A little over a year ago, I was lying on the beach with a friend of mine, Erika, and I was complaining about how I feel too attached to my phone. For the months before that and really since I started using Instagram as a platform for work, I couldn’t help but noticed the unhealthy relationship that I had started to develop with my little technology box. I felt the constant need to have it on me or in close proximity, but not only that- I found myself spending hours on end staring into the depths of Instagram. We’ve all been there, you say you’re going to get up in 10 minutes to do that daunting task on your to-do list that has been there for weeks and before you know it, you’re watching people cut bars of soap for 2 hours. Same. If you know, you know.
I hated the fact that I was wasting so much time in my day, for what? I was not any happier, or more productive; I didn’t gain anything from those hours of aimless scrolling. It was just time completely wasted, when I knew I had better things to do, as we all do. I would ask myself “What did I just gain from the last hour or two?” and all I could ever answer was “nothing.”
As much as I will take full accountability for choosing how I spend my time, let’s not forget that platforms like Facebook and Instagram have spent a fortune studying how to keep up on our devices for as long as possible. They’ve even gone as far as copying gambling methods to “ create physiological cravings”. If you want to read up more on this, you can check out these articles.
So one day, I finally decided I was done with the bad habit/pattern that I let myself fall into. I was going to reclaim my time and cut this toxic/dependent relationship I had with my phone. About a week later, Erika sent me an IG post from a health company called Vega, in which they were encouraging something called “#NoSocialSunday”. They showed graphics of people running, hiking, and other miscellaneous activities with the text “gone _____”, with the blank to be filled in with whatever activity they were doing instead of being on their phone. Needless to say, I found my solution.
So that was it. I shared with my followers that I was going to be trying it that week and the rest was history. I was hooked in the very best way possible.
I won’t sit here and say that it was a breeze, because the first few times it definitely was not. You quickly become aware of how often you check your phone, and let me tell ya, it’s way more than you think! It really is like second nature, where we don’t even realize what we’re doing, until were literally doing it. At first, it is uncomfortable. I would even describe it as a little unsettling. Like any addiction, you feel withdrawal. Some might say it’s a stretch to refer to the relationships with our phones as an addiction, and some may agree or even say that it is the best way to describe it. Whatever you want to call it, just don’t be in denial.
So yes, the first few times are uncomfortable, but like I always say (literally always, ask my friends), “What makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.” And growth it is!
By my 3rd or 4th #NoSocialSunday I was already getting better at resisting the urge to check my phone and every single Sunday after that got easier and easier. As crazy as it might sound, I could feel myself slowly but surely breaking away from this attachment, as if I was cutting pieces of thread on a rope. Each Sunday, a few more strands were snipped.
What are we so afraid of anyway? I thought about this question for a while. Why am I so scared to be off social media-even just for a day? I suppose there is this universal sense of missing out on something, FOMO if you will. After doing this practice for over a year I’ve realized a few very important things.
1. There is simply nothing important or urgent enough that we NEED to know, especially not on Instagram or Facebook. There’s just not. If it’s important enough, we will get a call or a text. If not, it can go unseen and the earth will continue to spin on its axis. Promise!
2. I think another reason people are fearful to give it up is because they don’t want to imagine the thought of not being able to instantly share/show off what they are doing. As someone with a photojournalist mindset, I get that. I’ve always wanted to capture moments and share them, since the MySpace days when I carried my little pink digital camera everywhere with me and made separate photo albums for every bar/bat-mitzvah I went to. I think that’s a natural tendency for most of us (wanting to share moments-not carrying a little pink camera). However, worrying about getting the “right” shot, or re-doing the video for a better one, or worrying about which filter to use, just doesn’t do your real-life experience justice. By distracting ourselves in these ways, we’re not giving ourselves the opportunity to be fully present to enjoy the moment for what it is. Think of all the times you’ve gone to sing happy birthday to a friend in a public place and before you know it they have a spotlight on them from the light of everyone’s phone. We’re all so worried about looking cool on social media that we don’t care about looking like idiots lost in our phones in real life.
Being able to fully enjoy and be present to any given moment, without feeling the urgency to capture it and share it with anyone…THAT is an empowering moment. You are reclaiming the moment for yourself or for you and the people you’re sharing it with. Isn’t that more special anyways?
When you work in the social media industry, it is especially hard to not capture these moments. Our goal (& how we make money) is by creating exciting and engaging content; things that will make people want to watch. There are times when I want to enjoy something with out recording it, but if I know it would make for good content, I feel guilty, or like I’m not doing my “job”.
With all of this being said, the beauty in no social Sunday, is that it is my free pass. My free pass 1 day a week to say, I’m out of the office. No matter what cool shit happens on that day, no matter who I’m singing happy birthday to, no matter how cute my outfit is, or how beautiful the sunset is, it’s for me and only me to enjoy. And that, my friend, is the true beauty of disconnecting from our phones, and reconnecting to life.
I hope this brings you some new insight, or gives you hope to see that you can be independent from your phone and it won’t be the worst thing in the world. In fact, it might be the best thing you’ve done for yourself in a while.
If you feel intrigued to give #NoSocialSunday a shot here are some tips that have helped me massively.
I hope you enjoyed this read, I’ve wanted to write this for forever now, and with some motivational help from recent podcasts, here I am getting it done. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and please share with your friends if you feel enticed. I’ll leave you with a favorite quote, and something to keep in mind for all of your daily adventures and endeavors.
“What makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.”
As always, Love, Livv.