Social Media Detox: 5 Things I’ve Noticed in My First Week

Last week, after a lot of thought, I decided to give up social media for Lent. I don’t usually give up something for Lent or even think much about this season, primarily because I’m a non-denominational Christian, and my church doesn’t put a whole lot of emphasis on observing this tradition. But when I started reading about the origin of Lent and the idea of giving up something in order to focus more on God and prepare your heart for Easter, I wanted to participate this year. It wasn’t that tough for me to decide what to give up because I already knew I sorely needed a social media detox. It’s just been sucking me in way too much lately and becoming a time-waster and comparison trap when I’m not careful.

It was a little scary to sign off completely for  because I’m just so used to keeping up with everyone’s news, photos, and updates through Facebook and Instagram. I definitely second-guessed myself as I went to bed that night, and wondered if I was going to regret this decision.
However, by the end of the first detox day, I was LOVING this break. I couldn’t believe how freeing it was to be disconnected and unplugged from the internet world. 

Here are 5 things I’ve noticed from my first week off social media:

1) I really don’t miss it like I thought I would. 
In fact, I don’t really miss Facebook AT ALL. The only times I found myself really wanting to get on it were 1) to look for something on a “swap group” (buy/sell/trade groups are where I get basically all of Lydia’s toys) and 2)  to get on one of the “natural mamas” groups I’m in to get some advice. Other than that, I really haven’t missed anything about Facebook!

2) I do miss Instagram. 
I really love posting photos on Instagram as a way to chronicle our life with Lydia. For me, Instagram is like an online journal and I really miss posting photos from our activities and memories with Lydia. If I don’t put photos on Instagram, they just get transferred to my computer once my phone runs out of space and then they sit in deep, dark folders on my laptop and are completely out of sight, out of mind. 🙁  I love that Instagram gives me a way to keep all the major photos and highlights all in one place. So I will definitely be glad to get back on Instagram once these 40 days are over. 🙂

3) A lot of my Facebook friends aren’t real-life friends.
I used to have about 700 Facebook friends, which really isn’t a lot compared to what some people have, I know. But a couple months ago, I felt like it was getting out of hand and half the people I was seeing on my news-feed I’d only met once or twice or had no current contact with them. So, I went through and deleted 250 “friends” in one sitting. Of course, none of them were actual real-life friends. But even with my now 400-ish “friends,” I realize that many of them I never talk to in real life and have no real relationship with. I’m not trying to sound rude, but now that I’m off Facebook I realize how many people I really don’t care to keep up with via photos and statuses while never seeing them in real life. It just seems so fake and time-wasting, once I’ve stepped back and looked at it from a different perspective now.

4) My real-life friends are still my friends even without Facebook.
Imagine that! 😉 It’s been good for me to realize this past week that even though I might be “out of the loop” when it comes to Facebook updates, pictures, etc., I’ve still had plenty of meaningful interactions, conversations, and text message exchanges with the people who are my real-life community. The close friends I have are not going to forget about me just because I’m not on social media. It sounds silly to say, but it was honestly I secret concern I had when getting off Facebook especially. But guess what? I can get photos of my real-life friend’s babies via text messaging, and I can still stay up-to-date with the people I really care about through coffee dates and FaceTime.
I’m beginning to think Facebook just made me *feel* like I was connected to so many people when really the actual meaningful connections happen outside of Facebook and they happen with a core group of 10-15 friends, not 400. Obvious, I know. But that hadn’t fully sunk in for me until now.

5) I am so much more present without social media in my life.
Present in the moment. Present in conversations with my husband. Present while waiting in line at the store. Present with my baby while she’s playing on the floor next to me.
I never spent hours of time just scrolling on Facebook, but my issue was all the 5 or 10 minute increments here and there where I would be waiting for someone, or in line somewhere, or in between activities, or {you name it} and, out of habit, I’d pull out my phone and open Facebook to see what my 700 400 friends were up to. It really wasn’t uplifting, or a good use of time, but it had just become my habit somehow. Now that I don’t have that option, I’ve found that I’m way more present in the moment and engaging more in the world around me. Instead of being head-down in line at the store with my eyes on my phone, I’m noticing the people around me and actually having conversations with them sometimes. What?? What did people do before they had their phones to stare at in line? Maybe they actually made small talk with the people around them?? Crazy. 😛

