I gave up social media for a month. And I got shit done

September 26, 2016

Ok, it was only for twenty five days. And no, I didn’t give it all up. I kept Facebook because I never check it and who cares about Facebook anymore.

Instagram and Twitter though… I deactivated them because I had developed an unhealthy compulsion of checking them throughout the day. Whenever I was bored or found a pause in my thoughts, I’d suddenly reach for my phone. And as a person who struggles with an addictive personality (smiley wink emoji), I am the first to recognize addiction when I see have it!

Sitting on a bench

So, I went on a social media hiatus. And it was the right call because in the time that I was free of my vices, I managed to accomplish the following:

  • Explored my surroundings. I went on lots of hikes and enjoyed being in nature, breathing and simply being present.
  • Lavished more attention on my family and friends. I had more time to consider calling or visiting people in my life versus trolling random strangers online.
  • Focused on real photography. As opposed to taking photos only for the purpose of posting them online and garnering likes. I even took out my DSLR and took photos of scenes and people simply because I found them interesting.
  • Hablo español. I started taking Spanish lessons from a tutor. Podemos ver las olas desde nuestra casa!
  • Got my learn on. Speaking of lessons, I’ve also been taking courses that interest me, both online and IRL.
  • Finished ‘The Castle’ by Franz Kafka. One of the dreamiest and intellectually abstract books I’ve read in a while. Actually, I was reading a lot of in-depth magazine articles (hello New Yorker) and short stories this past month. I noticed that my speed and attention span for reading has dramatically improved. Probably because I wasn’t constantly being distracted by the itch to check my phone.
  • Got serious about fitness again. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. I’m not what you call serious serious about fitness. But I’ve been more committed to doing frequent workouts. I’ve also made progress with yoga and can hold headstands for like, ten seconds.

The hills of San Francisco

During these past twenty five days, I realized that the time I spend on social media means losing many things. It means losing lots of time, yes. But it also means allowing the deterioration of my focus and attention.

And more importantly, it means losing precious moments of stillness. The type of stillness that brings forth creative ideas, funny thoughts or at least a brief respite for my information-addled brain.

windswept

Now that I have reactivated my Instagram and Twitter accounts, I’m not worried about falling into the same patterns of compulsive checking as before.

I’m much more motivated by the clarity and focus that I developed during my hiatus.

What about you? Has social media taken over your life? And have you ever gone on such a hiatus?

4 thoughts on “I gave up social media for a month. And I got shit done

  1. Frenchie au Canada

    It’s so nice to see ou here again 🙂
    I love your dress with the yellow jacket and I’ve been looking for something like your black one with the white shirt underneath.
    And I loved Kafka when I was in high school, haven’t read him in years though. Well done for avoiding social media for so long as well

    Reply
    1. Kareen

      Hi Helene, thank you! I got the dress at a vintage store and I feel like a five year old when I wear it haha.
      It wasn’t a very long hiatus but I noticed that I was more relaxed and happier. I like unplugging for an extended period of time just to see what a difference it makes.

      Reply
  2. Rae

    Any recommended sites to take online courses? Are they free? I went on skillshare and coursera but most of the courses I’m interested in aren’t free and I don’t know if they’re good.

    Anyway. I started signing n off on twitter and Instagram. About a month ago. When I get an itch to launch those apps and find that I have to sign in, I’m reminded to put my phone away. Haha! My laziness wins over my social media triggers!

    Reply
    1. Kareen

      Rae, good question! It depends on what you’d like to learn. If it’s coding and techie stuff, there are many such sites. Code Academy has free courses. Udacity has lots of free pre-req courses (which is the level where I am right now). I’ve also been brushing up on math and science through Khan Academy (they have lessons on computer programming too). Hope you’ll find something useful through these sites.

      Haha, that’s a good strategy for curbing your social media compulsions. I wonder what extreme measures people have gone through to end their phone addiction… putting an electroshock button on their phones?

      Reply

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