Back in April, I took a 3-day break from social media. I wrote an article listing the 7 lessons I’ve learned – click here to read it. I felt so victorious after those 3 days, I still remember the feeling! After 5 months and a busy summer, at the beginning of September, I took it a step further: 8 full days of NO Instagram and Facebook – the biggest time consumers for me. No TikTok either.
A lot has been written about WHY social media is so addictive. Between the dopamine hits, the hunger for validation, and the toxic culture of rewarding the idealized/fake Self, our brain stands no chance, unless we make a conscious effort to pause. I absolutely love social media. These platforms allowed me to connect and collaborate with extraordinary people and organizations from all corners of the world, for which I am forever grateful. HOWEVER, I truly believe that we lose ourselves in the never-ending waves of content and the need for validation.
As you read below, please don’t take anything personally. These are my learnings. I share them with you to challenge you to take a long break from social media and embrace your own learnings.
What I’ve learned in these 8 days:
- We have very few real, close friends. This is heartbreaking to admit but true for most of us living in Westernized societies. If you decide to do this experiment, pay attention to WHO is reaching out to you personally, via a text, a call, or a visit, and why. Who are your close friends? Who cares enough about you to check in on how your day is going? Who tells you: “I miss you. Let’s see each other soon.”
- We are ‘forced’ to face the real problems in our lives: broken relationships, toxic patterns of behavior, money issues, important deadlines, career goals, etc.
- We have much more time that we think we do, much more! We all complain of “being busy” and “having no time.” In America, “being busy” is a badge of honor. It implies that we work hard, that we are indispensable and irreplaceable, that we are important in the world. In reality, almost everyone is exhausted from being trapped in the hamster wheel. Mental and physical health statistics are the worst in human history, at a time when medicine, infrastructure and technology are the most advanced. Modern medicine, automation, digital communications, artificial intelligence, virtual realities, metaverse, they all promise “a better life”. And yet…
- We react more than we create. We like to think of ourselves as Creators. What a beautiful word! Instagram gives us the choice to even set up the account as Creator (excellent consumer research here!). Feeling creative, or identifying as a Creator gives us permission to ‘speak to our audience, to help other people, to be of service.” Noble and humbling, indeed. But I challenge you to monitor your activity on all your platforms and see how much time you create new content that’s useful to other people, and how much time you either react (likes, shares, comments) or post content that’s self-serving (for validation).
- We inebriate ourselves with a false sense of connection. Real connection happens in real life, with real people, when we are courageous enough to be vulnerable, emotional, in pain or happy, but together as human beings, not profiles.
- We invest more in what really matters: our kids, our partners, important work, sleep, exercise, time in nature, self-reflection, body presence, and mindfulness.
Why does it matter in parenting?
- kids model what we do, not what we tell them to do!
- kids feel more seen by us; our phones are our children’s competition
- we are more present in the moment, less distracted
- we become more playful
- we set a good example of self-discipline
Next steps for me:
- do this practice every other month, if not every month
- give myself “1 social media hour” every day, and not use it beyond this hour
- maintain No Notifications in my phone settings; I never had notifications activated; this is extremely addictive and disruptive for the brain.
- shut the phone down at 9 PM every evening; the Sleep mode on the Iphone is great.
I can’t wait to hear from you! Did you ever take a break from social media? What was your experience? Did you resonate with what I
wrote? Why? Why not?
Testimonial from a mom in my program:
“When I initially connected with Mihaela, I was not sure what to expect. I was trying to heal from a difficult divorce from a narcissist, dealing with the aftermath of broken pieces, all while trying to keep it together for my 5 year old daughter. I didn’t know how to handle the extreme aggressive outbursts, excessive tantrums, and what seemed like disrespectful disobedience coming from my baby. I felt defeated and not equipped enough to handle it.
Working with Mihaela made me realize that those episodes were my daughter’s cries for help. She is feeling the effects of the divorce as well because she is so young that she doesn’t know how to handle it. Mihaela has been amazing. She has challenged me to see things from a different perspective. She has helped me to realize a lot of the frustration or anger I was experiencing from others is just a mirror of what work I need to do, but most importantly she has helped me create a stronger bond with my daughter. I have learned better ways to deal with my emotions which in turn helps me to help my daughter with hers.
Mihaela is intelligent, challenging, thought provoking, caring, passionate, and supportive.
I highly recommend Mihaela and her Conscious Parenting program. Thank you, Mihaela for your continued support and guidance! Words cannot express enough the value you have provided to me and my daughter!”