I took nine days off from social media. For me, that meant no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I wanted to see what it would be like to digitally disconnect.
I am also dealing with the terminal illness of a loved one, so my patience for people complaining about minor things is at an all-time low. His sickness has also made me reconsider how I interact with important people in my life.
These three factors made me decide a break from the digital lifestyle was in order
What have I learned since December 23rd?
- I checked Facebook too damn much. I didn’t realize how much of a habit it had become. And for what? IT’S MOSTLY EPHEMERA, INCLUDING WHAT I POST. It can provide a false sense of intimacy with people. It was taking time away from being with the people next to me. It was embarrassing to realize how often my fingers automatically tried to press of the white F on my phone the first two days of this break.
2. I had to find another way to unwind my brain. For example, when I had a break at work, I’d sometimes click on Facebook to just escape from my job to see what’s going on in the world. For the past nine days, I couldn’t do that. I read magazines and the newspaper more. I read news from actual news websites more often, instead of Facebook pals telling me what I should read. Sometimes I did nothing. Which leads me to…
3. It’s nice do nothing. The line at the bank last Saturday was approximately ten people deep. Instead of getting out my phone, I people watched. I was still and quiet. It was enjoyable to stand in line like it was 1999. This happened all week at the grocery store, Wawa, wherever. I noticed the world around me much more. My brain was more quiet. This clip from Louie C.K. on Conan says it all about being alone. Start at 1:00.
4. There’s nothing wrong with checking social media to see what’s up – I’ll just do it less often. Right now, once a day, in the evening is my plan. I naturally enjoy people, their stories, their photos, their insights. There’s nothing wrong with that. Ultimately, I want to be more physically present for myself and the people in the room.
Have you ever tried a digital detox? What was it like? What did you learn?