30 Day Detox from Social Media

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Hello my fellow blog readers!  I have been meaning to get around to sharing my experience of going thirty days without my precious Facebook and Instagram, but life has gotten pretty busy.  I have written blog posts before about going without technology, such as my 10 days at my first meditation retreat and the weekend I turned my cell phone off, but this was a unique experience in and of itself.  It made me realize how much I look at my social media sites when I feel lonely and bored. It also made me feel closer to my best friends and family members because I actually spoke to them on the phone or texted with them more than just following their social media posts.  I am sharing word for word what I wrote in my journal during the 30 days sans social media and then there is a little recap at the end. I hope that this is beneficial and inspires you in some way, that is my ultimate wish in sharing my writing ☺.

Social Media Detox from March 26-April 26, 2019.

3/26/19

I noticed my first pull toward wanting to check my Instagram as I was going on a walk with my friend (I had just posted on my Instagram that morning and wanted to check on any “likes” or “comments” that I received).

3/27/19

Already feeling a profound emptiness when I look down at my phone and there is nothing-no text messages, no phone calls, emails, and definitely nothing to scroll.  Lonely is another word that comes to my mind.  Frustration, but that might have to do with PMS, haha.

3/28/19

My first full 24 hours without social media and I honestly have this feeling of freeness that I haven’t had in a long time.  This feeling of being more of who I really am and being okay with who I am. Happiest I have felt in a long while, a stronger sense of self-esteem, more confidence than I have felt in a long while.  Really doing well with self-care too! I ran today, meditated today, wrote three full pages in my journal, I spent quality time with a buddy, talked with new people in the town I just moved to, feelings of true presence.

3/29/19

There is a serious feeling of emptiness that I feel today.  The dopamine levels in my brain feel very low with no social media to excite it.  I have been reading my online horoscope and my hormone horoscope app (an app on my phone that informs ladies what they might be feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally depending on where we are at in our cycle).  Both of these apps have been on my phone for months, but I never use them because I am usually scrolling on my social media.

I took my friend to the Amtrak this morning and as we were waiting for her train, I reallllly wanted to check my social media, I actually felt physical pangs of frustration in my chest when I realized I couldn’t scroll.   I ended up reading a book instead, which is great because I have been trying to finish the book for months.

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3/30/29

Most likely because I have had a friend visiting me for the last week (I relocated to a new city three weeks ago) and she left last night, I have felt a sense of loneliness today.  I awoke this morning to see nothing on my phone and sensed a feeling of dread/loneliness. My new job hasn’t started yet, so I have had much more free time than what I usually have.

3/31/19


I’m really feeling an emptiness today not being able to look at my social media.  I am really coming into the realization of how much I use social media as a bandage for my feeling of loneliness.  Also, I felt a little guilty today because I accidentally cheated last night when I met a new friend in town and he gave me his Instagram name, so I plugged it into Google and stalked his Instagram pictures for a few seconds until I realized that counts as being on social media.

4/1/19

My sister really triggered me this morning when I informed her about my social media fast (I explained to her how my friend changed the passwords on all my accounts) and she told me that I remind her of an alcoholic, that I sound like an addict and that she’s generally concerned for me.  It really hurt me and I told her that instead of labeling me, I need support and encouragement. I am going to take some space from her.

4/2/19

How interesting, the chapter that I’m reading in “Women Who Run with the Wolves” has a section in it labeled “ADDICTION” and I came across this great quote which resonates strongly with what I have been learning most about what’s needed with social media use: BALANCE. There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media, it’s when we become unbalanced with it that it becomes a problem.

“To alright all this, we resurrect the wild nature, over and over again, each time the balance tips too far in one direction or another.  We will know when there is reason for concern, for generally balance makes our lives larger, and imbalance makes our lives smaller.”

4/3/19

Having feelings of lightness and freedom.  I have been getting things done that I’d otherwise be sitting on if I had social media to distract me.  I have finished multiple books, got paperwork done for my move and for my new job. I also attempted to go to an open mic show at the chai shop down the street from me, but there was a sign on the door that it was canceled.  So I went home with no backup plans, but still wanting connection, so instead of going onto Facebook or Instagram, I ended up going onto my Couchsurfing profile and ended up surfing it for an hour…I totally used it as a replacement, haha, but still….generally felt good today.

4/6/19

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is at the strongest than it has ever been in my life.  I went solo-camping this weekend and ended up meeting these awesome folks; we shared drinks, a bonfire, stories, laughs, and s’mores all night.  At one point, one of the gals I met broke out her phone and had us put in our social media names into her profile so she could add us and we could all stay in touch.  I had to explain to her that she could send me the request, but that I won’t be able to accept it until April 26th due to my social media detox.  They were all fascinated and interested in my decision to detox from social media for a while.  Each one of them explained that they have been feeling the pull to get away from social media for a while as well.

4/7/19

I am realizing that social media is a big energy drain.  With all of the judging, comparing, and feeling the need to keep up with everyone.  Lately I have been feeling a lot lighter in the mind and have more energy for other things.  I have been super busy learning my job and hanging out with new friends, at one point this week I honestly forgot that social media was a thing….like, I forgot that it existed (no joke!!) until someone had mentioned it.  I honestly get stressed out when I think of re-entering the social media world.

