First things first, I don’t think social media is a big bad evil monster which is threatening to shred the fragile fabric of our society. In fact, I don’t think anything in moderation is bad. It’s the excess which can make it evil.
We live in the times of WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchats of the world. And all those who say ‘we aren’t on social media!’ well, Netflix and Amazon Primes of the world are no better! There is continuous barrage of information all the time from everywhere. Yet we can be so disconnected from our closed ones and our own selves – ironical isn’t it? The technology which was supposed to make our lives easier has ended up making it more stressful. After all, we all can’t be selfie ready all the time, can we? Every holiday, every festival, every travel?
Social media is a powerful tool to make your message reach masses. You can mobilise resources, run home businesses, and connect with loved ones. It’s the over-use – the obsession with capturing each moment, sharing with the world and getting caught in the whirl of likes which could get dangerous and disconnect you from reality. And it’s easy to get sucked into. I should know. I started using social media actively last year to share my writing with readers and at times, the number of likes and comments seemed to be the only validating factor to whether the piece was good or not. And if we go by the 100 crore club in Bollywood (what is it now – 200? 300? 400?), we all would be cognizant of the fact that what is popular may not always be good right?
Anyways, so from being incessantly obsessive about checking mobile every spare minute to taking a step back and literally, stopping to smell the roses, this is what I discovered when I decided to stay away from my mobile for a week – no festive pictures, no check-ins while going on a holiday and no travel diaries. Yup, I still cheated a lil bit checking in WhatsApp messages once in 2-3 days but mostly I was a good girl!
- First things first, withdrawal symptoms hit. Your hand itches to check the mobile – just this once. What if you missed that important notification? What if someone was trying to reach you? What if…..Well, nothing really happens, dude. You are not that important. Ouch, that hurts, but is true. The Sun still rises on the east and the tides follow their regular pattern. The Universe continues to revolve at its own pace too. Such a miniscule existence we all have (egos, of course, is a separate conversation!)
- Second, you start noticing things – like really noticing. I travelled to a forest and the sights were amazing. The archway formed by the trees and the way the Sun peeked from in between the leaves. The way the vegetation survived in the wild and the synergy between the plants and animals.
- You also starts hearing the sounds around you more. Of course, it helped that I was in the forest and I heard the chirping of the birds and gurgling of the brook, and not the sounds of cars honking on the road, but still. Let me not even start on the smells of the forest! Every part of the forest had a different scent to it – intoxicating!
- Stress of constantly trying to keep up or fear of missing out melts. You realise that you don’t really miss anything important. That really lifts the weight off the shoulders! You breathe in easier. Caring less about what other people think of you is uplifting!
- You sleep like a baby. Oh yes, this is the best part of staying away from a screen. You get the eye-shut your body is craving. 8 hours straight I snoozed! And woke up so refreshed! So much so, I did not realise my five-year old waking up to snuggle-in beside me!
So, yes, it isn’t always possible to stay away from the world with our work and deadlines calling but worth trying in small bits of time. Now that I had enjoyed my digital detox so much, I have decided to be more mindful of the things I do in the day. Try with the 2 minute shower you take in the morning. Feel the droplets of water on your face as you close your eyes and let the water run down your shoulders and down your back taking the worries of the day with it. There! Your meditation for the day is done! Of course, then you can progress to deep belly breathing while looking at that stressful email from the boss, but one tiny step at a time! Happy Detoxing!