30 Day Challenge: Social Media
While lying on the couch I picked up my phone and clicked on Instagram. I scrolled and scrolled... I don't know who most of these people are, but my goodness I follow exceptionally adventurous and fashionable individuals. I closed out the screen and moved over to Facebook and began to do the same, noticing a lot of repetition from people who posted their Instagram photos to their Facebook walls, but oh wait! That video looks hilarious! I click, but it turns out that it really wasn't that funny after all. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Facebook Newsfeed. I resumed the scroll for who knows how long until I found myself on someone's wall that I didn't recognize. I was teetering on the edge of scrolling through a stranger's wedding photos, so I exited that app too. I deleted Twitter from my phone awhile ago, so opted instead to see what everyone was up to on Snapchat. Well, doesn't that look like fun? Someone just snapped an airplane's wing... I wonder where they are heading off to... to be continued, I suppose. After watching too many snap stories to mention, I close it out and click over to Instagram. Wait. Didn't I just see these?
This was not shaping up to be the productive summer off that I originally had in mind.
My husband listened to a podcast recently that spoke highly of creating personalized 30-day challenges. His mentioning of this couldn't have come at a better time. The purpose of the 30-day challenge was to select something that you either wished to do less of (or more of), with the overall intent of increasing health/wellness. Although the situation described above was by no means my norm, I was coming off of a stressful school year and brainless entertainment was my entertainment of choice. After contemplating a bit about what my July challenge would be, he gently encouraged me to consider a social media cleanse. With some apprehension, I agreed that it was probably for the best. After a quick farewell on Snapchat, I abstained from all social media from July 1st-30th.
Some Habits Die Hard
The negative effect that social media can have on one's personal well-being, is not breaking news. I just don't think I realized the impact it was having on me. My 30 days away brought to my attention how frequently I pick up my phone with the intent to brainlessly scroll. At the onset of this cleanse, I lost count of how many times I picked up my phone and my thumb reached for an app that wasn't there.
The distance away allowed me to consider what does all of this scrolling do for me? On occasion, I'm entertained but most often I'm so disassociated that I'm frequently left clicking on an app that I scrolled through only moments before. Social media allows me the ability to know what all of my friends are up to, which is great, but it often lessens my inherent need to reach out to them, which is far less desirable. If I'm being honest, on rare occasion, I even find myself feeling a little bummed out ("FOMO" exists). Overall, it's an exorbitant amount of time spent with minimal return on my investment.
I recently saw a meme (on social media, of course) that said something like, "I wish I could find someone that looks at me the way I look at my cell phone." The pictures (above) reminds me of that little quip.
If you are quitting smoking, you might need to chew on a straw (or gum). Although I was by no means addicted, I needed something to help ease me away from social media but still fill the urge that its absence left. Pathetic?.. maybe a little. "In the field" we like to call this a replacement behavior. A replacement behavior serves a similar function but through more desirable means. In other words, to scratch the itch of having my hot little iphone in my hand, I considered ways that I could use my phone in a more fruitful manner.
- First, I downloaded a journaling app. I love the idea of a handwritten journal, but I can't seem to commit the time to physically writing an entry even though journaling is something that I always wish I did more of. This was a perfect time to use my phone to accomplish an unmet goal, I journaled nearly every day!
- I also downloaded a new meditation app, and found a specific meditation that my husband and I really liked. This replaced the nighttime scrolling.
- I also re-downloaded BumbleBFF and used my free time to meet some new people in real life.
- I found an awesome app where my neighbors posted their "Curb Alerts" or items that were free for whoever got there first and I scored a few awesome items for my office.
- I replaced my morning scroll sessions with a to-do list app. I created a list of things I'd like to accomplish for the day. I am significantly more productive when I use a to-do list.
Overall, I would say that I am 100x more conscientious of my social media use. Bringing greater awareness and mindfulness was beneficial, but for good measure, I also pared down the list of folks I follow. I am currently on the tail end of my August fitness-focused 30-day challenge! More on that at a later date. Have you ever committed to a 30-day challenge? Do share!