Last week I did a poll on Instagram and asked the dreaded question… “How many of you get anxiety from social media?” Then I went on with my day at work and forgot to check in. About 6 hours later, I popped back on Instagram and I was overwhelmed with the response. I had over 30 messages about how much social media is stressing people out. From all sorts people. Young, old, influencers, business owners. And the response was all the same. That each person felt the need to “keep up” and it caused them constant anxiety on a daily basis.
How is it that one little app can have so much control over us?
With the constant need for more in our society, there is no wonder there is such a draw. I go through my phases where I am completely addicted and then times where I can barely even stand it. I go through a roller coaster of emotions too. Some days it makes me motivated and excited and other days depressed and feeling less than. Anyone else feel the same? If you are right there with me, it’s totally normal. Almost all of my colleagues and friends go through this.
I’m preparing a workshop soon for this very topic, but in the meantime, I have decided to take a serious 10-day digital detox starting this weekend. No Facebook, No Instagram. I can almost feel myself relaxing simply saying it out loud. I encourage clients to take digital detoxes as often as possible. So often, we miss what’s right in front of us because we are lost in our phone. Or so focused on getting that photo just right that we ignore the people we are with. Actually, I have a great story like this that prompted my detox.
Last week was my 36th birthday. I woke up in a great mood feeling rested and refreshed. I wanted to make the perfect satisfying breakfast so I decided on a Food for life gluten free English muffin - one side sweet with almond butter and blueberries, one side savory with avocado and crushed red pepper. I was excited to start eating it and then I stopped and reminded myself that I should take a picture of it for instagram. In the midst of trying to get the perfect lighting, I dropped the plate right on the ground. Dammit! My perfect birthday breakfast ruined all because I needed a stupid picture. I was pretty pissed and then I realized it was a definite sign. A sign that I was so lost into the iPhone world that I wasn’t even enjoying life’s simple pleasures, even on my birthday!
And so the detox begins!
I met with my marketing manager Lindsay Cumming to discuss the strategy for the detox and how to use my time wisely. I hadn’t written a blog in over six months or worked on my meal plan recipe books at all. She said, “Why don’t you write a blog about why you are doing the detox?” This is why I pay her the big bucks folks! She knows how to reign in my right brain.
As I write this blog, I realize that taking a 10-day detox is all fine and dandy but what do you do during and after to avoid the build up of anxiety all over again. Well… let's break it down.
DURING THE DIGITAL DETOX
Create a plan of action
Meeting with marketing coach always saves me because she helps me create a plan, however you do not need a coach to set intentions. Always start with the “why.” Why are you doing this? Why is this needed? By setting your intention of the detox, you can become more clear of what you may have been missing out on. After you figure out the why, write out a couple action steps of things you’d like to accomplish in this time and hold yourself accountable. Or better yet, grab a friend to do it with and hold each other accountable.
Get sh*t done
Do you ever have a list of things that you want to get to do “someday?” Well guess what… today is the day! With all the free time you’ll accumulate from not scrollin’ and trollin’, you can try a new workout class or finally clean out the dreaded junk drawer. Or maybe connect with friends you’ve been meaning to get a hold of and have an engaging social media free lunch.
Create nightly rituals
One of my favorite ways that I teach my clients to reduce anxiety (and use myself too) is to create nightly rituals. They help you sleep better, reduce stress on the body, and help you restore your immune system. Think warm epsom salt baths or foam rolling, light stretches, warm tea, or journaling. Creating these rituals will keep you away from the mind numbing stimulation of social media too!
AFTER THE DIGITAL DETOX
Have you ever been on a 21-day cleanse or diet and all you can think about it the 22nd day where your gonna go ham on a double cheese pizza? Same! This can be the same for the digital detox too. You’ll most likely be counting down the days to get back on or immediately go back to old habits as soon as it’s over, unless you can set some boundaries on it prior to jumping back on. In all aspects of life, we are trying to create healthy relationships, why not create one with your phone too.
Limit your daily usage
If you have done the iOS update on your iphone, there is a tab in settings called screen time. You can visibly see where you are spending most of your time (it’s scary) and adjust as needed. There is also a great app called Moment that will track this for you too. If it’s hard for you to control it simply by seeing how much you are on it, you could set a timer before you jump on and stick to it so you can go on to other things.
Be in the moment
Before you pull out your phone, think about if it’s absolutely necessary. If you are out to lunch with a friend or with your partner, do you really need the photo of the gluten free bolognese or can you bypass and engage with the person you are with and enjoy it. No one will die if you do not post about it.
Have a cut off time
My cut off time for social media is 7:30pm. At the very least 3 hours before bed because the blue light from the phone can be so stimulating that it can disrupt sleep. I’ll usually eat dinner and then catch up really quick one last time after that. Then I’ll plug in my phone on the charger and walk away for the night. “Cue the nightly rituals now.”
If you are struggling with anxiety and having a hard time getting ahead of it, please do not hesitate to reach out. I would love to connect with you. Book a complimentary consultation here.
XO Jaclyn Renee