A few weeks ago, I had a social media free Sunday. Now I do it every week. Here is how you can join.
What is it?
A social media free Sunday is probably fairly straightforward: no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, or any other social media sites for a full day. It doesn’t have to be a Sunday – it can be any day of the week that works for you. For instance, if you usually Skype your parents on Sundays or meet your friends for a night out, you might want to pick another day, when you won’t get tempted to go online.
You can start off easy by eliminating “scrolling” time or cutting down your “allotted” social media time that day to only one hour (or 30 minutes). But you can also make it more challenging by not chatting or messaging with anyone (e.g., through WhatsApp) or by eliminating “screen-time” altogether, which means no Netflix, YouTube, emails, or television for one full day. Now how about a whole weekend? Or a week? Or a few weeks every year?
Why should I do it?
Again, this might seem straightforward, but here are my reasons for eliminating social media for a full day each week:
- I find that when I disconnect from social media, I have more time in my day for other (often more important) things.
- I am more productive, but I also feel less stressed and more at ease.
- I tune in to my breath more often and remain mindful throughout the day when I am not distracted by notifications or the temptation to go online.
- It gives me incentive to go out in nature or connect with my friends in real life.
- My eyes feel better when I am not staring at my phone all day.
- I sleep better when I don’t use my phone before bed.
- It reminds me that social media is not real life and allows me to tune in with my own life, rather than looking at others.
- When I do go back online, I often feel more inspired, creative, and refreshed.
Going off social media, even for a short while, can also help quiet the ego (because we stop chasing those “likes” or “up-votes”), make us feel less competitive (because we stop looking at the highlights of someone else’s life), and improve overall mood. Additionally, when we are not posting everything online as it happens, we are actually learning to live more fully in the present moment and experience life through our own eyes (and other senses), rather than through our phone screens.
How can I get involved?
Some of us don’t even use social media, while others spend their whole days with their phone in their hands, but we all need some time off-line and off-screen. So just pick one day each week to not use social media for 24 hours. Don’t be harsh on yourself if you cannot make it a whole day or if you forget in the middle of the day and open Facebook or some other app. Be kind and patient with yourself and just do your best! A social media free day may seem easy for some and extremely difficult for others, but that’s what makes it so important.
You can also do the following things to prepare yourself for your (first) social media free day:
- Check out my Instagram page @maybemindful (obviously not on the social media free day that you pick!) or get inspired by other Instagrammers by following the hashtag #socialmediafreesunday or #socialmediadetox.
- Turn off notifications for all your social media sites in advance. For a more intense “detox”, you can even deactivate your social media accounts altogether.
- Make a plan for what you would like to do with your social media free day – remember, you have actually gained more time!
- Meditate at the beginning of the day to connect with yourself, your breath, and the present moment.
- Notify close friends and family that you will be offline for a full day, so that you don’t get tempted by notifications and messages.
- Finally, encourage others to join you for motivation and support.
The next social media free Sunday is only two days away! Who’s with me? 🙂