My social media detox was incredibly refreshing. For once in a super long time, I finally felt peaceful.
I stopped beating myself up over what I was eating, what my body looked like, and how I was practicing my self care. It was like as soon as I stopped getting caught up in my phone – I found the confident girl inside of myself that doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her.
Taking a tiny step away from Instagram was the best thing I ever did for my body image and restrictive eating habits. So if you’re ready to stop putting your happiness into someone else’s hands, then it’s time for a mini social media detox.
SOCIAL MEDIA VS. HAPPINESS
I had to take a step back. I was getting so wrapped up in comparing myself to the insta-famous foodies and fitness models with the dream life I thought I needed to be happy.
Repeat: that I thought I needed to be happy.
The problem with social media is that it’s essentially a highlight reel of everyone’s successes. That means we see all of the kick-butt things everyone’s up to, and none of their failures, insecurities, or struggles unless they choose to share them.
You don’t see all of the behind the scene struggles EVERYONE goes through…
- Failed recipes that didn’t make it onto your favorite recipe developer’s blog.
- Hours of running and weight lifting your favorite fitness star used to get her crazy ripped 6-pack.
- Hundreds of photos the photographer went through to get that one picture you love so much.
- [Insert your favorite activity here] + [time sucking, painful, relentless struggle here]
IS ALL SOCIAL MEDIA BAD?
No, of course not.
Social media can absolutely be an inspiring window into what’s possible if you really work hard at something you’re passionate about.
But, unfortunately, if you’re not mindful of the “behind the scenes” aspect of social media, it can also be an overwhelming spiral into feeling like you’re not good enough, beautiful enough, or talented enough.
Which is exactly why we have to learn to take a step back from social media (and do a social media detox) when it becomes a source of self-doubt instead of inspiration.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS NATURALLY OVERWHELMING
Whether you’re overwhelmed by how much potential is out there, or by how much you’re not “getting it” as well or as quickly as others, it can be a slippery slope that makes it hard to appreciate your own small wins or big successes.
Psst! I made this social media detox for you so you can keep your social media in check. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by social media… and I doubt you want it to keep eating up your valuable time. When we constantly look at other’s accomplishments and feel bad about not meeting or exceeding those expectations, it can be extremely hard to be kind to yourself, love yourself, and most importantly appreciate how far you’ve come in your own journey. Which is exactly why it’s important for everyone to take a step back from it all on occasion and do a social media detox – it’s refreshing!
5 SIGNS YOU DESPERATELY NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX
1. You’re struggling with your body image –
If you’ve ever struggled with weight loss, weight gain, or other physical insecurities about your body, then you know it can be extremely challenging to NOT compare yourself to others.
Pinterest and Instagram are filled with tons of “fitspo” (fitness inspiration) that can make it extremely difficult to NOT compare yourself to swimsuit models, fitness bikini competitors, athletes, fashion models, or anyone with great lighting, a camera, and Photoshop.
It’s nearly impossible to know what’s fake and what’s real. I had to take a step back from Instagram when I was recovering from my excessive weight loss because I was chasing a dream that wasn’t mine. I thought I “should” have abs if I wanted to be beautiful. Turns out my abs had nothing to do with my happiness.
2. You’re working on disordered eating habits –
If your phone is constantly flooded with food porn and beautiful meals… how are you not going to become obsessed with food? I mean, we’re already obsessed with food because we’re hard-wired to want to eat, but then throw in unlimited access to drool worthy photos and you’ll never be satisfied with what you have!
It makes it extremely difficult to learn what your body craves, find a style of eating that makes you happy, and understand when you’re truly hungry or just being influenced to eat because of your Instagram feed.
If I go through my Instagram right now I’ll see…
- Healthy recipes
- Crave-worthy food porn
- Ideas about “balance”
- Nutrition information
- Arguments for competing diets
- And on and on and on and on…..
So what the heck do I want? I’m so hungry and confused at this point that I’ll probably just eat whatever’s in my house and then feel guilty about it somehow because it didn’t meet “x” expectation. It sounds kind of silly, but it’s so true. When you’re whipped back and forth between eating healthy, worrying about being unhealthy, and constantly trying to find balance – the whole thing can be downright exhausting.
3. You’re losing your self-identity/not happy with your direction in life –
And then let’s say you’re known on Instagram for your healthy paleo or vegan lifestyle. What happens when you go out for dairy-based ice cream? Do you feel guilty, shameful, like a failure? It’s easy to feel like you’re not “allowed” to go outside of what you’re “known for”…which is totally NOT okay!
Instagram and other social media sites hold you back and make it easy to stay in your comfort zone, which can make it challenging to grow and discover who you are or who you really want to be.
It can also make it seem like there are only a few paths that you can take to be “successful”. For example, if you want to do something in the fitness industry, it can feel like you only have a few options: be a brand ambassador, an athlete, or a fitness model. But what if you wanted to take a different path and design your own yoga gear? Being fearful that “it’s not going to work” because it’s not one of the few traditional paths doesn’t mean you can’t go after your own dreams.
News flash: your “‘fans” aren’t doing anything for you except boosting your ego 😉
4. You’re feeling sad, anxious, or depressed –
Social media is an emotional whirlwind. And if you have a tendency toward anxiety or depression, there’s a huge chance it might make something worse.
Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and well-being, according to a recent survey of almost 1,500 teens and young adults. While the photo-based platform got points for self-expression and self-identity, it was also associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO, or the “fear of missing out.” (1)
Getting emotional because of social media is due to the constant comparison game. Stop getting overwhelmed by social and pamper your emotions with a mini social media detox.
Bonus: 5. You’re struggling with the relationships in your life –
Whether it’s the relationship with yourself or with others, your relationships in life are the MOST important thing. Why? Because if you didn’t have your phone, what would you do? Who would be there? Would you be okay with the inner silence when you don’t have a phone to occupy your time?
Food, exercise, and face to face connection with people we care about is the key to a healthy, happy life. If you can’t fuel your body, move your body, or be loved and cared for, then the world we live in becomes a super different place.
And honestly, we usually have all of this good stuff already.
The key is removing the distraction – aka, the phone.
TAKEAWAY: If you made it all the way to the bottom of this blog post… then you probably need a mini social media detox.
If any of these 5 things hit home with you, then it’s time to take a mini step back from obsessing over social media.
Why a “mini” social media detox?
Completely avoiding social media isn’t always the answer – hey, it’s fun and inspiring at times, right? So it’s not about avoiding it completely. It’s about learning when to put social media in its place when it’s not serving you anymore.
And honestly, figuring out ways to ease up on social media can be the hardest part. It’s truly an addiction – you can’t expect to change if you don’t take baby steps.
So it’s time to get in control and learn to be the boss of your social media apps.
(1) Source: NY Times