I love love love this time of year. There is something magical about the first snowfall, curling up next to a fire, reading a great book, and spending time with family. It is a time to connect with others and with self as we start to quiet and spend more time indoors. That brings me to my intention this December: disconnect to connect. I will be taking a digital detox away from social media for 10 days in December.
I have known for a while that this is something that I need to do for myself. Just like anything in life, it is important to create healthy relationships and boundaries with the things and people around us. I will say that I have become addicted to my phone, and I don’t like it, at all. No matter what habits you are trying to change, it comes to a point where we need to be ready to make a change. I am there. There are times I find myself picking up my phone and aimlessly scrolling without even noticing I’m doing it. In yoga, one of the Yamas, or tenets of yoga, is Bramacharya: Nonexcess. Deborah Adele writes, “We are here on this world, in part, to feel enjoyment and pleasure. If we are in the pleasure and not the addiction, we are practicing Bramacharya.” I am in excess and ready to make some shifts and start checking my social media rather than letting it check me.
For a while, I was making myself feel guilty about this or like there was something wrong with me, but remember: social media is made to make us keep coming back for more. It’s like eating Doritos. We can’t just eat one. Am I right? So, in short, we can’t make ourselves feel bad about this because we are human with human tendencies.
There are studies out there that look at the addiction behind social media and the results are pretty astounding. Many of these studies bring up the notion of FOMO. What is FOMO you ask? It stands for Fear Of Missing Out. People are constantly posting, and we are constantly being bombarded with new information. When we look at what this does to our brain chemistry, it is easy to see why we can become so addicted. In an article written on Social Times, it shares that, “It seems we’re addicted and it may truly be a brain chemistry problem. A study from Harvard University showed that self-disclosure online fires up a part of the brain that also lights up when taking an addictive substance, like cocaine. Eighty percent of our online conversations are self-disclosure, compared to 30 to 40 percent of offline conversations. And with such huge audiences online, it’s very easy to get hooked.” Just like any addiction, if it gets out of control, it starts to control you.
Personally, I need to get a handle on this, and if you can relate, join me. Forget about missing out. If it’s that important, you’ll hear about it. Don’t worry about all the pictures you won’t get to share because guess what? You can share them all on January 1st, or hey, maybe go get them printed. Take time this month to slow way down and be with yourself and with the ones you love.