I am currently on my yearly vacation and one of the prerequisites of my vacation is that it has to be outside of the U.S. so it makes it harder for me to have access to my email, Smartphone, computer, etc. However, one of the hardest parts for me is the first few days of social media detox that happens. Usually I still have some sort of access to wifi or internet in some capacity but, not this time so I have had to truly detox on this vacation.
Detoxing from social media is much harder than it looks. You don’t realize how truly addicted and attached you are to checking your email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. every few hours, every hour, every few minutes, etc. I even had a huge moment of panic when my homestay mother told me she didn’t have wifi or internet at all and the closest internet for me is at the university or at the center I am doing my program through. Both of which are quite a walk away and not something I can instantly access. This has literally meant I cannot be constantly connected to all my channels 24/7.
This is part of the reason I take vacations such as this is to detox from all of these things but it is not easy. I almost feel like I have to stand up and say, “Hello, my name is Mandy, and I am addicted to social media!”. At the end of the two weeks of my vacation I know the fact that I can’t instantly text someone or check my Facebook page will no longer bother me and I will wonder why it is bothering me now but for now it is a weird feeling of panic that has settled in my stomach that I am missing out on something by not being connected. Do you ever get this feeling? How do you combat it? Do you ever have to completely disconnect for an extended period to be able to reconnect later on?
The reason I do this is two-fold. One reason is that I am doing this so I prevent burnout later on. If I am constantly on these channels and never give myself a break I will burnout and will not be able to come up with fresh ideas and concepts as well as will get frustrated with the platforms and wonder why I am on them in the first place. The second reason is I think that everyone needs to be able to remember what it is like to connect with people without social media and remember how to use every day social skills that can tend to be forgotten when you are constantly on social media channels. You also remember how to look straight ahead when walking too.
This detox is a necessity for me to be able to continue to do my job as well as stay connected as a person. I have been at the point where I don’t want to connect with people and I just can’t stand another minute of connecting with people and that was because I didn’t take the time away from connecting with my everyday group of people to connect with a new and different group of people on a different level which allows me to come back and be recharged and revitalized. I know this sounds a little confusing but it really does work. It is basically stepping back and doing something different to remember why you do what you do.
So I am stepping back from my constant (almost 24/7) social media use to remind myself why I use social media and to also remind myself that I can exist without social media. Basically I don’t exist because social media does, which is an extremely important lesson to learn.
Have you done a social media detox? What were your results? Please comment on what your detox was like below!
P.S. I am really missing my GPS capable Smartphone. I only got lost three times today so I guess that is a good day!!
Does the title strike fear into your social media addicted heart? :)
I know this concept sounds odd for someone who talks about social media but I also think that it is a necessity. I think sometimes people, myself included, have come to rely on social media so much that we cannot or will not take a step back from it and 1) appreciate why and how we use it and 2) actually talk to people in person and/or face to face.
I just read this article on how tourists can put down their iPhones or Blackberries - I can completely see that happening. I know for me that for me to fully be able to disconnect from my email, social media, etc. is to literally leave the country and not be able to access my phone or internet on a regular basis. I actually have found that I am able to relax more and take a deep breath when I am not worried about missing an email, a Facebook post, or a Twitter mention.
However, I will say, that when I come back to social media I feel like a year has passed since I was on it instead of a few weeks. Social media changes so rapidly and so much information is published every day it can be overwhelming to step by into the fray.
Have you ever completely stepped away from social media and allowed yourself to detox from the need to constantly check your Facebook status or Twitter feeds? If you have how long have you been able to hold out? A day? A week? A month? What did you feel when you did that? How did you feel when you stepped back into the social media realm?
It can be an intimidating concept to step away from all your connections and your instant access but I challenge you (or as one of my friends says "I dare you") to step away from social media from at least one week and then report back on what that experience was like and what you realized about social media when you came back to it.
I think you may surprise yourself! The challenge has been laid will you take it up?
P.S. Here is another group that has laid down a similar challenge.
This blog is all about social media. I hope to offer tips, tricks, advice and more on using social media within international education and international travel.