Let’s talk about why I take a 72 hour social media break every week.
This approach actually became a habit by mistake!
I did this for the first time last Fall when I had a health scare and needed to clear my head.
One random Thursday, I turned my personal phone off and didn’t pick it up again until Monday.
The sense of peace I felt was tangible.
There was no nagging feeling about checking notifications.
It made space for me to be with my own thoughts.
I listened to music, read books, prayed, and had more conversations with my Husband and kids in the car and at breakfast.
In fact, it was such a nice experience I decided to do it again.
Here’s what I did with my extra time
The second time I took a 72 hour detox, I kept my phone on but moved the Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook apps off my main screen for the weekend.
I put them in a folder on the last screen, purposefully hard to get to and therefore breaking my own habit of opening these items in cracks of the day.
This time, I also made a list of things I accomplished in time I’d have otherwise been on social media:
- Read 2 books
- Organized office
- Cleaned out and organized master bedroom closet
- Got to email “inbox zero”
- Edited audio on three 20 min podcast episodes
- Three 40 minute sauna sessions
- Wrote and mailed two handwritten cards
- Created an annual budget with my Husband
- Slept 3 extra hours (one each day, earlier bedtime)
It’s also about being in the moment
Now, I don’t want to make it seem like you need to take one of these social media detoxes just to get your to do list wiped out.
You don’t need to do anything extra if you don’t want to. It’s a break.
A list is motivating for me because it measures the opportunity cost of being on social media.
And if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Not only did I get all of that done, but once again I found that feeling of peace in fully being present.
- Walked the dog and stopped for a conversation with the neighbor
- Ate breakfast with the kids without my phone nearby
- Had deep conversations with my Husband in the car without my device in hand
- Watched a movie. That’s it. Just watched the movie. One screen, versus something in my hand or on my lap.
So, total sunshine and rainbows?
Eh, not exactly.
During the third weekly detox, a friend of mine announced she was pregnant on social media.
She’s not necessarily a bestie, but close enough that I’d want to make a huge deal out of the adorable announcement they made.
I had no idea!
She was very forgiving when I told her one on one why I missed the news…but yeah. Felt like a jerk.
In addition to that fumble, I’ve found it is hard to interact with businesses in general without social media.
I live in a small town where local establishments are more likely to update social than their own website (and that’s if they even have one!).
During the most recent detox, my Husband and I drove to four different restaurants trying to find a date night spot (this is January at the beach!) because nothing was open.
They had all updated Instagram and Facebook pages about the scheduled winter cleaning…but not anything else.
Palm to forehead.
This one is to be expected, but I want to include it:
Every Monday, when I open my social media there are like 40 notifications waiting on me.
Now, everyone knows how this kind of thing works.
Cumulatively over three days, if I an engaging on social or posting things I have a lot more than 40 notifications.
Still, the bulk first thing in the week on three different apps is a little bit stressy- albeit, time savings overall.
And I feel more like myself. My in person self.
If I spend too much time online I can shift away from that.
The break helps me bridge the gap between the two, which is what social media was originally supposed to be (if you believe all the documentaries!).
What should you do with this?
You could do a break weekly for 24 hours.
Maybe your 72 hours is monthly.
Perhaps you do a whole month at once during the year!
A small weekly or monthly detox is a nice compromise for those who don’t want to deactivate all their accounts, but know social media is a dangerous distraction.