By Casha Doemland
December 28, 2018
When I pitched the idea to go social media free, I didn’t do it for the article, I did it for myself because as humans, I think it’s easy to get caught up in a world that isn’t necessarily real. So this article (more or less) acted as the accountability partner I thought I needed to complete this assignment.
On Sunday, before midnight, I dragged all of my apps (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube & Facebook) into a folder titled “DO NOT TOUCH” for extra reinforcement. I let my friends, family and strangers that follow me know I would be completing a seven day cleanse. If they needed anything, I advised them to contact me by texting, calling, or emailing me. The following reflection is a reflection of my struggles, if any, with each platform:
Instagram proved to be the greatest challenge, as I spend a fair amount of time on the app leisurely scrolling when I'm not working on posting for my passion project We Are Phenomenal.
I also have this awful habit of scrolling first thing in the morning, which is a habit I’ve desperately been trying to break and think I now have.
The first few mornings were difficult, but when I threw myself into my morning meditation or work out, the urge subsided. I also found myself unlocking my phone at random points throughout the first day or two, only to realize I had no business picking it up.
All in all, the break from Instagram was the one I needed. When I return to social media, I vow to spend less time mindlessly scrolling through the app because I realized how addicted I’d become to it.
My next most popular platform is YouTube for the sheer fact that is has endless amounts of Yoga and guided meditation videos that can’t be found in any app.
I downloaded “Daily Yoga” from the App Store in hopes it would suffice, but it wanted a monetary commitment and I wasn’t down. So, after two days with the app, I basically cut down on yoga and switched to 10 minutes of stretching.
As for meditation, instead of rolling with my usual guided meditation, I set a time and went back to my own gratitude meditation I created a year or so back. Basically, for 15 minutes I sit or lie down, slap a smile on my face even if I’m not feeling particularly happy and say all the things I am grateful for until the time runs out.
I am very much looking forward to returning to my YouTube Yoga!
I'm not known for tweeting. If anything, I use Twitter to keep up on pop culture and news related articles when I don't have the time to look at my newsletters or scroll through the New York Times. So Twitter, you were not missed.
I use Facebook for the groups, whether it's to connect with fellow creatives, learn about events or seek advice. Occasionally, my dad will tag me in a video, but overall, my time on Facebook is limited. As a result, the cleanse was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
When I take the time to reflect on each day and re-read my journal mentioning the moments I struggled, I realized most of those moments occurred within the first 24 hours. After that, my mind adjusted to life without it. I know that may sound crazy, but you'd be surprised at what your body does based on muscle memory – the number of times I unlocked my phone the first day to check Instagram was astounding.
As the days went on, life without these platforms became easier. It's not to say that I did not miss the value of each platform for its ability to allow me to see what my friends and family around the world are up to or promote a passion project of my own. It was nice to not have to think about what to post, how to caption it, or if it fits an aesthetic.
Additionally, when I wasn't writing for work, I swapped binge watching for a book and managed to read 1.5 in the past seven days (I don't sleep a lot). I returned to my journal and penned some free writing, which is something I've missed and have been too lazy to commit to when using apps in excess. I enjoyed hikes and an afternoon at the beach. I climbed with the person I loved and puzzled to my heart’s content.
I gave my body the reset it needed to combat months of stress and I'm grateful for this experience; I'm grateful for the opportunity to unplug and give my mind and body the self-love it deserves.