One of the things I know about myself is that I am very sensitive to what I put into my body. I’m sensitive to the food I eat, what I watch, read, listen to, who I’m around, the places I go, and all the things that I consume. These things that I take into the body that need to be digested in a certain way and assimilated into the body. Whatever I’m consuming is becoming a part of me. When I realized that for food a long time ago, I realized that I didn’t want to be made of processed food. I didn’t want my body to be made of Big Macs and Coke. I wanted to be made of fresh whole food. of beautiful food that nourished me. Part of that is the way I feel.
When I used to consume Big Macs, sugar, or caffeine, my body would feel heavy or jittery and I’d feel like I have to move. I’m more irritable, more likely to react instead of respond, and then need something to calm my body down when the energy feels like it is too much to handle.
The same is true not just for food, but for all the other things I consume. I have often tell my students that I gave up food and alcohol as emotional buffers years ago, but social media is what I turn to when I’m stressed.
I watch how when I feel big emotions: anger, stress, or overwhelmed. I’ll turn to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter for a way to not feel whatever it is that I’m feeling. Recently I watched The Social Dilemma, and and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. It really blew my mind. It was the underlining of what i’d already been doing.
Lately, I’ve been back and forth trying to do less social media, and yet I struggle. Watching The Social Dilemma really pushed me over the edge. It was time to make a change.
Last weekend, I reached a point where I was ready. I realized I didn’t want my body to be made up of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s the fast food of information, and that’s not what I want.
When I consume social media, my body can feel jittery, or sluggish, or simultaneously, hyperactive. Typically, I’m using it as a way to numb my feelings or entertain myself. What I started realizing is there were so many of those 5 minute chunks that were stealing my life. Sound dramatic? It is!
Those 5 minutes were adding up to up to an hour (or more?) of my day that I wasn’t doing what moved me forward in my life. I started thinking about all the things that I kept saying I didn’t have time for, and in reality: I was spending my time in a particular unconscious way. I decided I wanted to take back that hour and decide what went into my body.
And looking at this from a Centered Wellness perspective, social media can have big implications on many of the different wellness bodies, some of them more directly and some directly.
Any electronic device, and especially because of the content on social media, the energetic wellness body can be interrupted by that tiny little computer in your hand. Phones and computers themselves are energetic, and when we are on them more often, it changes our energy field. In addition, on social media, we are tapping into the energy of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of people (if not more). We open Facebook and all of the people we are connected to and all of their people and the sponsors…it just goes on and on. It’s like showing up at a really big and active party that is on ALL THE TIME.
When we open our device, we are consuming energy.
If you have good energy management tools, you might be able to protect yourself somewhat, but in my own experience it is almost impossible to completely refrain from absorbing that energy.
Social media can also affect the emotional wellness body. Again, all of those posts and comments not only have energetic content, but also have emotional content. The grief, the sadness, the joy, anger, or fear are all present in just about any 5-minute scrolling session. When you open a social media app, you are consuming the emotional content that is there as well and then you are adding to your digestion load.
If you consume an hour a day like I was, that’s a lot of extra emotional processing that needs to take place! I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m already trying to streamline my to-do lists, not add to them! If emotions don’t get processed, they can hang out in the tissue and lead to physical pains, new beliefs in the mental wellness body, or energetic blocks.
The mental wellness body can be influenced by social media as well. Reading and consuming posts from that number of people typically leads to less attention on the thoughts. I’ll notice that my ‘compare and despair’ mechanism gets triggered more easily. I see someone’s wonderful vacation, or beautiful backyard when mine is less than pristine, and my mind starts telling me all sorts of stories about what I should be doing differently or why my backyard is a mess and what that means about me as a person. Ha!
All that triggered from someone else’s picture! More to process, more to digest. It’s like a firehose of information that is being shot directly at me every time I open the app.
All of this information, all that gets triggered, it takes up a lot of space in the wellness bodies. It requires digestion, processing, and sorting through, when I could just have the space for rest, or self-care, space for creativity, or productivity. There are so many choices that are available to me and yet, when I turn to social media as a default, I lose out on what I really want. So often, what I really want is to be nurtured.
Time for a social media detox
So last weekend, I conducted my very own personal experiment. I set limits on my phone so that I only had 5 minutes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the whole weekend. I set the intention with myself and reminded myself at the beginning of each day. I could access other things on my phone (email, etc) but not social media. I noticed that I felt better. I noticed that I had more energy. I listened to the audio book I’ve been wanting to listen to when I wanted to be entertained. I rested when I wanted to rest. I went to bed earlier at night. I had more energy. I noticed a huge difference. Because it felt so good, I decided to limit social media during the week to 30 min/day, and then 5 min a day on the weekend.
So I want to invite you to join me on a social media detox. I’m going to continue limiting my social media on the weekend and see how it evolves. You can start first with noticing: what are you consuming? Maybe your first step is to notice how much time you are on social media. Track it on your phone. Most phones have it built in so you can track the amount of time you are on social media and limit the amount of time. Notice how it makes you feel to be consuming each one, and notice what you are having to digest. You can write it in a journal, use an spread sheet, or just use the notes app on your phone.
And then, I’d love for you to let me know how it goes. You can email me or (ironically) you can connect with me on social media to let me know what kind of social media detox you are committing to, and how you feel after a mini-detox.