I’m not sure what day it is right now on my social media detox. I woke up to the WiFi being out, which happens every month because I always wait until it’s turned off before I pay the bill. I guess I could set a reminder for when it is due, but the reminder comes each month in the form of it being shut off. Normally, I just pay from my phone and it gets turned right back on within minutes, but my phone also ran out of cellular data, so that is not happening today.
I will have to walk to the OXXO, which are small convenience stores in Mexico, by our house to get phone minutes added and to turn the WiFi back on. A part of me just wants to leave it off for a little while – maybe a day, or maybe a week.
My oldest, Alaya, has a dentist appointment today, which means I will need phone data so I can call us an Uber, but we can probably go without actually getting WiFi for today.
Sometimes, I imagine going to a remote cabin somewhere in the woods, surrounded by snow, and no WiFi. I’d have an endless supply of books on my Kindle for all of us to share, as well as board games, journals for writing, and arts and crafts. A phone would be needed just for emergencies, but other than that we would be completely cut off from the world.
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This is something Bill Gates does every year, but without kids, of course. I watched a video by my favorite YouTuber at the moment, Nathaniel Drew, on this ritual.
Maybe I’ll make that happen this year. Who knows, with all this COVID-19 stuff, though, if we will be doing any travel far from home before 2021. It hurts my heart to even say that. It’s been such a strange past couple of months. Add in my sudden decision to quit social media and I can say that this has been an unbelievably strange year so far.
Even though I don’t know exactly what day I’m on of this social media detox, I do know that it’s been close to two weeks since I let my phone die one evening. That decision then led me to decide to let it stay dead, so I could stay off of it that day. I felt so good and so productive by that evening that I did it another day and then another day. Now, here we are on whatever day it is. and my emotions are mixed.
I still feel so much better off of social media, but I also feel so much guilt.
It’s weird being able to read and write again, when before it was a true struggle due to my social media addiction. I’m already on my fifth book since the start of this social media detox. I just finished up Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism book which led me to start calling what I’m doing a social media detox and gave me the idea of making this thirty days of completely staying off social media.
At first I planned to still post and create YouTube videos, but after reading Cal’s suggestions in his book, I will not be doing any of that. At the end of the thirty days I will re-evaluate. This means that I will look at ways I can still interact with my audience without getting sucked into the negative side of social media.
When I first started my detox, I noticed that I was filling my time with stuff. I switched from scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feed to watching too many YouTube videos or trashy reality TV. I wasn’t ready to be still just yet. Being with my own thoughts is scary. It’s uncomfortable.
COVID was my first introduction to the discomfort of being with my own thoughts. In fact, for the first four weeks I fell into a funk that had me ordering take out three times a day, watching hours of trash reality TV, and feeling hopeless while drinking way too much wine.
Travel Is My Medicine
Even if I am not always traveling, having the freedom to do so is therapeutic in itself. Now, I can’t even look up flights and Airbnbs because no one knows when we will be able to freely travel again. Still, COVID has been a good and necessary thing for me. It’s made me focus again and get clear on the things that actually matter.
I never slowed down enough to do this before. Now, the whole world has slowed down. I’ve been through every emotion there is and I am sure you have too.
I’ve seen both the darkest of the dark and the lightest of the light. I’ve learned that the only way to make sense of the darkness is to dance with it.
It’s been uncomfortable. I’ve both embraced it and tried to escape it. Being more attentive with my time has forced me to look at all areas of my life. I’ve let go of friendships while going even deeper with others.
Not having the distraction of social media, that I used to have for hours a day, has made me really look at who I want in my Inner Circle. This includes the clients I want to work with, family members I want to build a deeper relationship with, and friendships I want to develop more.
Since being forced to slow down, I dove deeper into my own passions and interests again, while helping my kids to do the same. We’ve have implemented rituals in our home to ensure each day is lived to the fullest with this new slow and simple life we are experimenting with.
An Evening Ritual
Our evenings look much different than they did a couple of weeks ago. Although my kids are not on a social media detox, they are on a electronic detox of sorts.
At 7 pm, everyone in the house gets off all electronics. This gives us time to get away from the harmful blue light that is emitted from electronic devices and ensure that we get a good night’s sleep. We usually sit together in the living room and chat about our day or listen to music, and then go for a family walk with the dog, with our required masks on due to quarantine rules here in Merida, Mexico. When we get home, we get ready for bed.
I turn on the AC in my bedroom to a cool 67 degrees Fahrenheit. After brushing our teeth, my oldest, Alaya, typically reads us Harry Potter until we blow out candles or turn off the lights and go to sleep.
We try and not use any lights in the evening if possible, except for a small night light for reading, and candles.
Win The Morning. Win the Day.
Our mornings are also drastically different than they were a few weeks ago. No longer do I reach for my phone first thing in the morning. In fact, my phone, as well as other electronic devices, are not in my bedroom at all while I am sleeping. In the mornings, I naturally wake around 6:10 as of now.
I brush my teeth, splash cold water on my face, drink a cup of water, and head downstairs to take the dog on an early morning walk, ensuring to get at least thirty0 minutes of sunlight in before 8:30 am, This is when the sun is most beneficial to your body’s natural circadian clock. This will help you sleep better in the evenings.
Once I get home, I make myself a cup of English black tea and while it is steeping, I do a few squats and sit ups with weights. Once my tea is ready, I sit down and read. Every once in a while, I will journal before I start reading, but usually I am too excited to read so I just start with that.
Currently, I am reading Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. Actually, most of the morning and evening rituals I just described came from reading this book, so check it out if you want to learn good sleep habits.
I read for a few hours as my kids make their way downstairs to the living room, and do various non-electronic activities like playing guitar for my oldest, playing with playdough or dolls for my youngest, and usually playing with the dog for my middle daughter. Sometimes, I even read whatever book it is I’m currently invested in out loud for everyone to hear.
My girls even listen sometimes, before they get bored and break out a game of Uno on the table nearby.
I read for a few hours. At some point during the morning, I will finish my cup of plain black tea and then make a cup of black coffee. I make sure not to add milk or sugar so I don’t spike my insulin too early in the day. This allows my body to stay in a fasted state until I eat lunch around noon.
At around 11:30 am, I stop reading and begin preparing my first meal of the day, which is usually lunch for my kids by that time. They eat breakfast when they wake up.
My breakfast consist of leafy greens, some sort of protein, and raw veggies on a normal day during this new morning ritual. It used be a big cup of delicious, creamy sweet whipped coffee and a smoothie. Getting off social media as well as decreasing usage of electronics in general and reading more books has lead to me making better food choices.
A New Way Of Living
A can’t even begin to explain how beneficial this social media detox has been so far for myself and my family. We all get to reap the benefits of a new happier, less stressed me. I am grateful for living in this peaceful city abroad, which encourages a slow simple life and allows me to continue doing work I love, while not having to sacrifice things I am interested in as well as my own passions.
My hope is that you try your very own social media detox. Start with reading Digital Minimalism and then go from there. Send me an email or write in the comments how your thirty-day social media detox went. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!