I did a social media / digital detox for a month recently.
My church was doing a fast, and I decided to join along.
While some folks chose to restrain from eating during the day, or consuming sweets, I picked social media.
Even thought it’s true that I have to be plugged in for my job, I spent a lot of time mindlessly scrolling.
Sure, there I engaged with some positive, educational, and entertaining content.
I was also soaking in tons of yucky stuff, too.
I love social media
My life wouldn’t be the same at all if it wasn’t for social media.
However, there does come a point where it can all become just too much.
I needed a cleanse and an opportunity to get reconnected to God, my family, and myself.
It was also important for me to reestablish digital boundaries for myself.
Social media and technology is created to keep us connected.
Some folks do a great job of balancing their time in the digital world vs. real life.
Other people like myself have to be really intentional in our use or we will go overboard really quickly.
How to Prepare For a Digital Detox
As I prepared for my digital detox and social media fast, I thought about what I would need to do to prepare.
1. Take all social media apps off of your phone.
The first step when you’re trying to prepare for a digital detox is to take all social media apps off of your phone.
Even if you vow not to use your phone, inevitably, you’ll get an alert that someone followed you on Instagram, and you’re sucked back in.
2. Set up an away message on your email account.
If you’re planning a digital detox and run a business, or have a job, make sure you set up the away message so you don’t have to worry that your reputation is ruined because you didn’t answer an email.
3. Make plans for what you’re going to do while you’re detoxing.
We’ve kind of evolved into a society where we are used to being entertained all of the time. Instant access to digital content makes a lot of folks start to feel antsy when they have down time.
So, what should you do with all of the extra time that you’ll free up by giving up your beloved social media?
I don’t know, that’s up to you.
Whatever you do, though, schedule it and make plans so that you have something to look forward to.
Even if your plan is to sit in a chair and daydream…write it down so you can feel like you’re doing something.
Make sure you have everything you need before starting your social media break
4. Double-check that you have everything that you need before you unplug.
Whenever I bake muffins, I have to go online to get the recipe from one of my Pinterest boards.
Well, for my digital detox, I wasn’t able to do that.
Similarly you should think about what you’ll need before you log off.
Gather it before you unplug so you won’t have an excuse, uh, reason to plug back in.
5. Let folks know that you’re detoxing and will be away.
If I just stopped responding to email messages or Facebook posts, I’d get messages from folks asking if I’m okay.
Let the people that you’re most connected to online know that you’re logging off and for how long.
Tell people that they can call you if something comes up that’s urgent.
Or—they can call you if they just want to talk. Like, privately.
Remember having conversation that weren’t on the Facebook timeline?
What can you do instead?
When you first start your digital detox, you’ll be surprised at how many times you reach for your phone or other devices.
I was stunned! It’s truly an addiction to swipe my phone on and click around mindlessly.
Having other activities planned that would keep my attention and remind me how to focus on things that aren’t on a screen was a lifesaver during my detox.
In fact, I started a new creative hobby!
If you’re not sure what to do instead of doom scrolling, here are a few ideas:
- Declutter or clean
- Try a new recipe
- Pick up a hobby
- Learn a new language
- Go on a walk
- Read a book
- Play a board game
- Call a friend on the phone
- Write something (poetry, prose, an essay, anything)
Obviously there are a billion other things you could do like visit a bookstore in your town, or grab tea with a friend.
These ideas are just to get you started!
And yes, I did everything on this list except for learning a new language. But that’s up next. LOL!
Just Do The Detox
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is real.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, or like you’re wasting time online, just do the detox.
You miss some drama or a few viral videos, but thankfully it’s the internet.
You can just catch it later!
21-Day Social Media Break Journal
Want some support for your social media break? I created a 21-Day Social Media Break Journal for folks who want to reflect and make the most of their time offline.
Purchase a paperback journal for under nine bucks, or a hardcover for under twenty.
Monday 17th of March 2014
I try and do this on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday are the only real days I can get my errands done and spend quality time with my family. I know I miss a lot and I know people notice I am not on-line as much as I used to be, but for my sanity, I ignore it all. ... Like you mention, its the Internet so I can go back on later to check what I've missed.
I like the idea of writing down, that I'm not going to do nothing, to feel like I've done something :)