As someone who both works in social media professionally and uses it personally to connect with others, the lines often feel blurred between work and play. I spend my days crafting captions for clients, researching influencers, and engaging with potential consumers. After an 8-hour work day, I then spend my evenings catching up on what my favorite internet folks have been up to, scrolling to make sure I haven’t missed any new memes, and running my own social account to promote my entrepreneurial endeavors. And after approximately six straight years of doing so, it suddenly became clear to me that these apps that I rely so heavily on for work and personal matters have overtaken my entire existence. From the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed, I am either looking at social media or planning social media content. I am not only part of the problem that fuels this social media addiction, but I am a living example of what work life balance should 100% not be.
My feelings of burnout and exhaustion became abundantly clear, and I knew I needed to do something about it, if anything, to simply prove to myself that my life does not amount to how I appear, or how I help others appear, within the confines of an Instagram Feed. I needed to remember who I was and how to enjoy life without social media as a vessel to showcase that enjoyment. So when my husband and I booked a getaway to the mountains for our wedding anniversary, I decided I’d go social media free. I’d turn off all notifications, move my apps to a separate section of my phone, and rather than grab my phone to document the good time we were having, simply be present and live in the moment as it happened before me.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. But something really beautiful happened the moment I moved those apps to a separate space on my phone that wasn’t readily available. I realized how much I grabbed my phone and clicked on an app solely because it was so incredibly instinctual. When I went to grab my phone while detoxing (I still answered calls and texts as needed) it wasn’t as easy to open social apps, because I “hid” them from myself. I smiled thinking that the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” must really have some truth to it.
While detoxing from social media I noticed that:
After the three days were up, I was almost afraid to log back on to social media for fear of getting “sucked back in.” But I think what’s happened is that I’m approaching it now through a new lens. Yes, social media is my job and yes, I use it to connect with people personally, but just like everything in life - moderation is key. It’s funny that we use this phrase to help us find balance in our food diets, yet toss it aside when thinking about our digital diets. In today’s intensely digitally driven world, I’d challenge you to think of them as equally important.
I’m going to hit you with some realness that I learned as well, and that is:
Social media is an important part of the marketing industry and it’s an excellent way to discover new things, amplify voices, and connect with others. However, when we let a platform dictate the majority of how we live our lives, we should look inward and ask ourselves why that is. What is it about you that makes you uncomfortable? Why do you feel the need to display your life in perfectly edited squares? Why do you find yourself reaching for your phone whenever you have a moment to spare?
Your worth is not determined by the number of likes, comments, or engagements you receive. There is so much beauty to be discovered when we let ourselves be present, connect with others organically, and take life in without thinking to ourselves, “This would make a great Instagram photo.”
So tell me, who are you without social media to showcase it?