Cindy DeCarolis

Digital Detox

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Given that Teddy Roosevelt wrote the above quote in 1898 it seems that people have been comparing themselves to others for quite a long time. Maybe the first cavemen compared the size of their caves to neighboring caves. But back to Teddy, while obviously people were affected by comparing themselves in his time, I doubt he foresaw the level comparisons would reach with the onslaught of social media.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… today practically every minute of every day is documented. Certainly, every major life event is posted. As the jokes go, I hope your life is as good as it looks on Facebook / Instagram, or, If it wasn’t on Facebook / Instagram did it even happen?

It is easy to get lost scrolling through your feed, looking at the pretty pictures. I know that I have lost more time than I want to admit to just scrolling my feeds. That’s why I decided to take a one-week social media break during a recent vacation with my family.

For the entire week I did not look at Facebook or Instagram. I didn’t check my email. It was so refreshing not to be tied to my phone with its ever-present notifications. Maybe I am a little obsessive, but when I see notifications, I just have to look. Then I start scrolling. The next thing I know I have lost 5, 10, 20 minutes.

Not that social media is in and of itself negative. I love being able to keep in touch with friends and family who live in other areas of the country or who I just don’t see often. That is a super fun and wonderful thing.

When it does become a negative is when you start comparing yourself – how you look, what you have, where you go, what you do, what you wear – to others that you follow and feeling bad about yourself. Some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow are interior design, home renovation, event planners, cooking, travel, and fashion.

While they don’t exactly make me feel bad about myself, they do make me a little envious. The home design sites especially give me house envy. I love my house. But it is almost 200 hundred years old. Consequently, there is always something that needs to be done. I am still waiting to get to the point where we have completed all of the structural stuff and I can make some aesthetic changes. Looking at Instagram gives me ideas, but also makes me discontent.

Being disconnected for a week gave me some space to be present. I basically spent the week just hanging out around the pool with my family, reading books, doing water aerobics, and taking walks. I didn’t even use my phone to take any pictures. It was a totally relaxing week. I felt calmer and more grounded than I have in some time.

There is a lot of research demonstrating the negative effects of social media. Everything from unhappiness and discontent with your life to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, there are also positive effects including: making friends, fostering empathy, building relationships, communicating, and making the world seem smaller.

When I returned to my social media accounts it was with a new perspective too not take it all so seriously. It’s great to keep up with friends and family. It’s fun to look at posts of the beautiful people. There will always be someone living a more fabulous life than I, but it is mostly an illusion on Facebook and Instagram.

Essential Oil Tip of the Month: If you find yourself distracted by social media, diffuse doTerra Lemon Essential Oil. Lemon is the oil of focus. It fosters clarity and mental presence and dispels confusion.

PS: Since I didn’t take any photos during my digital detox vacation, I am sharing a photo from a past vacation. I hope you enjoy it!

At Blissful Balance LLC, our mission is to help you to live life healthier. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Contact me at cindydecarolis62@gmail.com for a complimentary consultation. You can also visit doTerra to purchase essential oils.