Here’s Why and How to Do a Social Media Cleanse

Here’s Why and How to Do a Social Media Cleanse

Let’s face it. (Pun intended.). Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are the way of our world.

It’s great for staying in touch with what’s going on and keeping up with family and friends. Facebook and Twitter are how most people get their news.  It’s a phenomenal way to market products, services, businesses, events, and activities. It’s even become a way to meet and make new friends. Social media is how we connect.

Contrarily, it tends to have the exact opposite effect.  Studies reveal that social media can cause feelings of isolation and even depression. We start to compare our behind the scenes to others’ highlight reels. On social media, everyone else’s life seems easier, more exciting and…..obviously perfect.

Then there’s the flip side. We get flooded with negativity: opinions, experiences, and just overall bad vibes. How many times have you read a post about one of your connections losing a loved one or pet? How about those nasty arguments when you get sucked in to the comment vortex?  Or the worst, when you go innocently scrolling and come across unsightly, graphic photos of a terrible accident or injury? The list goes on.

I was so excited about a recent challenge presented in the first module of my 300 Yoga Teacher Training at the Center For Yoga with Jonny Kest. Along with many of my favorite cravings like wine, cheese (we follow the ahimsa diet), bread (gluten) and sugar, we were also asked to refrain from social media.

I was given permission (and strong encouragement) to do something I had been considering for a while. I often fantasize about what life would be like if I gave up social media.  Here was a chance to catch a glimpse! I learned a few things during my social media cleanse that I will share with you here.

1) Life is better in person. There is no replacement for quality time!  It was easy to fill the void with live conversations, with real, tangible people. I noticed there is so much life happening right in front of my face. Instead of randomly scrolling through threads I didn’t care about, I was more inclined to text or call a loved one instead.  Our 5 a.m. – 5 p.m schedule did not leave room for much downtime and it was great to simply reset, drop in, get quiet and be present with whatever was (or was not) going on around me.

2) Old habits die hard. Scrolling through your feed can be just as mindless as any other habit like biting your nails, playing with your hair or saying “um” and “like.” A few times, I caught myself opening the Facebook app without any premeditated thought or conscious awareness! It’s like driving a familiar route in your car; autopilot kicks in and naturally goes there. (See pro tips below!) It was a true breakthrough to discover that social media was more like a pacifier than a necessity.

3) Liberation is (literally) at your fingertips. Comments, likes and tags, o my.  It’s a good time to ask yourself what social media is doing for you. They say ignorance is bliss. While we may learn some important world news or information about a friend, taking a small break from carrying the burden of society on our shoulders is extremely freeing. I felt lighter, less stressed and yes, happier without social media.

Pro Tips

1) Have an accountability plan. Select a certain period of time. Be realistic if it’s going to be difficult for you don’t start with 30 days, try a 3-day. Buddy up! Invite a friend or group to participate with you. It will be good to have someone to discuss this with as you will not be able to simply post about it and see what sticks. You can learn from others experiences and share.

2) Just do it. There is really no need to make a huge statement. Let your close friends, family, and co-workers (if social media is a part of your business plan) know that you are doing the cleanse. Unless you heavily rely on social media for income and leads, just do it. If you need to stay in touch for business reasons, simply instruct them to email you for any needs and leave it at that! If social media is your only means of connection, consider having a backup plan should any of your apps go away, because they will go away one day.

3) Protect your space. Turn notifications off (including emails in social media settings!) Delete your social media apps from your phone. (See #2 above.) If deleting seems too harsh, you can put them all in a folder with a password and hide it on your last page. This really works. Put your phone away as much as possible. Bedtime and wake time can be hard, so just move it away from arms reach.

4) Preserve your hard work. When you do a juice cleanse, you likely don’t jump back into eating the worst foods for you right away. Don’t try to catch up with everything when you come back. Take this time to quietly observe, perhaps not even being super active. Pretend it’s your get out of jail call, what would the first and foremost information you would share. You can set timers for your social media apps that will alert you when you have reached a certain amount.

While it’s not likely that I will be packing my bags and moving out of the social media world any time soon, it was a great exercise that I look forward to doing again in my next module and will practice more often.

Jenn Bodnar

Jenn Bodnar is the owner of  Yoga Digest and has a genuine belief that yoga can benefit everyone. She is 500ERYT having attended multiple teacher trainings, facilitating yoga teacher trainings and studying and practicing yoga since 1999. Jenn is an avid fitness professional, who has taught and managed group fitness for many years. As a former competitive triathlete, gymnast and dancer Jenn loves the balance of strength, flexibility, perseverance and freedom that yoga provides. She is mom to three awesome young men and loves being active and outdoors with her family and friends. Jenn oversees LifePower Yoga studio in North Dallas, is a self proclaimed health food chef and hopes to leave a positive footprint by inspiring others to choose happiness. “Watching people grow through yoga is one of the most amazing miracles to witness.”

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