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Why I'm going on a social media & news detox

I know that I was happier before Facebook.  Before the onslaught of ads, Twitter wars, the 24 hour news cycle, the endless comparisons on Instagram, the endless craziness of the White House, I was a calmer and more centered person. 

Like a lobster who doesn't realize it's getting boiled, the pace of social media and constant pinging our in pockets became the new normal.  What was once a fun distraction and a way to connect with friends became an unhealthy addiction.  Now, I get twitchy if I don't have my phone close by.  I feel the need to check social media every few minutes because what if I'm missing Chrissy Teigen's new headband or another cat meme?  What if somebody is sending me an urgent and important email that portends the End of the World and I'm the only one who can save us by answering it?! 

Somewhere along the way, my focus started getting tugged in the direction of OUT THERE instead of what's happening in my daily life. 

At dinner with my husband, one of us is checking the phone.  At dinner with friends, we're taking pictures of food and texting people who are not there.  Walking down the street, we're looking at this little glowing screen instead of watching where we walk. 

I've decided that this addiction to social media and the news is robbing me of joy and of experiencing the world in Technicolor.  Yesterday, I deleted all of the social media apps and grayed out my screen.  I unsubscribed from the Daily podcast and Pod Save America. 

I guess if something really important happens in the world, other people will let me know about it.  On one hand, I'm worried that I'm abdicating my responsibility as an informed and engaged citizen.  On the other hand, I'm trying to preserve my mental health and stay focused on the now instead of giving into the despair of a constant treadmill of meaningless information.  So, I guess that means I'll miss out on some of the pictures of your kids, your dogs and your awesome meals. 

I swear I used to be able to function before my iPhone and social media.  It's been a long time, but I'd like to get back to being the person who could put her phone in her bag and not touch it unless she had to make a call or send a text.  I was OK when I wasn't able to access Google to answer a question immediately.  I think my skin was healthier when it wasn't lit up by the glowing blue light of an iPhone and my posture was definitely better when I wasn't bent over, watching a screen for hours at a time.  My relationships were better when I could be totally present for conversations and engage deeply. 

I don't use the word lightly: I am addicted to my phone.  I feel like I need it to be able to function normally.  The little hits of dopamine I was getting when I checked social media has probably rewired my brain like a drug addict. I don't daydream, I don't allow myself time to get bored and I think it's sapping my creativity and productivity.

And I'm sick of this little computer ruling my life, sucking my free time and shrinking my brain.

So, I'm doing a little experiment to wean myself off of social media and the news for a while.  Join me! Do you agree?  Let me know in the comments.