Most people use social media as a place to show how good life is. I am guilty of it myself. The truth is no life comes without its hardships and that is often forgotten with filters and the right angles. If you were to take a look at the photos above you would only be seeing the smiles and not the story. I want to dig into what was going on in reality vs. what you might see in one glance. The first photo shows me in push up position with abs I never knew existed. You see, at this time, my mind was so distorted that I didn't see someone who was fit. Instead I only saw imperfections and was fighting to make those disappear so I could be happy. Yet, I never found happiness with that mindset. Once I stepped away from my obsession and turned towards what really matters, God, I was able to love who I am. The next photo shows my dog, Noah, and I taking a good old fashioned car selfie. However, what isn't seen is the fact we were fresh out of the vet where his doctor was taking a look at his progressing cancer. A few weeks after this picture he lost his battle. Following that is a photo of Braden and I on our one year wedding anniversary. We both are smiling (Braden is still learning how to), but what no one would know is that we were in a fight about an hour before and an hour after the photo was taken. Finally, is a photo of Braden with a creepy mustache and me tired, but looking happy. If this was posted people might think it was just a random daily selfie in the midst of enjoying life. However, in reality we are sitting in the ER waiting for me to get an emergency MRI. At this point, I was in the midst of radiation and suddenly experienced increase brain pain. These are only a few pictures of many I could post. While I try to pretty transparent with what I am going through I still have times when I would rather post the "perfection" and leave the mess behind.
On countless occasions, I have heard to not compare myself to the highlight real of other peoples lives on social media. That people only show the good and there is so much more we do not see. Like I shared above, this is a completely true statement that I agree with and even used to say to my students. However, this does not make avoiding comparison any easier. Even the "Instagram vs. Reality" pictures are crafted in a way of perfect imperfection. So what are we to do?!
Unfortunately, I am not sure I have the magic answer because from what I can tell social media is here to stay. That being said, I have learned that I have the power to let that it all control me or the power to control it. This is why I have come to find these rules so important when it comes to my social media use.
1) Time Cut Off: I make sure that once Braden gets home that my phone goes and stays on the charger. I typically will answer texts, but even try to keep that to a minimum. This allows us to have uninterrupted time. Sadly, it's instinctual to reach for my phone, but now with it out of grabbing range I have solved my problem.
2) No Phone Zone: There is one area in our home phones are just not allowed and that is the bedroom. Our charging station is in our living room far away from our bedroom. This helps us not only sleep better, but read more. Instead of scrolling before bed, we can spend that time reading.
3) Home Screen Essentials: On an iPhone you have multiple screens for apps and folders. On my phone I have made it so my first home screen is the essentials. This includes my Calendar, Clock, Reminders, Notes, Photos and Camera. All other apps start on the following screen page. This way when instinctually I go to open Instagram, Pinterest, or another time sucking app, I have to intentionally seek it out. This allows me to process what I am doing and rethink this decision.
4) Monthly House Cleaning: Roughly once a month I filter through people I follow on social media and unfollow accounts I feel are unnecessary to be following. For whatever reason, they are stirring up unhealthy emotions within me. Most of the time it's at no fault to them, but to have a healthier relationship with myself I find it necessary to control what I allow within my daily information field.
5) Sabbath Day: Now this is one Braden and I haven't implemented yet, but we want to start once a week disconnecting from our phones all together. Our goal is to leave it on the charger for the day and not engage in any work. This will allow us to be truly connected to one another and disconnected from the distractions of the world.
6) Delayed Connection: Just like I have found it useful to not end my day with phone access, I have also found the importance of delaying phone use. Typically I start my day with devotional/journal time and then follow up with heading to the gym. During my morning routine I like to stay off my phone. My goal is always to wait until the gym to use it. Even then it is usually only to open up a podcast.
7) Set the Timer: If you weren't aware iPhone has an app timer. The timer will sends notifications when I have been on a certain app for a specific amount of time. Now this still takes some willpower because I can dismiss it and continue using the app. However, bringing this awareness into my brain allows me to think instead of mindlessly scrolling.
Hopefully a few of these ideas can help you start to do a detox from social media in your life! While breaking any habit it not easy, especially with something that is such a large part of our society, it is always worth it. It will cause you to constantly bring your awareness back around the issue and redirect your path. The good thing is doing just one of the methods mentioned above will help. If you find it to be too difficult to stick to one, I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits. This book definitely gave me a new perspective on how to approach habits.