In a world where technology is constantly advancing and replacing genuine human contact, it is good to take a step back to reconnect with yourself and others. In order to do this, I participated in a 30-day social media cleanse. I use Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat on a daily basis. If I’m being honest I’m pretty glued to my phone. I hate it, but I can’t seem to put it down.
I have talked to my husband about this before. I believe that society as a whole, ourselves included, are so addicted to our phones that we are missing out on so much that is going on around us. We've talked about the negative effects of the smartphone and its growing capabilities. It feels like we are gradually paying less and less attention to the people around us because our faces are glued to our phones. I wanted to step away from this way of living and become more present in my life. It was time to start the cleanse.
The easiest way for me to start this cleanse was to delete the apps from my phone. I don’t use a desktop or a laptop, and I never use the web browser on my phone to access social media so this was the best and most effective way to rid my phone of social media content.
As the cleanse started, I was so bored. I am so used to mindlessly scrolling down news feeds all day long, so when I didn’t have that option, I didn’t really know what to do with myself.
I downloaded a couple of apps to help pass the time, and yes, I realize this is a step backward from my goal of spending less time on my phone, but it was part of my process! I downloaded a coloring app and a word search app. These were okay for a short while but they didn’t quite fill the day the way social media had before. I had a ton of free time on my hands but no drive to do anything with it. I missed being lazy and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.
Not only was I bored, but I experienced some serious FOMO. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s Fear Of Missing Out. I was so afraid I’d miss out on what was going on in everyone else’s lives. I was afraid I’d miss out on chances to win social media contests, or opportunities to buy things from my online buy/sell/trade groups. It was hard, wondering what was being posted while I was offline.
The cleanse went on, and I stopped worrying so much about what I was missing out on. I remembered that people generally only post the best parts of their lives, so I didn’t really know what was going on with them, to begin with. I only saw what they wanted me to see. I realized I should stop being so concerned with other people’s lives and focus on mine a little more.
I also became more productive with my time. The house was clean, the laundry was done, the meals were cooked. It felt good to get so much done with my days and being so productive caused me to feel better about myself as well! Not only had I become more productive, but I had become more present as well. I was spending so much time with my little one. We played, laughed, talked, went on walks, and so much more. Absolutely nothing beat the quality time I was getting with him!
I actually spent so little time on my phone, that I was constantly missing phone calls and texts because I usually leave the ringer off. So, the ringer got turned on and the volume got turned up, just in case!
I’d say the most frustrating part of this whole situation was that I was doing the cleanse alone. It had become so normal for me to not be on my phone, but that wasn’t everyone else’s normal. So when I was sitting there craving conversation and I wasn’t getting so much as some eye contact, it was extremely frustrating. The next time I do this I’m going to encourage a few of my close friends to join me. That way we could all experience the benefits of the cleanse together and selfishly, I wouldn’t have to experience the frustration I did this time around.
I think next time I’m going to do a complete smartphone cleanse in which I only use my phone for text messaging and phone calls. I can only imagine the way this will impact my life and I’m excited to try this soon!
I’d encourage everyone to try out a tech cleanse of some sort. Even if only for a week rather than 30 days, it’s sure to have an impact on your life! Best of luck!
- Amanda May