WHY would I do such a thing and go off Facebook, you might wonder? The Social Dilemma! This is a documentary that absolutely convinced me that this is what I want to do. Not that I was a big "user" and I wouldn't even call myself addicted (at least, not entirely!) . . . I felt compelled to try it for at least a week. Here is how it went!
I spent a good ten minutes turning off all of the notifications. This is one of the documentary's key main points: We are addicted to receiving notifications! I was definitely surprised by how extensive and detailed this process was - - to simply turn them OFF. So many details/styles of notifications! After that was done, I remembered Instagram . . . and while my account isn't a big one, it still should be considered a part of the detox, so I turned that social media app off as well. The documentary tells us to turn them ALL off! (And for good reason - - I highly recommend watching!)
My initial reaction for this morning was, "Wow, it's so quiet!" and the reality of not checking and answering my notifications as a part of my daily morning routine began to set in. The thought crossed my mind: What else would I do in the beginning of each day that could give me that same kind of reassurance: I matter! My meditation practice feels like a separate category. I guess I will have to learn how to give that to myself on a regular basis!
My workout on the eliptical was difficult! Usually I would pass the time by scrolling through my newsfeed, reading friend's updates, checking in on groups and the latest happenings, or getting caught up on news bites. No more. Instead, I had to find my mental "zone." The minutes ticked by slowly.
I begin my plan with substitution: I receive the two new books I ordered and begin reading them. And I continue with the plan to work out every day.
Today, I am noticing my feelings more than usual. In fact, I had a pretty good wave of grief pass through and found myself weeping. It felt good to release that.
Lunch time meals that included scrolling now happen without that, and so I focus more on the process of eating the food. Enjoying the way it tastes. Feeling the spaciousness of the moments.
I begin to worry, whether my friends know or not - Do they know about my declaration? Will they miss me? (haha) So I send out personal texts to let them know. Then I worry about what I might be missing from their posts. Only those thoughts didn't last that long, haha. I know I can count on our friendship. And the ones that don't, are simply not meant to be. I recall how certain friends have gone through several struggles around friendship on facebook vs friendship outside of facebook. The whole concept of friendships is reviewed in my mind and felt in my heart.
More reading. And another work out.
Today I am really missing the morning notification routine. I feel like I NEED that scrolling sensation . . . and that answering notifications sensation. In the documentary, The Social Dilemma, we are informed how these simple acts of behavior were designed to give us doses of Seratonin. Specifically called, "Intermittent Positive Reinforcement." It's a foggy morning and I realize I need to do something to clear my brain fog. I decide to work out and the routine goes much easier than before. Instead, I get a more natural boost from Endorphins.
More reading. It feels satisfying.
Today I begin reading the news. Whaaaat? Usually, I try to avoid the news and would receive what I need to know on Facebook - it would inevitably find me. I subscribe to the local paper and read some of the articles online. One article in particular is fascinating and gives me a boost of something that makes me feel good.
I notice that my emails seem more important now. And I find myself reading them more thoroughly. Instead of a quick scan, I actually open up the city council reports and read them. Interesting things my city is going through!
I also feel the desire to begin some creative and home projects. I even feel the desire to organize my garage!
My workout flies by.
Overall I get a sense that I can get used to this.
I miss my morning notifications routine. I begin to think about Friday - the day I have told myself I can get back on Facebook. I look forward to it. I go for a long walk.
My Sufi mentor/guide talks about the documentary too! He shares the importance for us all to pay attention to the message it provides.
I'm looking forward to posting tomorrow. I go for a long kayak/paddle and feel it's rewards immensely, and I'm excited to share my video/photos of it on facebook. I feel excited to catch up with people. And I contemplate how much time I want to spend on facebook.
I get my teenagers to watch the documentary. One is complaining (the one who is addicted the most) and the other is taking it in like a good meal. After the movie is over, one goes right back on his phone. The other does not. Later, he tells me with a smile, he feels inspired! And he goes to bed with a good book instead of his phone. I feel somewhat gratified. And wonder what it will take to get the other one to decrease his screen time . . . willingly - without my rules and regulations. Personality differences seems in great stark contrast to one another tonight.
Hooray, it's facebook day! I get to go on, but I don't . . . Instead, I choose to write up this blog and, it's past my morning routine craving time! I find more pleasure in the sunshine and my cup of tea. And although my head feels heavy from not a good night's rest, I manage to delay the gratification. Now as I near the end of this article, how do I feel?
I feel hesitant to go on facebook. Almost like it's a daunting task ahead of me. Something that could trap me and hold me hostage. I do my self-check: Do I NEED to go on facebook? The answer is no, but after all this anticipation of going back on, my mind wants to follow up. Ridiculous. I don't even miss what is on there. I DO however, miss my groups and wonder what gems are inside . . . My body relaxes. I got this. I remember I am in charge - not the facebook robots. At least for now!
Will I go another week off facebook? I am feeling it. Yes! So while I was not a "heavy user" of facebook (and Instagram even less), I DO feel like I could use more time off. And I suspect others that spend more time on them than I do will have greater detoxing effects. So, just be aware. Being aware and more present is the overall feeling I have now in my life. And it's the key to knowing what we need!