Wouldn’t it be nice to start 2015 with a clean slate from the “extra” stuff in life that bogs us down instead of lifting us up?
I recently took a 30-day cleanse from social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) after laying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning for five hours looking at acquaintances that are classified as friends, friends of friends and then diving into “people you may know.” Really?
Those five hours did nothing to serve me, make me feel purposeful, useful or even happy. I was angrier with myself for wasting precious time instead of using it productively. With a lengthy to-do list awaiting me, I decided this was a habit I needed to confront and deal with!
When we get caught in traps where we find ourselves engaged in mindless activity that leaves us feeling empty, it’s time to “pause” and discover what life can be like without that activity for 30 days. This was an experiment for me with social media, but I challenge you to replace it with anything that is a time sucker, energy waster or emotional depleter. Keep your mind open to the new opportunities, possibilities, and self-discoveries that emerge from letting go.
Below are 10 elements revealed by my D.E.T.O.X. (Discovered Essence Through Omitting Xtras) experience:
1) No More Excuses
I make excuses: “I’m too tired, I don’t have enough energy, I don’t have time.” All are bullsh*t! When using those excuses, I would migrate to filling that time with social media reads, posts, or catching up on the latest news. After a few days of life without it, I had no more excuses.
2) More Time
Time is always available, it’s how we choose to occupy it.
3) Better Sleep
No joke! My sleep is erratic regardless, but there is definite truth to the research studies that show turning off the computer, TV and cell phone before bed improves sleep. I found myself wanting to get to bed earlier and in return was able to wake up with more energy.
4) Less Anxious
I didn’t realize how dependent I was upon social media to serve as a numbing mix. It is like getting a hit of mild anesthesia where the mind doesn’t have to think, but just function. I realized that feeling anxiety is a trigger for me to numb out and social media is just one of my many “fix-its.” Releasing the need to use social media, I became aware, took pause and asked, “is this serving me to learn and grow?” Since I committed to 30 days of this, I was determined to not fail.
5) New Meaning to Socialization and Actual Face Time
Authentic connections are felt when you can be in the physical presence of others. It’s an exchange of energy, facial expressions, body language and vibration that leave a lasting impact and impression. I found myself wanting to engage with actual people, sharing stories and laughs, rather that texting shortcuts and emojicons.
6) Heightened Curiosity
I took several trips to the library and downloaded books on Kindle with a thirst for new-found knowledge. I wasn’t growing from social media or in my idle time being challenged by learning anything of extreme importance.
7) Improved Awareness
There is a constant internal dialogue in my mind that fails to cease on a daily basis. Many times this dialogue is filled with doubt, fears and self-judgments that evoke feelings that I am not enough. Without the toxic feeds of social media, I became very aware of this dialogue, thoughts and how impactful there were to my everyday living. Without relying upon looking into the lives of others to feel occupied, fueled, and validated, I was able to turn my outward gaze toward my inner self.
8) I Can Cook!
So domestication skills are not my forte, however, having more time, heightened energy and curiosity under my belt, I tried a handful of recipes that intimidated the hell out of me. Instead of not having time to cook, I tied up the apron straps and enjoyed every minute of it. Some recipes turned out much better than others, but regardless, I took a chance to do something I was really afraid to do because I didn’t want to mess up or fail. Social media was a way for me to escape from tackling a fear of poor kitchen skills, when I discovered, I’ve had them all along.
By omitting the need to look into the lives, pictures and captions of others, I felt less judgmental and more accepting of myself. Social media provides an abundance of positive aspects however, happiness in life can resume without it. I lost sight of that. Happiness brings a shift of perspective, actions and indulgences. This was a kind of happy where I didn’t have to rely upon something (or someone) else to bring it into my life. It was up to me to make myself happy and let go of the reliance of everyone else.
I can honestly say that after going through this experiment, having the experience of doing more with less has allowed me to cultivate a sense of gratitude for the “connected” people in my life that I’ve taken for granted. These are the relationships that have weathered the storm of time, indifference and circumstance. By pulling away from a quick fix of gratification and fulfillment by numbing out to social media, I have learned the importance of true value for those that matter most in my life.
Dealing with flaws, inconsistencies, and imbalances in life sucks. It’s hard. It can feel defeating. When urges arise to give into habit without being conscious of the effect, it is a tough space to occupy. Life is not always happy.
A lot of the time it can feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut, torn apart and left to the unknown. But that is the piece when the magic happens because only you can do the work to create, allow, and be the change for growth.
As mentioned before, if social media isn’t the root of a “quick fix,” then what is?
Approach 2015 with a committed intention of taking a look at something in your life to discover your inner heartstrings. How can you let go in order to connect with the essence of who you truly are after 30 days without it? Or, to flip the perspective, what can you bring into your life for the next 30 days?
I would love to hear your discoveries of the D.E.T.O.X. experiment!
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Author: Christy Curtis
Apprentice Editor: Molly Ruby / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski, Flicker, Author’s Own