Breaking Up With My Phone: My 7-Day Social Media Detox

Have you tried a social media detox?

Years ago…okay, it wasn’t THAT long ago…we used to have one phone in our home, maybe two if you were lucky. We couldn’t carry our phone with us – or at least not outside of the home. And, if you called someone and they didn’t answer, they were either not home or were otherwise busy.

If you were fortunate enough to have an answering machine or caller ID, you were able to know who called while you were out. Browsing the internet meant your phone wouldn’t work at the same time and you were met with a dial-up tone and a wait time that our children will never know. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but a lack of a phone in our purse or pocket when we leave the home is a foreign concept to most of us these days. It’s no surprise that the way we connect, communicate, and research has evolved in the last twenty-five years – screen time, blue light glasses, scrolling, and even the term social media didn’t exist in our vocabulary in the same context they do now. 

social media detoxI wanted to decrease my screen time, specifically on my phone. I wanted to be more intentional with my client, work-based social media time, and be less distracted by my phone in general. I no longer wanted to feel pressured to respond to messages as soon as they entered my inbox or messenger. Being intentional with family and friends was a huge goal of mine too. I had already taken the steps of turning certain notifications off, setting my phone to “sleep” on a daily timer, and putting my phone on vibrate. It helped, but I needed more. I wanted to be the one to choose when I consumed social media, not the other way around. 

I had a social media problem. it was time to detox. I was overwhelmed by it. It fed the “Mom Guilt” . I was over it, but how was I supposed to quit something that was so closely linked to my business?

I had years of relationships that I had built and was continuing to foster – long-distance and nearby. I was grateful for social media and the relationships that I had made and reconnected with. The scales had shifted though; social media was controlling me, I was not controlling social media. This needed to change.

Enter my 7-day detox from social media. 

What justified social media? What did I do when it came to clients? Relationship building? I had to set some rules…err…guidelines. The older I get the more of a rebel I am and have found I don’t do well with set rules; except break them. — check out The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Fortunately, I didn’t use a ton of social media apps. I basically had Instagram, Facebook, and a couple of messaging apps that I used for work. However, I wanted to cut back on my overall screen time and the need to grab my phone. So I decided I would include my email in the group of apps that I was limiting. 

I committed to a full seven days – Sunday 6 am to Sunday 6 am. My biggest concern was the work component. I couldn’t just neglect my business use of social media for a week, but I could be better at setting times and limits for myself.

The hardest part about working from home is setting those boundaries! This is what I decided on for my detox:

  • Removing social media apps from my home screen.
  • Turning off all notifications for social media apps. 
  • I set designated times to respond to messaging apps as “office hours” and posting content and relationship-building on social media. I was strict on this. For me, I set two designated times a day with time limits. I even set a timer. What I didn’t get accomplished got added to the next designated time. This helped to keep me intentional about the amount of time I spent and my intent for social media.
  • I used the Digital Wellbeing Settings on my phone. I have Samsung Galaxy, but I think most phones have something similar. I set screen time goals using these settings, sleep mode time frames, etc. **I had no idea my phone had a “Digital Wellbeing Setting.” So cool!
  • I also created a designated place for my phone during this time. I committed to leaving my phone there for at least one hour a day in addition to all meals and family activities/time. 

I think whatever guidelines or rules you choose for your own detox, you need to find something that will work for you and help you achieve your social media/screen time goals.  

At the end of the seven days, I felt like I had gotten some of my life back. It was just the seven days that I needed to begin creating healthy habits that revolved around my phone, setting work boundaries, and social media limits. I can honestly say that I did not feel like I was missing out on what was or was not happening on social. My screen-time total for social apps reduced down to an hour or less for the day. I was intentional about connecting with others, checking, and uploading content. I was no longer get sucked into the rabbit hole of scrolling with the app time limits in place. I will continue to adapt these practices into my daily life for more intentional “face” time and screen time. 

Have you given up social media for a duration? What tips did you find helpful for your “detox”?