All in all, I’ve LOVED this first week of my social media detox. It’s been freeing. Eye-opening. And revealed a lot to me about myself. I’ve got a lot more thoughts to share (literally; I have a 1,000 word blog post about my love/hate relationship with Facebook that is sitting in my Drafts folder… yikes. Long-winded, much? :-0)

…which I guess leads me to another thing I’ve noticed from my first week, if I can just tack this on at the end:

—> Since I’m not on social media, I’m spending my time in much more constructive ways. I’m writing a lot more; playing guitar; powering through books from the library like crazy. Even though my social media usage was (usually) just 5 or 10 minutes here and there, it all adds up, and (for me) it definitely created this underlying bad habit that I would get sucked into instead of spending my time on the things that really bring me joy and fulfillment.

Well, there you have it. My first week of detox has been incredible. I did not expect this. I thought I was going to be so frustrated at not being able to keep up with everything online. I was pretty certain I’d be bored a lot or feel sad that I wasn’t up-to-date on everyone’s pictures and statuses and what-not. I did not expect to actually love this break or feel lighter and happier because of it.  Who knows…I might end up getting “off the grid” altogether after this experience… :-0

February Goals Recap!

Hard to believe we’re already at the end of February!! It was a busy and fun month for us, especially with the amazingly warm weather we had here in St Louis for much of the month. We spent lots of time at the park, took Lydia to the zoo, and went on several family runs on the trails around our new neighborhood!

— after one of our family runs

My goals for the month kept me busy, and for the most part I was able to meet them! I did my 5 ab workouts every week and read – not one but 3 – books this month! I had to return my original book (“Love Your Life, Not Theirs”) to the library before I was finished with it, because someone had it on hold, but I read the other book (“On Fire”) as well as two other novels that I got from the library! I still want to get back to “Love Your Life, Not Theirs” at some point, though, because I really loved the first few chapters that I read.

Practicing guitar wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked; I only played twice on average each week. Hoping to improve that in March!

I tried two new recipes, one of which was this delicious Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce. YUM. It’s only 7 ingredients and they’re all REAL food which is what I love. Rob commented that he was pleasantly surprised by how much flavor this dish had; I don’t think either of us expected it to be that amazing since it was so simple, but it was really tasty!! We ate it with gluten-free brown rice noodles.

— our new favorite chicken thigh recipe, with roasted veggies on the side

I also found a {super simple} new way to cook chicken thighs: I sprinkled them with salt + pepper + dried basil and seared them for about 3-4 minutes on each side in some olive oil, minced garlic, and lemon juice on the stove over medium-high heat in an oven-safe skillet. Then I pour about a cup of chicken broth (did you know ALDI has organic, free-range chicken broth??) in the skillet and put it in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. The broth keeps the chicken meat so tender and the lemon juice gives it a little tang, which we liked. And Lydia couldn’t get enough of this chicken either!

Switching over our phone plan is a work in progress. I put this off for the entire first half of the month (oops) but finally got the ball rolling this past week and now we are just waiting on a few final steps to make the switch! I’m excited we’ll be saving money every month on our phone plan now!! It felt like we were paying way too much when we don’t even use that much data.

Our tech-free nights were awesome. We did this at least once, sometimes twice a week, and it was so good to take a break from our phones and Netflix and just read, talk, play cards, etc.
I’m hoping we can keep this habit up and even have more than just one or two of these nights each week. I’ve been a lot more intentional about not replying to texts after Rob gets home from work and even putting my phone upstairs or out of sight for the evening so I am more focused on spending that time with him. (He’s not a big text-er/phone person so he’s already really good about not being on his phone while we’re hanging out together.)

— napping buddies, catching up on sleep

One thing I really noticed from our tech-free nights this past month is that we were much more in-tune with how tired our bodies were, and ended up going to bed a LOT earlier! When we’re zoned out in front of a show on Netflix, it’s easy to just watch another episode and not really feel that tired, but when you’re away from the constant stimulation of the screen, you notice how tired you actually are!! There were *many* nights we turned off the lights at 9pm. Rob wakes up at 4:30am for work and I’m up around 6:30am with Lydia, so it was great for us both to get that extra sleep.

That’s the wrap-up from my February goals! I loved the accountability I had with these after sharing them publicly at the beginning of the month; it really kept me focused throughout the month since I knew I was going to check back in and report on how it went. 😉 I’ll be sharing my goals for March in the next couple days!!