4/8/19

Damn.  My feeling of guilt is STRONG!!  I went onto Google and looked up both my Instagram and Facebook to see if I got any new comments or like, as I was looking at my profiles, I thought to myself “You know damn well that you’re cheating from your 30-day detox right?” And then instead of beating myself up, I just observed my antics….observing without judgement.  Observing without judgement is such a powerful action, a practice that I’d like to try and do more often.  Also, I just moved to a new town a month ago and I only have a few friends here so far and to be honest…I was feeling pretty alone lately.  Anyhow, just wanted to come clean on that. Otherwise, things have been going pretty strong with the detox. I went camping, hiking, and worked this weekend.  I finished a book today, which I am pretty sure I’d still be reading for another couple of months if I was currently using my social media. I am still having this feeling of the whole world being at a party that I wasn’t invited to.

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4/15/19

Only 11 days left and I am feeling like I might stay off social media for good.  Things feel more simple, it feels like the 1990s again. The more I think about it, social media is really kind of freaky…..we stay in touch with dozens (actually more like hundreds and thousands) of people that we aren’t maybe necessarily meant to be in contact with anymore.  Also, all of the pictures are fabricated (filters, scanning through multiple pictures and finding the best one) and it’s always intended to get a bunch of likes so how real is it when we are really just trying to please people.  I dunno…just some thoughts.

The biggest takeaway that I got from doing this experiment, if you will, is that my feeling of PRESENCE with people in real life was so strong. I noticed how I was having these really lovely in-person connections with new friends and acquaintances and also my self-esteem skyrocketed!  It was such a relief to not have millions of pictures being thrown in my face of “See! THIS is what you need to be, do, and have to be better.” Instead, I was able to meditate, connect, and go within more to figure out what I was truly needing in any moment. Life became a little more real, my head hurt less from staring at a screen so much, and I really had some profound moments. 

The Magical Power of Touch Points

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Last winter after I resigned from my job and decided to head overseas for an adventure, I volunteered at a 10-day silent meditation retreat as a transitional activity to ease my mind and to get comfortable with the complete change in my normal routine that would be coming soon.  I had sat at a 10-day silent meditation retreat before as a student and I had volunteered half-time at another one, but I had never volunteered a full course.  I expected the usual hard work in the kitchen where about six to seven of us would start the day at 4:30 in the morning to cook three meals per day for 70-plus students.  While the work could be strenuous, it was fun to chat with my colleagues in the kitchen and have friendly banter. We also had three different times during the day where we were able to sit for a full hour and meditate with the students.

Soon enough my work-in-the-kitchen and meditate-on-the-side routine became very comfortable five days into the retreat, but on the sixth day that all came crashing down. The manager of all 40 of the female students took a nasty fall on some ice and all eyes (literally and figuratively) were on me to step in as the female manager as she ended up having to leave the retreat early.  I had no experience at any point ever in my life of being the manager of anything.  The stress of the situation felt very dense as it was the sixth day in and I could tell that many of the students’ mental states were being tested. The main female meditation teacher sent me on three different errands within the first hour of being the manager, mostly to help check in on girls that were having sickness or intense emotional trauma.

Just as with most big changes in my life, even ones that from an outsider’s perspective might seem small, my egoic mind started racing.  Not only were the thoughts in my mind racing, but they were crashing into each other like children playing bumper cars for the first time.  Here I thought that I was such a good meditator, but I figured out that this was a real-life situation where I was being tested on how skillful I had become with my mind. On the second day of being female manager, I almost had a sheer panic attack as I had to stand in front of 70 pairs of eyes peering at me as I counted to make sure that every female meditator was in the meditation hall and if they weren’t there I’d have to discuss with the teacher and go to find them.

I mentioned to the meditation teacher that second night of being female manager that I have an extreme fear of being in any spotlight, even at a silent meditation retreat.  I told her about how I was on the verge of a panic attack a multitude of times that day.  She had great advice which to this day still sticks with me.  Her advice was that as soon as I felt that panicky feeling come on, to notice my extremities.  She told me to feel where my fingers and toes were at the moment of panic or anxiety; for an example, right now I can sense my fingers tapping against this shiny keyboard and my feet…they are resting on top of each other on this cool pavement below me. It instantly brought me back into my body and out of my head.

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I have brought this tool with me throughout all the hustle and bustle of daily life.  I often get anxiety attacks in grocery stores.  Most recently I was at a grocery store on a weeknight around 6:00 and I was standing in line with crowds of people around me.  I had that familiar panicky feeling come on, where I felt as if the floor below me was just about to collapse and the walls were going to come down, but before that full on anxiety attack could hit me, I brought awareness to the extremities and was instantly calmed.  As soon as I sensed my fingers placed on the handle of my shopping cart and my toes were resting in my shoes that were flat on the shiny white floor, I felt soothed.  I am so thankful for learning this technique and highly recommend it if you struggle with anxiety or panic attacks.

Peace out!  🙂

–Ilona