I’ve been taking a social media vacation. I needed a break. The more people I speak with, it seems that I am not alone. Others are also spending less time in their online communities yearning for a simpler way of life without the need for constant connection.
How is it that the very thing called social media has actually created a world that feels more lonely than ever before? Why does it now take effort to post, click, and interact, when it used to be light and fun? Why are many of us feeling anti-social with a need to disconnect?
There are a number of factors at play. The main reason this is happening is because we are actually having less and less physical interaction and the cyber world of likes, friends, and emoji’s has attempted to replace communication and connectedness. The bubble we’ve created of online dating and socializing has finally hit us hard. We’ve become burned out from this seemingly artificial way of feeling loved.
The problem is that we have forgotten what it’s truly like to bond and have intimate relationships which can only be created by speaking, listening and being present with another human being. Instead, we partially get involved when in truth, it isn’t a complete relationship. If we aren’t talking on the telephone, facetiming, or meeting up for coffee, then it’s somehow inadequate. Is it better than nothing? Probably. But when it comes to feeding our souls and uplifting our spirits, it may just be having the opposite effect.
With an increase in depression and suicide rates, it has shown that over time, this world of online chatter can magnify our feelings of loneliness, and leave us feeling depleted and unsupported. To top it off, if we’re already feeling down and then tune in to other’s fabulous lives on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, it only deepens our isolation.
Maybe it’s time to do a social media detox. Here is how:
- Take a Break– Especially if you’re struggling emotionally or spiritually, stop scrolling through your social media accounts. The world will not end if you take 7 days away from your feed.
- Replace it– Once you start your week long detox, replace your social media time doing something else. What excites you creatively that you’ve been putting off? When was the last time you read a book or took a class? How can you get back into real life instead of your online one?
- Stop the Habit– Any habit or addiction takes work to overcome. You’ll need to literally make conscious efforts to leave your phone in the car or in a different room in order to be more fully present in your life. If you’re out with friends, stop with the impulsive need to check your accounts and BE HERE NOW.
- Back to Basics– Start booking lunches and hikes with friends and make a point of bonding physically. Reach out to old friends in order to reconnect. If you’re looking to date, spend less time on the dating apps and more time at networking events or social gatherings. There is nothing more important than that we have physical connection, especially with those that lift us up.
- Change Your Routine– It is so easy to do the same thing over and over again and sometimes structure is a good thing. But during this cleanse, force yourself to do something different. Finally book that group bowling or karaoke night or take a two-day getaway without the need to post every single detail about your trip.
- Delegate – If you use social media for work purposes, hire somebody to help. There are plenty of people who can take over and assist with your online messaging. Learning to let go and asking for help will free you up and make room for exciting new opportunities and relationships.
- Selfies to Selfless– For goodness sakes, stop with the selfies already. Feeling the need to capture every moment of your day is just boring and truth be told, nobody really cares about what you ate for lunch. Instead, be present in what is and breathe in every second instead of looking for the perfect lighting and backdrop for your next photo.
If you’re like me, you may feel more isolated and disconnected than ever. While it’s easy to blame social media, we cannot be held captive any longer. We must make a conscious choice to break free from this modern way of being and get back to living life fully. Spending time in nature, enjoying community, relaxing over candlelight and wine, and listening to soothing music are some examples of how to do this.
If you’re feeling burned out it’s up to you to make choices that lift you back up. The very thing that we have come to rely on to make us happy and to give us a sense of support, is doing the opposite. There is no better time to take a break and see what it’s like to enjoy yourself without the busyness of our online world. Day by day, start to cleanse and recreate new habits that are life-enhancing, heart opening, and ultimately, the way things were meant to be.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness and Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. https://www.breatheonit.net