Do you ever forget yourself? Feel burnt out and drained? Cannot kick your irritable mood? Feel separate and isolated, envious too often? Of course there could be various reasons for the type of despair your feeling, but did you ever consider that you may need a social-media/digital detox?
Our lives are inundated with social media. Many of us begin our day, before we even venture out of bed, by reaching for our I-Phone and scrolling mindlessly through our social media venue of choice, re-visiting it frequently throughout the day, only to fall into bed at night with one final mindless scroll at the end of the day. And mostly this is purely habitual. I’m not sure any of us would claim that this is enriching our lives enough for the amount of time we do it. It might even be detrimental to our mood. But we find ourselves compelled to scroll!
I urge you to think about what this looks like for our mental health each day. Constantly reading posts and opinions from others, watching inane videos creates this mental noise that pollutes our own clarity. That grounded or centered feeling that brings us steadiness in our life and a sense of purpose is lost. We find ourselves posting certain things that demand attention from our virtual audience, when what we really want is connection. We can get a quick response from likes and comments following our posts that gives us an immediate sense of validation which ends up leaving us empty in the long run. Whereas, engaging with another human being, by say, scheduling a lunch date with a friend and spending an afternoon sharing laughter and memories may take the time of planning, driving and meeting, but it is so much more fulfilling, isn’t it?
Has scrolling become a mindless habit of yours? Try setting limits. I am not condemning having social media accounts altogether. They can help you catch up with friends and family you aren’t usually able to see. Some content can be uplifting and inspiring. However, for those of us with a habit that can end with us scrolling for an hour or more consistently, and even get into that rabbit hole of negative comments after posts, it could certainly help to allow yourself specific time limits.
In addition to purposely limiting your time on social media scrolling, you may want to add-in some healthier habits to help you ground yourself and center after all of that opinionated and sometimes toxic noise. One practice you could try is meditation. Here are a couple of simple suggestions for that:
Square Breathing Technique – Sit in a comfortable position. Breathe in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, breathe out 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds. Repeat this sequence for at least 10 minutes, just focusing on your breath and the rhythm. If thoughts float in, allow them, then allow them to float right out. Try for at least 10 minutes.
Focus On White Noise or Boring Noise – Meditate by focusing on a steady, boring noise that help you drift into a meditative state. If thoughts come, allow and release. Try to stay in a meditative state for at least 10 minutes.
Use a Meditation App such as Headspace or Calm.
You could also journal whatever comes to your mind. You could look up journal prompts to write by. Through journaling, you may become more in tune with your own thoughts and your truth after spending so much time focusing on the whims and opinions of others. A lot of what is on Social Media is toxic. It’s junk food for the brain. You often feel as lethargic and unhealthy after a scroll binge as you would eating an entire bag of chips or candy, often more times so.
In conclusion, the 2 important parts to a digital detox are 1) Set limits. 2) Re-center through meditation and/or journaling. I can also attest that through a complete fasting of social media for a week or a month can feel so freeing. I’ve done it before. I remember becoming more aware of my body. I could hear myself think. I was aware of all of my senses. I came home to myself.
That’s the idea of digital detox. Getting back to you, to your life, your world, your purpose, your soul, your essence. Feeling grounded and vital in your very own beautiful life. Sometimes, it may feel so good you may take even longer to return to the virtual world. Some have been known to enjoy the sweetness and realness of life so much after digital detox, they never return to it. Then you also have that precious few who never entered that world. They simply know, instinctively, that their lives are richer without it.