Wake up to the sound of the phone alarm. Hit snooze.
Alarm goes off again. Okay. Time to get up.
Grab phone and start to check the usuals. Inbox. Facebook. Instagram. Repeat.
Get out of bed, get in shower, and get ready. Go downstairs and start making breakfast. Check inbox again, start mentally replying in my head while blender makes smoothie.
Finish making breakfast and my morning coffee. Take it upstairs and sit down at my computer. Eat breakfast while checking and replying to emails. Check facebook again. Check instagram on phone whilst also doing things on my computer. Question, what am I going to share on social media today? Post.
Start day of client sessions. In between sessions, check phone. Has anyone responded to my post? Check inbox. Reply to emails. Check instagram. Oh yay, people are resonating with what I have written. Self-esteem boost. Continue seeing clients.
End of the day. Sit back at computer. Check inbox, reply to emails. Check phone. Ponder, is there anything I need to share tonight on social media? Share something I saw earlier that I liked.
Go to the supermarket. Have to wait in the check out line. Check phone. What has the response been like to what I shared 5 mins ago?
Come home. Make dinner. While cooking, check phone. See what the response it to what I posted earlier. Watch TV. What I am watching isn’t holding my attention. Check phone.
Come upstairs, get ready for bed. Sit at computer checking inbox, reply to emails. Check social media. Chat online with friends. Get ready for bed. Get into bed. Check phone. Spend another hour online via my phone. So much for an early night.
Finally turn off my phone and try to fall asleep. Zzzzzz.
Morning comes. Phone alarm goes off. Check phone. Cycle starts again.
Hi my name is Sara and I am addicted to social media, checking my phone and managing my inbox.
This addiction was so well engrained in my day-to-day habits that I didn’t even recognise it properly until the other week when I was having a session with my healer and after ranting about all the things I was irritated about she said –
“Sara. You’re addicted to social media & technology. It’s time to get offline. “
Initially I resisted her suggestion. I become defensive. “But, but, I need social media for my business. I should be posting daily. I have to connect with my clients & students. You don’t understand” I observed myself and the language I used. “need”, “should” “have to”, phrases an addict uses. Phrases someone uses that feels they don’t have a choice. The light bulb moment happened. Jesus. I AM addicted to social media and technology.
All of the sudden I could see so easily while I find it so hard to switch off from work and why I had been feeling so suffocated by it. Even when I was in Bali on holiday two weeks ago and had my out of office on my inbox, I would find myself as I was back in my hotel having a “sneak peak” at the emails coming in. I would start mentally replying to them in my head, replying to some I deemed “urgent”. Umm, I was meant to be on holiday!!!
Taking a social media fast.
My healer recommended that I take a “media fast”. A few days off from checking social media, to get off my computer and to only check my inbox twice a day and not over the weekend at all.
So that is what I have done for the past week. I stripped back completely with social media, I have stopped psychotically checking my phone and over the weekend I had a technology free 48 hours.
It was actually a LOT harder than I imagined. I was home alone which made it even more challenging. No one to distract me. I found myself feeling bored for the first time in years. It took me awhile to realize what boredom even felt like. For someone who does enjoy solo time I realised I hadn’t REALLY been giving myself it. With all the extra time and didn’t know what to do with it. I felt lonely. Empty. Isolated.
I started to see so clearly how much my phone, my inbox and social media had taken a priority seat in my life. It really scared me. While I have had “phone breaks” here and there over the last few years when I had broken or lost my phone, I hadn’t really intentionally set out to give myself a conscious break.
I could also see how unconscious I had become in my usage. Why I had also fallen into the trap of feeling like I didn’t have “enough time” to work on the things I wanted to work on. Why days were flashing by me so quickly, and all felt the same. Why I was getting so irritated by client’s text messaging me out of business hours. Why I was so sick of seeing the same regurgitated content making the rounds on the health-wellness-spiritual pages I follow.
My anger had nothing to do with any of those things and everything to show me how bad my boundaries had become. How upset my inner child was that I hadn’t been spending enough time playing. How bored my inner feminine was with the hyper-masculine technology world. How I couldn’t really only get cranky at my clients messaging me late at night, or people expecting instant replies to emails – when I had set that standard and expectation.
Wow. What a huge revelation.
I can’t begin to explain what heaviness has shifted from me in the last week since realizing this. How much more energy, time and space I have. It had been there all along, right under my nose, but I couldn’t see it because my phone was always in the way.
Like any addiction, my phone and social media addiction has been a way of distracting myself, of numbing myself from certain feelings, to avoid self-nourishing and creating the important things I know I am being called to create. While I was so busy being overwhelmed with the noise of the Internet, I didn’t have to sit by myself and really listen to my own inner voice.
So what now?
I know it is very important to create much stronger boundaries around my social media usage. To make sure my relationship with it is balanced and healthy. Not addictive.
I think social media and smart phones really are brilliant. The way they connect people. The amount of information available at our finger tips. The opportunity it holds for small businesses, etc. However, like with anything in life its all about balance and moderation. Using it with presence and awareness, not unconscious zoning out.
To help me stay balanced and establish clearer boundaries between my work and personal life, this is what I have implemented.
- Only checking my inbox 2 – 3 times a day during the week during business hours. No checking my inbox on the weekends or late at night. When I do sit down to check my inbox I am bulk replying, rather than replying to some here and there and then finding myself losing hours of productivity.
- Every Sunday is Sacred Sunday. A technology free day. One full day each week to totally unplug. My intention is then to really consciously use my Sundays to get out in nature, catch up with friends and have fun, creative, relaxing time, just for me.
- Getting rid of the feeling like I HAVE to post on my social media business pages every day, and instead only posting when I feel guided and have something worthy to say. No more sharing the same boring meme’s and quotes that everyone else does. I want to focus on making my own unique content, information that (hopefully!) adds something of meaning to people’s newsfeed’s, rather than adding more noise.
- Keeping my bed a phone-free zone. No more checking my phone first thing as a wake up, and last thing at night. That window between dreams and awake is so potent for receiving intuitive guidance from your soul, I am honoring that space again. In the last week I have already read one full novel, and I can’t tell you the last time I have been able to do that.
- Checking Social Media 2 -3 times a day. Rather than every hour, on the hour. Oh my goodness what a difference this has made. I am more relaxed, I am meditating more, painting again, being downloaded with so much inspiration from my soul, I am feeling less heavy, I am eating better, moving my body more, creating more, writing more. LIVING MORE.
The above have been very simple and easy tweaks to my day that have created an enormous shift in how I feel. They may seem really obvious to some of you who already have good boundaries, for others, perhaps who also run their own business, blogs, and may be entwined in the same addiction I was I hope you may find some insight.
It can be so easy to become enmeshed in boosting self-worth with getting validation from social media. I love connecting with like-minded souls and sharing tools and inspiration that have supported me, and it is that love that has my business expand in the successful ways it has – which is why part of me really does love social media. But whenever we rely on external validation to provide worth it is only a matter of time before we become dependent on that hit, the need then becoming very destructive and you loose power. That’s the trap I had fallen into and I am so grateful to be consciously stepping out of.
Perhaps you resonate? If not with your phone and technology, is there other addictive habits you have ingrained in your daily life that provide a safe comfort zone to help you avoid change? There is such enormous power from unplugging from our unconscious habits and plugging into what is really important.
How about you? Are you addicted to social media? Are there any addictive traps you are finding yourself in that you are now breaking out of? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.