After a particularly frustrating few months, during which I felt less motivated and inspired than normal, I decided something had to change. I noticed that I had developed this habit of scrolling mindlessly through Instagram and Facebook when I was feeling particularly blah. And that this form of procrastination/distraction only left me feeling worse, not better. A snap decision was made on a Wednesday to take a week off of social media all together (I don't do well with moderation, in anything), from Friday to the following Thursday.
Here's how it went.
Day 1: Friday, October 20
Immediately upon wakening my thoughts were "Shit! It's my dog's 1st birthday and I can't even post about it on Instagram. What kind of dog mom am I?" 5AM, great way to start the day. Hopped in the car, headed off to teach a 6:30AM yoga class. My Friday morning ritual has been to stop by Beaming cafe in La Jolla post teaching, grab a chia pudding or overnight oats bowl to go, head to Windnsea beach to meditate, and then teach a 9AM class. The waves are amazingly rough today at the beach. This would make such a great Boomerang Instagram story. Wait. Aren't I supposed to be focused on meditating?
Morning gives way to an afternoon without commitment. I have work to do, but can't seem to motivate myself to stare at a computer screen. Also, Angelo is gone for the weekend and that always makes me feel a bit antsy. Instead I head to the local fabric store, pick up 11 yards of new couch upholstery and a staple gun and proceed to head home and attempt to reupholster our "new to us" couch.
How do you reupholster a couch? I'm not sure, but here was my method. Step 1 - take apart said Ikea couch and try to remember which screws went in where. Step 2 - wrap each individual piece of the couch like a Christmas present, apply staples liberally. Step 3 - sweat. Step 4 - admire your handiwork with a staple gun. Step 5 - attempt to rebuild your Ikea couch solo. Step 6 - realize you can't, wait until you friend comes by in the evening and make her help hold a couch together while you drill new screws in because you couldn't get the old ones to go where they were supposed to. Step 7 - sit in peace and comfort.
Not a bad first day. Number of times I accidentally clicked on the Instagram app icon? ONE.
Day 2: Saturday, October 21
As with most Saturday mornings, this one begins with a trail run with some awesome friends. Except this time's a little different. It's the Triple Trail Challenge - a semi made up race that my friend Nick Isabella and I have put together. A solid 25 or so people show up in the dark at the bottom of Cowles Mountain at 6AM to run a 9ish mile course that climbs to the top three separate times, totaling over 2000 ft of elevation gain. It's the perfect morning for running.
I can honestly say this was one of my favorite runs in a very long time. From pushing myself up the mountain to trying my best to stick with some other fast folks coming back down, I had a blast. I ended up taking 3rd place female and have a perfectly good photo to prove it...but nowhere to post the photo. Hm. This feels weird. Luckily I do get to post the run to Strava. Does Strava count as social media? I'm not sure, but I'm not counting it.
After getting home and taking the pup for a walk I found myself feeling extraordinarily tired. Beginnings of a cold? Or just feeling the effects of a hard workout. Unsure, but I napped the afternoon away anyway.
A really exciting Saturday evening consisted of reading an entire book. Yup, the whole thing. ROOM by Emma Donoghue was fascinating, sad, emotional, scary, and impossible to put down. But did make for some weird dreams that night. Note to self: don't read scary books when you're home alone.
Number of times I accidentally clicked on Instagram? ONE.
Day 3: Sunday, October 22
So, the reason Angelo was out of town was to work the Ventura Marathon for nuun Hydration. He also happened to have decided to run it on the very down low. Cue a Sunday morning spent glued to the tracking app on my phone waiting anxiously for him to cross each timing mat.
2 hours and 59 minutes after he started, he finished! And I freaked out. Yes, I purposefully opened both the Facebook and Instagram apps and posted about it. Because when you boyfriend freaking runs a sub 3 hour marathon, you brag. I was (and still am) so proud of his hard work and grit.
The hardest part of the rest of my day? Not continuing to open the apps and look at the posts. It's so tempting to want to see who is interacting and responding to what you write and put in the world. But no, back to silence.
With the exception of the marathon, Sunday was unremarkable. Normal yoga classes and working, a nap or two (definitely fighting a cold), and hanging with the doggo. I do have to say, this no social media thing is easier than I thought it was. For now, at least.
Accidental opens? ZERO.
Day 4: Monday, October 23
This week marks Hell Week at November Project. A whole weeks worth of 6:30AM workouts, instead of just the usual Monday and Wednesday. I've been struggling a little with NP. My body doesn't particularly love running most of these days and I've been overwhelmed with the social aspect of the workouts.
I found green snot continuing to surface on Monday morning and my body did not want to wake up to a 5AM alarm. So instead I slept until 6AM and then went for a run on the Pacific Beach boardwalk. It's been a really, really long time since I ran solo along the ocean. The run itself started rough but grew better and better and the views were unbeatable.
