Digital Detox - My 7 Days Without Social Media

Let’s make no bones about it, it’s very hard. I’d say, it’s just as hard as stopping smoking or drinking. I’m fully aware that those very words might make the cynics scoff and throw the accusation as bullshit my way. My response is simple - try it! 

I’ve been attempting it for what seems like forever to be completely honest. There has always been a reason why I “had” to take a quick glimpse and no sooner had I done it, I’d be back to my normal daily habit and seeking my quota of serotonin hits. 

Cause for concern....just a bit!! 

There were a few things that triggered my determination to give up social media for a full seven days. 

I was getting concerned with my concentration levels. Even more concerned with the time spent on my phone altogether. I was sick to death of sitting down of an evening with the intention of watching TV, only to spend my time flicking through my bloody phone. 

My actions were that of an addict. 

I was driving myself mad with my lack of willpower. My phone become a controlling device, with the ability to override all of my common sense. The trusted iPhone - yes, I sit on that side of the fence! Supposedly made to enhance our lives, objectively making everyday tasks somewhat easier and more efficient. 

But, the reality is somewhat different. Our phones have turned into the heartbeat of all human connectivity. Time-consuming, multifunctional, devices that are not only wrecking our productivity and performance, but also hampering our ability to engage with our fellow human counterparts. 

Digital Detox

Let me start by saying it was amazing. 

Much like the serenity a relaxing massage or meditation offers. Having a week off of social media felt like a relaxing holiday. The freedom a digital detox offered was priceless. I can’t stress that enough. 

  • Twitter survived without me.

  • Instagram was still there when I thumbed my entrance.

  • Facebook still had the same old faces.

But it felt different, very different!

No longer do I look at Twitter or Instagram as platforms that control my attention. I became noticeably happier and more present after just a few days. That in itself feels very freeing. I wasn’t a slave to their likes, shares, or addictive algorithms. It might sound a bit dramatic, but I really felt empowered. I had at last taken a significant amount of time away from something I knew, for a fact was having a negative impact on my life. 

Have you successfully had time away from social media? 

Noticeable observations

Social media isn’t the problem, it’s only part of the problem. At times, mostly in the first few days, I found myself flicking through emails, calendars, and Evernote more often than usual. Waiting in line, standing on a train, or just about any other time I found myself with nothing in particular to do, my normal reaction is to reach for my phone.

Overall, though, I spent significantly less time on my phone

I found I was able to relax and wind down more in the evenings. I felt more present and aware of my surroundings. More aware of my actions. Plus, it felt that my biological rev counter was running a few notches slower. It certainly made me feel more at ease and relaxed. I’d be more inclined to pick up a book, when I had five minutes free, rather than waste time flicking through my phone sending my brain into overdrive. 

I was happier!

If that’s not a good enough reason to take a break from social media, I don’t know what is. A digital detox is a game changer. For me, it was a matter of being in control of my actions. Not having a piece of technology control me.

I challenge you to do 7 days

Let’s be real about it, technology and social media are not going away. The key isn’t to resist them, it’s to use them in a way that will benefit you and make life easier. Let’s face it, that’s what they were intended for in the first place. Apps and devices to make your life easier. 

But, they have been used in a way that has overtaken many seemingly ‘normal’ people’s lives. I’ve seen vicars playing candy crush when singing hymns, I’ve known an eighty seven year old woman rack up thousands of pounds of debt playing poker on her phone, and five year old kids place costly Amazon orders, unbeknownst to their parents, who had left them to ‘entertain’ themselves with their mobile phone. 

Mobile phones really can be destructive devices

I’ll stand by what I said earlier, about being as hard to give up as smoking and drinking if not harder. Social media plays around with your brain chemicals in exactly the same way drugs do. 

Give it a go yourself and see what the benefits are first hand. I’d be confident you’ll see one or more of the benefits below. 

  • Better sleep

  • Better concentration

  • Better mood

  • Less anxiety

  • Helps curb FOMO

The key with technology isn’t to eradicate it, it’s to use it effectively and ensure it works for you rather than against you. But, more than anything, it’s about being in complete control of your actions and desired outcome.  Not letting an external force, such as a smartphone, dictate and have power over you. 

Do you have control over your social media consumption?

Let me know in the comments below