Happy Monday friends! I’m back today with a new post after taking the week off to share what I learned about myself during a week off social media. A few days off Instagram and Twitter might not seem like a long time, but it was more eye opening than I had anticipated. It felt amazing and I feel so lucky that I was able to take this time off without any major consequences in my work.
So let’s chat about how it felt being a week off social media and what it did for my mental health…
A WEEK OFF SOCIAL MEDIA
Last week, I wrote about the things you should never post on Instagram and it had such a great response it put me into serious thoughts about social media and how they affect out life and behaviour (some studies claim, Instagram has even influenced the way we eat..!). As I am managing Natbee’s social media and also have a personal Instagram account, on top of working for a PR agency, I spend the majority of my time online. I research seasonal trends, I create colour palettes for upcoming photoshoots, do bloggers outreach which translates only into one thing; winding down whilst constantly bombarding my brain with images and captions is inevitable!
To get into a better headspace after some serious weeks of anxiety at work, that led to *almost* a panic attack, I had to remove myself from social media. To be honest with you, the thought of taking time away from Natbee’s and social media seriously stressed me out at first. Would we lose followers? Would Natbee’s team be mad at me? Would our sponsors judge that our pageviews went down for the week because I wasn’t producing new content?
Clearly I’m not good at taking breaks. Before I even finished my MSc thesis I sat exams to be accepted to another University to study for my second Bachelors. I have been working on two jobs since I left my parents house and I don’t know what to do with myself if there is nothing to do.
Relaxing, however, and taking time for myself was something I was (thankfully) forced to do after having anxiety attacks in the office. So last Monday I went back home, deleted the Instagram and Twitter applications from my phone and focused on reading more books, listening to music, making Youtube playlists (avoiding at all costs to watch any new vlogs), and went out with friends on multiple coffee dates.
On Thursday evening, I found myself sitting at Starbucks looking at people leaving their offices, and it all of the sudden hit me that I was so much happier spending this week off social media and the fake, online world, and focusing on the real world that was happening there, right now!
This past week definitely gave me some clarity into the damage social media can do to one’s mental state. Here are some of the lessons I learned:
Your life is awesome: Friday night I tend to spend it at home with a glass of wine in hand and the TV remote control on the other. During ad breaks I reach for my phone and check what everyone else is doing on their lives through Instagram stories, and every single time it gets me! People are out having fun, travelling to awesome places, wearing the most amazing outfits, and even though I realise Instagram is not necessarily an accurate representation of their lives, I feel that I am missing out on life. Removing myself from social media for a week made me realise that my life is awesome, and so is yours! I am healthy, I have a job, good education, my family and friends are healthy and always there for me and I have a place to stay. I can afford to spend money on brunches and eat out (mostly thanks to Natbee’s restaurant reviews) almost every weekend! So, really, is there anything I am missing out?
Learn to say no: The first thing I realised is that time wasn’t flying as quickly as I thought. BUT when you agree to go on every event and instagram every second of it and respond to comments and engage with your followers (to promote the said event), and, and….and, then time slips through your fingers like sand. Learn to say no and give your time only to the things that matter.
Be kind to myself: I haven’t taken any days off my studies since I started University back in 2007, (if you are new here I got my first Bachelors Hons in 2013, then got my Msc in 2017 and I am currently studying for my second Bachelors, all that while working full-time), so I feel like I’m worth ten years of holidays. Getting a week off social media (which totally felt like a holiday!), I focused on the important things and I realised that by being kinder to myself I was happier with what I had and more present in the moment. I attended yoga classes and even ordered buckwheat flour and vanilla flavoured protein powder to make healthy pancake breakfasts at home. There’s something magical knowing that you are taking steps to a better you and a better future. The minute I stopped comparing myself to others and stopped scrolling down my Instagram feed, I felt that I was more in control of my life!
All in all, taking a week of social media to gather myself, and focus on the things that matter in life, reseted my thoughts and my attitude. I’m starting this week feeling on top of my game and ready for whatever comes my way!
Have you ever done a social media detox? I’d love to know your thoughts!