Hi everyone! Welcome to another episode of the Spiritual Alien Podcast.
So, to continue this series to help you Get Your Shit Together, this fourth episode is about detoxing from social media. Before I even start I want to say, get ready for more micro episodes like this one. People consume content better when it is given in small batches, especially when there is so much going on in our daily lives, and it is my intention to give you the best content in a way that is easy for you to digest.
Alright, getting back to the topic of detoxing from social media, when you think about it, it’s the dumbest thing ever but apparently it is a very real problem in this world — a first world problem, may I add, that affects more people than we think, and maybe, this might include you as well.
You spend endless hours on your phone or computer scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed, or Instagram, or Twitter, or watching lots and lots of videos on YouTube and then not applying the knowledge from what you just learned — or maybe you just waste time watching series that do not really feed your brain with useful information, you know the drill. Or how about this for a scenario that hits even closer to home; you listen to podcasts like mine for inspiration, but you don’t apply the information given into your life. Sounds familiar?
This is exactly what was happening to me with one thing in particular…the damned Facebook feed. Whether on campus, at the bus stop, or the mall, and especially at home, my eyes would be glued to my phone screen, scrolling away to find some tea or some memes.
There was a day when I woke up and reached out for my phone, as I always do every single morning, and I started scrolling through mindlessly once again to see what’s new and what happened while I was sleeping. But something felt different. A familiar feeling was returning to the surface.
I felt a void within me, I felt dissatisfaction no matter how much I tried to entertain myself with this app, not to mention the extremely toxic content I always came across each morning like politics and religion and everybody clashing with each other, arguing and comparing, competing and humiliating, hating and rejecting. It all became so evident and so clear, that during the afternoon I deactivated my Facebook account. I acted without thinking. I did not decide, I did not tell anyone of my plan, I didn’t warn people about what I was about to do. I simply did it.
My intention at the time — around late April — was to leave for 24 hours. During the evening I kept clicking Facebook on my browser to check my feed only to be confronted with the homepage, likewise on my phone. I would close the Facebook tab on my browser and lock my phone again to continue with my homework or with a commission. It happened again during the night for a third time, until my brain finally got the hint, and the need as well as the desire to check came to an abrupt stop.
On the third day without Facebook, I was visiting my primary doctor. I shared with her for the first time in my life about my struggles with depression, anxiety and suicide. And I understand this will shock some of you who have never heard me mention the S word. As the conversation proceeded, she asked me if I had any goals and I shared some with her, one of them being my current challenge at the time to myself of staying one week away from Facebook and that I was on my third day. Her eyes lit up and she smiled, congratulating me for taking that one step, followed by an interesting question.
“Did you know that in order to break a habit or integrate a new one, it can take up to 21 days to do it?” I nodded.
“Yes, I kinda heard something like that, however I don’t think I can do it that long.” I winced at her and she giggled.
“Come on, I know you can do it. You’re already on your third day when you were only going for 24 hours, so I am sure you can do it! Push yourself to reach one week, and then see how you feel. It’s ok if you return, but you will feel so accomplished for going beyond what you originally intended!” And so I thought about it after returning home. Her positive energy, optimism and how she believed in me when I didn’t, and thinking about the Why of why I was doing it on the first place all reinforced me to continue.
But that night, I felt so fucking stupid, my feelings of self-hatred were resurfacing, I was scared of opening up to her about my depression, anxiety and so forth, yet I did and I had no idea how to feel. The idea of telling her about my Facebook detox felt so dumb to me after telling her that I felt embarrassed as fuck. I thought to myself that there were so many other issues in my life that were more serious, as well as in the world.
However, the issues in the world did not mean that my problems were irrelevant, that my mental health was irrelevant, that my own existence was irrelevant, so something within me clicked and switched.
Days went by and I became more and more creative. I was no longer unconsciously checking Facebook on my browser and my phone only to be confronted by the homepage. I had more time, I felt more organized, I felt clearer. My mental health was improving, I no longer felt angry and wanting to fight someone. Sure, the depression is still there, it is not something you just get over with, however it has nothing to do with social media, but social media triggered it from time to time, so I felt more at peace when I was away.
Some people will take longer, or even less than myself during a social media detox. In my case, I broke the habit within the first week, but I decided to continue and complete the 21 days. So, to summarize a few of the benefits and improvements that I noticed from my 21 days away from Facebook, here’s a list:
- Better night’s sleep
- Increased mental focus
- Increased creativity
- No phone check-ins every 5-10 minutes
- More time to do things that I enjoy
- More sunsets to enjoy
Again, these are just some things I noticed back in April when I did this, there could be more or less for you if you decide to take on the challenge. Now, you might wonder, did I ever get bored? Yes, I did. Because I had plenty of time to do other things, but then I wondered what could I possibly do for fun? So, by not having social media as a distraction, I was able to redirect my focus towards other things. By being bored, I forced myself to think of something to do for fun other than checking Facebook.
This is where 3D art, painting, sketching, writing and gaming came to my awareness. Also spending time with my family, which I never do despite living with them, due to University and the projects that I have on the side. Social media heavily interfered last year with many of my projects and paid work, and after Connecting The Stars: The Symposium, I had to take a long break from socializing and just being out there.
My only New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to take it slow, rest more and socialize less, however, during the Spring of this year, I noticed that social media was beginning to interfere once again. But this time, instead of pushing through it and trying to juggle everything at once, I decided to rip out the root of the cause of my delays — Facebook, until I got my shit together.
And so 21 days went by. When I logged in and reactivated my profile, I must say I felt weirded out. I felt strange, out of place, different and detached from everyone. It took me about two weeks to get adjusted to the busyness of it all and to start socializing once again. I am an introvert, so I recharge by being alone, and coming back to a lot of online colleagues was something I did in baby steps.
Did it work? I would say yes, it did. However, this is not a one-time solution, though. So if you find yourself becoming attached or obsessive over your social media pages again after a social media detox, I would recommend that you repeat the challenge again. This reminds me of meditation and how you have to continue to train your monkey mind; if you can stop yourself from physically moving, you can most certainly stop your mind from thinking.
Now, would you do a 21 Days without Facebook Challenge? Perhaps you need something smaller, like a 7 Day without Facebook, or 1 Day without Facebook Challenge. Perhaps you don’t even have a Facebook and are on Instagram or Twitter, in which case unfollow people that don’t feed anything positive to you, people with dead accounts, people that make you compare yourself to them, your beginning with their goal, and you will see what a difference it will make.
Let me know if you do this challenge by commenting on my Spiritual Alien graphics across social media with the title of this episode, I would love to know if you did the challenge and what you may have discovered! Better yet, repost the graphic with the title of this episode and tag me so I can see it!
Don’t forget, that as always, at the end of the series you will receive your FREE e-Book checklist and guidebook which you can download and receive my occasional emails once in a blue moon.
So, that concludes the purpose of this episode, I wanted to thank you so much for joining me in The Spiritual Alien podcast, make sure you follow me on Facebook @ TheSpiritualAlien as well as @ZZ.ClairvoyArt, and on Instagram @ zionzeta.
Take care and I’ll speak to you soon!
This is Zion Zeta, always at your service!