Worth Living Ambassador Ruairi McEnroe
My name is Ruairi, an ultra-runner from Ireland.
My Social Media Break
I decided to take a social media break on June 27th after reading about digital detox as I was interested to see the effects. Let me start by saying I did not grow up with mobile phones coming from the landline era and before that, calling cards! I got a phone in my late teens to keep in contact with family if I was out and about.
My daily routine is that I would normally wake up at 6am to feed my cats and go into the kitchen to make breakfast while scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and the news of the day. It got to a point where I was sharing too much of myself on Instagram, at least that is how I felt. It can be very hard to keep up with everyone that you are following and have some kind of invested interest in.
I do use social media for work so it was not a total detox but kept my interaction at a minimum and allowed other team members to work on it. I also tapped more into my meditation practice, left my phone at home when going out for a run (instead of bringing it with me to get that perfect Instagram picture) and started playing Scrabble again. I connected deeper with my spiritual side learning about the dharma and the Buddhist way.
I often did a lot of nothing, why not? You don’t have to be always on the go and doing something. There were times I would get the feeling that I missing something or FOMO (fear of missing out) but those were later unfounded.
Some closing thoughts. Instagram is great for making connections. I have met a lot of lovely people that I would consider friends but you have to consider this; you are inviting people into your space, your personal space, and you have to be okay with that. You should be careful what you share and wary of the consequences should there be a backlash. The barrage of motivational quotes, telling you the way you should be feeling, so-called “progress” pictures, people who swear to you they wake up looking like a million dollars, and many other downsides to social media can be detrimental to your health. I am not suggesting that you quit social media but take a break now and again to see how you feel.
It has opened my eyes into how much time I was spending on it. The good thing is, for me, the habits of checking feeds multiple times a day went away quickly so I found other things to do during that time before my work schedule. I encourage you once again to give it a go.
One final point is that I found much more control of my social media networks when I decided to log in again. I didn’t scroll through to see what I missed but much like a meditation practice, I decided to ‘begin again’ like it was all new to me.