The Social Media Diet
I nearly had a melt-down. I was beyond tired. I was working 12 hour days, not working out, not eating healthy, not reading books. Not. Enough. Energy. For the three hours of the day I was awake and not working (between the time I got home and went to bed at a granny hour), I was on social media. It was my routine; first I would check Snapchat (the juiciest), then Insta, and lastly FB because really, who cares about FB that much anymore. And by the time I was finished zeroing out my notifications, Snapchat stories and mini-feed - it had been a sufficient amount of time to refresh and start over again, because there were definitely more updates I couldn’t miss out on.
So back to my melt down. I had just gotten home after a long day of complaining clients, over-budget projects, stressed colleagues. It was just one of those weeks; I couldn’t possibly fit one more thought or ounce of emotion into my brain, I was done. During my Lyft ride home from work, per my usual routine, the first snap I check is King Kylie, snapping her hybrid Cartier/Rolex diamond-encrusted custom-made watch with the Bentley symbol on her steering wheel peeked from behind her wrist, while her supermodel girlfriends chuckled in the background.
THAT was the moment. That was the moment I had it. I work my ass off, have a great job, live in an awesome apartment in San Francisco, and I felt a tiny pang of jealousy because I can’t afford $50,000 watch…thoughts going though my mind: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. DO OTHER PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THIS? I’M SERIOUSLY PATHETIC. I live in a city with homeless people and homeless dogs around every corner, people with real problems, and here I am watching Kylie Jenner flaunt her goodies. It had to stop.
Serendipitously, the next evening I grabbed some rose and burrata at a super cute SF bistro (snapped that obvi) with my very wise colleague who was visiting from out of town. She’s one of the more intellectual and sophisticated women I know, the type who articulates everything well and studies in the evening (wish I had her discipline). After making her ears bleed from my ranting, she said ‘Nina, just quit social media for a month. Have you ever taken a break?’. To my surprise, I realized no - I haven’t. I have had either Myspace, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat - or a combination of a few of them, for the last 12 years. That’s like…. 43% of my life. I felt refreshed at the thought of giving it up for a month - it was a genius idea. However, Coachella was that weekend, so I started my fast first thing when I got back (duh).
Over the next month without social media, I noticed my mental-self morph and transition into a more relaxed person - and honestly, it was a breeze. It felt GREAT.
The first week I arbitrarily reached for my phone so many times during a TV show or movie to check something, strictly out of habit. That is pretty disturbing. All of a sudden it became a challenge to beat that subconscious craving – I’m stronger than you, brain!! To fill the social media sized void, I downloaded Flipboard. I created a board using keywords unique to my industry, personal growth, and management so that I could scroll through rich, fun-to-read content that was not social media and actually taught me things. So in a way, this was the replacement for my usual routine (I highly recommend this app!).
The following weeks got even easier, I literally gave zero facks about what people were doing, and posting. Oh you have a limo in Napa with all your friends and your outfits are all coordinated? Good for you, but I don’t care because I don’t see it! Typically, I’d be like ‘aw shucks that looks fun, I need go do something equally fun’, because let’s be real - social media is the most narcissistic thing in the world. Why are we all trying to show off what we are doing, and one up each other? And then comes the deep pondering questions…we enjoy sharing our fun outings, concerts, and trips with our friends - and I get that the most out of anyone. But when is enough, enough? When do we start over-posting to the point where it gets ridiculous? At what point do people start feeling bad about themselves or secretly feel left out because of what I am sharing on social media?
It was wonderfully liberating to clear my head of these thoughts for a month. At meals, my phone was put away. On a fun outing, I took maybe one picture and that was it. It was nice to simply enjoy the moments. And since my phone was packed away, I didn’t really care to check for messages either. Whatever it was, it could wait.
Of course, the month came to an end. I have social media back. The adjustment was slow; I was not dying to see what everyone was up to like I used to be. I still enjoy checking out what my friends are sharing and I occasionally post or snap, but not to the extent that I used to. Social media is like a Vegas buffet – it looks amazingly delicious and we want it all, so we indulge, and keep going back for more. Our eyes are usually bigger than our stomachs however, and all we really end up feeling like crap. When we over indulge in social media, we eventually end up feeling bad about ourselves.
I’m sure I will get sucked in again to the point of no return because let’s be honest - this sh*t is fun as hell. But for the mean time, I will hold onto the serene feeling of not needing it in the back of my mind, and keep my social media pages in the back of my iPhone. Literally, they’re on the third page so that I have to swipe to get to them (personal tip of mine for the lazy person).