In this post I’ll share my findings from my 7 day Social Media TV detox including my motives to do it, what surprised me, the benefits and the drawbacks. Perhaps you’re wondering if these modern day technologies are having an impact on your health or you’ve read articles which eludes to the pitfalls.
Feelings are mixed on the increased use of social media and TV so I wanted to find out for myself in my own mini experiment.
The Social Media / TV Detox motives
Sitting on the sofa after a long day, tea on our laps, watching another episode of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Just another average Thursday in our house. But, adding up how many hours of TV we’d watched that week came as a shock, 12 hours. And yet we state we are too busy or tired to…paint another wall, give the insides of the cupboards a clean or even just read a good book. I started thinking, what value has watching that TV added to my life. The answer was, not much.
After mentioning my thoughts to my husband he added well, what about the phone, you’ve often got your head down scrolling through social media. Really? I didn’t think I looked at it that much.
The Social Media TV Detox was born
The challenge was 7 days, no TV (apart from 1 treat) and no social media (only using it for my business.) Why don’t you go cold turkey and quit everything for a week you may ask. Well, I believe these little things helped me to evaluate both sides of the argument and made sure my clients weren’t left without support.
So does less social media and TV have a positive impact on your health and life or is it a necessary part of modern life which enhances connection and eases workloads? I was about to find out.
I woke up and switched off my alarm, which is on my phone and before I know it I’m not just staring at the Facebook icon but already looking through the notifications. GOSH, I hadn’t realised it had become such an ingrained habit. Quickly I put the phone down.
Throughout the day I felt this unease, an anxiety in my chest and a feeling like a limb has been cut off. In the evening I wondered what on earth I would fill my time doing, I felt it stretching out in front of me and it felt very strange. I felt lost!
I read for 3 hours, a pleasure I usually feel too ‘busy’ to fit in. It felt naughty and somehow indulgent.
Day one of my social media / TV detox done!!
Day 2 – Realisations
As I sat waiting for a client I noticed that I’d picked up my phone to look at social media 3 times within 10 minutes. I stopped myself each time but I’m starting to realise how much of a habit this has become. It’s seeped into my life undetected and become something I unconsciously fill my time with.
Today the anxiety in my chest eased but was still there. I wonder whether I’ve now got time to notice how I feel so I notice I feel anxious or whether the withdrawal from serotonin boosting ‘likes’ and indulgences is creating the anxiety.
In the evening my husband and I decided to put some music on and get some jobs done. I didn’t feel tired I actually enjoyed singing and feel good to have accomplished something.
Day 3 – Slipped
I gave myself 15 minutes twice a day to check my business social media. On this day I slipped before I knew it I was scrolling down my news feed reading and catching up. Eek!! Old habits die hard. I didn’t berate myself though, just noticed, stopped then took a breath.
I had noticed though that it was my best friend’s wedding anniversary and lovely pictures from the wedding were shared. Also one of my other acquaintance had had a baby. It felt as though I was missing out, not being a good friend and I felt lonely.
In the evening my spirits were lifted with some good messaging conversations with two of my dear friends about an up and coming evening event we were planning.
There’s definitely two sides to social media and I think it’s important to understand both. On one hand it’s eating away my time and making me feel ‘busy’ on the other it’s connecting me to those I care about.
Day 4 – Connections
Today I went for a drink and catch up with a dear friend of mine. I noticed that I was actually really good when engaged in an activity or connecting with people. I don’t even have a desire to have my phone on the table or check it at all. In fact I’d have been quite happy to leave it at home.
Mobile phones became a thing when I was a teenager. I remember going many places without one and everyone being absolutely fine. I feel relying on yourself actually shows you how resilient you are. It builds trust in yourself and for that I’m grateful.
The evening tonight was effortless as I’d travelled to visit my mum. It was so lovely to sit catching up over a brew and reminiscing about past times.
Perhaps I don’t give enough time and focus to cherishing quality time and connecting with people.
Day 5 – Freedom
The anxiety is gone, my chest felt light and I’m happy to say I rose without even looking at the phone. In fact it stayed in my bag all day and I didn’t miss it once.
Today I’d arranged lunch with a friend and an evening meal with some of the girls. The afternoon was spent cooking and laughing with my mum.
I missed taking pictures though. Capturing those moments but I questioned whether I wanted that for myself or to share on social media. Interesting question to raise in my opinion. What is my reasoning behind capturing that moment in pictures? I realise that it’s to showcase on social media so I don’t bother and just enjoy the moment instead.
Day 6 – Normality
I’m definitely feeling a difference in the decisions I’m making. I don’t automatically reach for my phone anymore and I feel I’ve normalised choosing what I’d like to do with my time. Rather than automatically reaching for the phone, I ask what I’d like to do next . A new way of viewing these things is beginning to feel natural and I like it.
Perhaps the lessons I’ve learnt aren’t about whether social media / TV are good or bad, perhaps it’s just about making sure you choose rather than it being an automatic habit which slowly takes over your life.
Day 7 – Excited
It seems like it’s been a long week and that I’ve had lots of time which has felt very strange. I feel the detox has been good. An opportunity to step back and assess what value social media and TV actually have in my life. Today was my treat day and I watched an evening of Countryfile and Poldark, both guilty pleasures of mine and it felt good. Perhaps even better because it was a treat and not something I had done all week.
Summary and key learnings
– You probably don’t realise how much social media / tv has infiltrated your life. A detox is a great way to reassess these things and notice the impact it’s having on your life, mood and wellbeing.
– Social media / TV have their good points. It definitely enhances your world with being able to connect with those who are further away and learn things which you didn’t know.
– They also have their bad points, it’s way too easy to absorb every moment in a quick check of social media or a pointless series on Netflix.
– I still haven’t decided whether I already felt anxious and just didn’t take time to notice or whether the detox itself was anxious provoking, probably a bit of both but stepping away certainly improved my mood.
Biggest lesson? You have more time than you think. It’s really up to you how you spend it.
Each year in August I’m going to have a week long social media / TV detox. It will be a great way to reassess my time and make conscious decisions over what fills me with joy. I personally was surprised at how much I got done, how much free time I had and how much lighter I felt this week. Going forwards I’ll be a little more considerate over my social media and TV.
How does social media / TV impact your life? Would you like to do your own detox? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I always like to connect and raise a good discussion.
Until next time
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Hello, being 70 years young you would think that I would know better but I recognized a bit of me in your blog. As I don’t watch much telly that part doesn’t impact on my life but I do have an iPad and first thing in a morning I go straight to it, Facebook, mail on line, emails utube also and I can spend hours being wound up especially reading dm , so after reading you I am now going to try and get back to my old routine of meditation first thing in the morning but not just for a week I will make it a positive lifestyle habit I find it has great benefits. I do worry about my 14 year old granddaughter though she is on her phone 24/7 and the suggestion of limiting her access sends her into a frenzy and near meltdowns so I am going to give her your piece to read and ask her what she thinks, I will get back to you with an up date and thank you for writing about it you really need to reach more people about this as I think it as become a massive problem.
Great ideas there, it’s definitely been an eye opener for me. I think good conversation about the good and bad are important, along with helping people make there own decisions is the way to go. I hear ‘they’re always on their phones’ a lot but our phones do lots of things these days, they may be listening to an educational podcast, checking their calendars or messaging a friend to help them through a crisis. It’s not all bad but I think it’s good to step back and analyse it with a clear head so it doesn’t just creep into your life and take over.