If there's something I've realized about social media through all of this it's that it's easier to ignore my body's warning signs about fatigue, illness, and injury when the prospect of group workouts, great photos, and Instagram stories is there. Knowing that I wasn't going to post anything, read about anyone else's workouts, or have anything to compare myself to made it infinitely easier to make the decision to alter workout plans and get sleep. Hm. I may be on to something.
No FOMO here. No accidental IG opens either.
Day 5: Tuesday, October 24
Another planned early morning run, another decision to sleep in. A little bit of guilt is quickly replaced by relief when my body finally starts to feel better today.
Along with my normal classes and corporate clients, I get to do one really, really exciting thing today. Go to the post office. Seriously! I was connected with a very well known yogi (hello, over 500k Instagram followers - which is kind of ironic, I get it) through my good friend Keith. She was gracious enough to be willing to check out my new book, Critical Anatomy, and perhaps post about it! I'm actually a little geekily excited over this and was so stoked to mail the book to her.
Stay tuned for more on that front.
Something cool has shifted over the past five days, I'm starting to realize. I feel more "in the flow." My yoga classes are going better, I'm feeling more creative, my interactions with people feel easier, my stress level is lowering, and I'm sleeping better.
Being in the flow is powerful. I don't feel all the way there yet, and I do have occasional moments of wishing I could check into the digital world, but in general it feels like I'm moving in the right direction. Win.
Day 6: Wednesday, October 25
Holy cow, already Day 6?? This week is flying by. I did finally make it to November Project in the morning for PR day. And I totally surprised myself. While I didn't actually PR, I tied my PR and felt really strong doing so. Angelo even captured a great photo of me working my ass off climbing up a hill. Which I had to see from his computer, and AirDrop to myself, minimally frustrating him that I couldn't just log into FB and download it like everyone else.
One of the main reasons this felt like a good week to take off of the socials was the fact that I teach my first Critical Anatomy Intensive Certification Course this weekend - and I still have plenty to do to get ready for it. I rightly assumed that I'd have more time to focus on the curriculum, sorting out details, and putting final touches on the course.
The one aspect that I was worried about was not being able to do any last minute marketing. Social media is one of the main places I get class and course attendees and we all know that San Diegans are notorious for waiting until the last minute to decide to commit to doing things. But could I get any last minute peeps if I couldn't remind people on socials?
Turns out good old fashioned e-mail works great! I got one more attendee (who is an awesome human as well) and I'm pumped.
Also, to all those who asked me at NP this morning how the detox was going - I said it then and I'll say it again, it's great. And to each of you who responded by saying that you probably need to do the same thing (which was all of you), you do. As one smart Irish lass stated, nothing online is going to change in the week, but you might. So true. So true.
One day left!
Day 7: Thursday, October 26
As social media free week comes to an end, so does NPSD's Hell Week. The Thursday location was my all time favorite NP place: The Convention Center stairs. Long ago, in an NP galaxy far away, we used the stairs as our home base. I swear I've never been in better shape than when I ran those stairs weekly. So going back this morning, ninja style, was a blast. I met up with friends before, ran a few miles in the dark along the waterfront, crushed 35 minutes of stairs with my good friend Jeff (who made me work my ass off) and then raced my favorite burnout of all time harder than I've raced anything in quite a while. And it felt great. To top it off, Nick personally texted me a photo from the morning, since he knows I'm off the socials for another day. That's what friends are for.
Thursday's are my day off of teaching and have become a self-proclaimed "No Yoga Pants Day." With temps still in the 90s I opted for shorts today, despite being very self conscious of my pasty white legs that are currently covered in mosquito bites. Yup, bug bites in October. Thanks, global warming? Can we blame everything on that?
I took myself to a few of my favorite places today: Philz Coffee (which is now in UTC, yay!), Cost Plus World Market, lunch at Lemonade, and Grocery Outlet. While this probably doesn't sound too exciting, just the mere fact that I'm taking dedicated hours towards NOT working is exciting. And a really big step towards achieving boundaries for myself.
My night will end with a dog walk along the golf course and dinner with my love at Kindred. And you know what? I haven't missed the socials at all today.
Life After Day 8
I've been thinking a lot about what life will look like tomorrow and beyond. I, of course, will go back to using social media. I do love it. Interacting with friends, being inspired by strangers, and sharing what I'm up to is enjoyable for me. But I believe that while balance is near impossible to maintain short term or long term, setting boundaries helps.
I've already shared that I struggle with moderation - I'm more of an all or nothing kind of gal, but where we struggle we can find growth.
So here are my pledges to myself:
1. I will set a timer for social media perusing. No open ended scrolling sessions here.
2. I will quit using social media at least 2 hours before bedtime.
3. When I'm feeling uninspired, unmotivated, or stuck I will turn to something other than socials. Books, music, nature, meditation, movement. Not apps.
While I'm not typically one to tell others how they should or shouldn't live their lives, I'll leave you with this: take a break. It's worth it.