I did this fantastical thing a couple weeks ago that may sound impossible, because in this day and age it is. I didn’t use my phone for an entire day.
Not only did I not use it, but I didn’t even look at it. I acted like it didn’t exist. Like it was 1995 and I could actually find joy in real things that didn’t beep at me. Can you imagine?!
The real fuel behind my goal was to stay the hell off social media. To go “off the grid.” I really didn’t like how the first thing I did upon waking was scroll through social media and emails. I felt like my brain was constantly in over-drive, always over-stimulated by what everyone else around me was doing. I felt like I had a very real addiction to my phone. That and coffee.
You may be surprised to learn that I haven’t always been into social media. I was one of the last girls in my group of friends to get a Facebook in high school. I never in a million years considered getting a MySpace or Xanga. It all felt strange and pointless, and frankly, self-indulgent. And it still does.
Then before I could barely blink, social media was everything and everywhere. It was an integral part of growing my blog, my brand, and later of growing Alchemy. I always ask customers I’ve never seen before how they heard about Alchemy and more than 90% of the time, they say Instagram.
Now don’t get me wrong—I totally love photography, writing, food, and visual expression overall. BUT, but…in my humble opinion, the networks themselves have become all-consuming. Instead of leaving Instagram feeling inspired like I used to, now I often leave feeling like I have ten more things I should be doing, wearing, thinking, or being.
When I met my boyfriend, he had no social media. Zero. And I freaking loved it. He was the ying to my yang. He eventually got Instagram then later decided to get rid of because it was obnoxious. “It’s another version of ‘keeping up with the Jones,'” he’d say. I couldn’t disagree with him. I feel like I’m as much at fault as I am a victim.
I do like Instagram. I think it can be fun. But I’ve found that my mind is so cluttered because I’m always staring at what other people are doing and thinking and saying for and comparing myself to them. I guess I should buy a house now. I guess I should try that workout. I guess I should get married. I guess I should go to Tulum. Isn’t that what all the cool people are doing?
I guess I should put every minute of my life on a reel for all the world to see because hey, I’m a blogger in the media and that’s what’s expected of me. Making a recipe? Throw it on the gram. Cleaning your brand new marble countertops? Gram ‘dat. Sitting on the toilet talking about your favorite beauty products that eleven brands just gifted you? By all means, enlighten us.
While social media can (and should) be inspiring and motivating, it can also be self-deprecating. I nearly always get on social media with lighthearted intentions and leave feeling inadequate. It doesn’t often make me feel any more happy or confident or grateful.
When I wasn’t on my phone for a day (and that’s not just social media, but also texting, phone calls, and email), my brain felt weirdly and beautifully clear. Like I could think straight. Even if scrolling through Instagram were all rainbows and butterflies, it still leaves me foggy with thoughts. Whether it’s good or bad or something in between, it’s undoubtedly a time suck. It’s time away from real relationships and real life.
In the beginning, it felt weird driving in the passenger seat, laying in bed, and just relaxing without casually having my phone in my hand. I’m so dependent on it. Even if I’m not on social networks, I’m reading work emails that draw my attention elsewhere. It’s odd that such a seemingly trivial act could make me feel so liberated, but it was truly inspiring to me.
I felt like I fell back in love with my mind, my values, my life. I fell back in love with me.
I always feel like it’s impossible to go off the grid because I have to post for my blog and for Alchemy, but it’s not. I can post content without sitting on the networks all day long freakishly monitoring engagement like I find myself doing so much of lately.
Interacting on Instagram may help grow my blog and nurture my internet relationships, but at what cost? It’s made my generation dependent on technology to the point that we literally are lost and panicked without it. It’s made us closer to people online than in real life. It leaves us feeling like we’re never enough and hyper-focusing on everyone else’s highlight reel. It’s scary is what it is.
I encourage you to try taking even a 12 hour hiatus from your phone and just see how it feels. Know that the people that really matter know where you are and how you’re doing without a picture on social media validating it. I deleted Facebook from my phone and moved Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to the last “page” on my phone so I don’t see them when I open it and it has helped me a lot. Out of sight, out of mind.
Start by putting it in your room face down and walking away. For hours. You don’t owe it to anyone to be available at all times. Lately the boyf and I put our phones away after dinner so we can spend time together without distractions.
Treat yourself and take the challenge.
Go fall in love with yourself, your loved ones, and your real experiences again. GO LIVE!