Social media. We all know it. We all use it. We all love it. We all love to hate it.
Social media (and really, the internet) was originally designed to keep people in different geographic places connected. And while I believe it does an amazing job at what it was originally intended for, I also think it has quickly grown into an untamable beast that cannot be controlled. It’s become a place for people to share ideas and thoughts including negative ones, for people to waste time, for people to compare themselves and bully others with no repercussions. I sometimes think people forget there’s another human being on the other side of the computer screen.
While it can be such a beautiful thing, I think there’s a time and place for social media and I think everyone should take a sabbatical every once in a while. I did for 6 weeks and here’s what happened:
I Became More Productive
To be honest, deleting all of my social media apps was difficult at first. I found myself picking up my phone and swiping to where the apps used to live several times a day – sometimes 30 or 40 times a day. I realized I would do it when I was bored or having trouble focusing on my task at hand. Once I got used to not picking up my phone when I was bored, I became exponentially more productive. I was able to complete tasks faster and had more time to do things that are good for me like reading books, listening to podcasts, and working on my hobbies. For more tips on how to stay productive, click here.
I Slept Better
When I was on social media, I couldn’t end or start my day without checking all of the apps. I was scared I might miss something. I would end up spending hours at night, in bed, scrolling until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. The problem with that nasty old habit is that I would consistently stay up later than I anticipated and studies, like this one from Harvard, show that looking at electronic devices that emit blue light (cell phones, TVs, and computers) too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns. Deleting social media helped me to have a better night time routine. I was able to go to bed on time, and turning off devices before bed helped me fall asleep easier.
My Self Worth Improved
When I didn’t have the opportunity to compare myself to peers who I felt were more successful, made more money, had better relationships, I felt better about myself. I was able to focus on myself, what I am grateful for, and why I am awesome.
My Relationships Improved
I know first-hand how difficult it can be to maintain relationships when you’re busy as hell. A packed work schedule, self-care time, and maintaining primary relationships means other relationships can be neglected. Add in the superficial feeling of being connected to people through social media, it’s easy to go months without truly connecting to the people you care about. When you delete social media, you’re forced to communicate outside of likes, comments are pictures, and memes. You actually have to reach out to people, call them on the phone, meet them in person. It’s amazing what happens to a relationship with you start connecting in person again.
I know it’s not realistic to be off of social media forever, but it feels good to occasionally disconnect and re-connect with my myself. Have you ever taken a social media sabbatical? What was your experience? Would you do it again?