrelevant, miss something important?
- I felt triggered and sometimes inadequate by certain content;
Feelings like these are certainly not productive, in fact, they’re limiting and ultimately detrimental to a person’s health and wellbeing.
Still, it’s common for us to feel them. And I was faced with a particular challenge: my core business is intertwined with my social media. Could I even afford to spend time away? What would the fall out be?
It didn’t matter. It’s what I needed.
Here’s the way I see it – between all the curated Instagram shots, there is stress, and effort, and IVF treatments that don’t work, and fatigue, and screaming toddlers, and relationship challenges, and more. I live that life, and so does my community, and frankly I’m doing a disservice if I’m not honest about what I’m going through.
And so, I decided to ask for some space and take some much-needed time away from social media to reassess and recharge and regroup.
ICYMI, you can check out my rather raw-and-real video here:
My Decision to go Social Media Free, Cold Turkey:
I spent two weeks off social media – one of which, I spent away with my family at one of my daughter’s favourite “happy places” – Great Wolf Lodge. Lol, it’s not as bad as it sounds… trust me. My husband and I enjoyed a surprisingly good time too ordering room service and catching up on Netflix shows from the comfort of a resort bed. 🙂
Stay tuned for Part 2 of What I Learned From my Social Media Detox – where I’ll share more about the time away, and opening myself up to exploring what I needed.