Style Diet: Banning Social Media on Weekends
As a self-proclaimed continuous improvement junkie, I’m always testing myself. I like to try new things and see how I react and what emotions or stuff bubbles up. In the summer I read what seemed like thousandth article on “unplugging” and it finally grabbed me: perhaps I could check myself off of social for a bit?
The idea really took hold when a small business owner over a podcast shared how the senior team had considered going social free on weekends. She debated how that was challenging, as they want to be with their customers whenever the customers wanted as availability and response is huge with service, loyalty, and retention. She also pondered how while that might be true for her business; perhaps her personal channels could be looked at.
As a business owner with a humongous team of one, I thought to myself, “I can make the rules. I can try things out. It can always be adjusted if it flops. Let’s see what happens, right?”
Right. For the past eight weekends from just before midnight Friday until I go to bed Sunday night, no social. It’s my latest style diet. That’s no Pinterest, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Facebook (but I don’t even use it anyway so that shouldn’t count as a positive source of restraint), and gasp, no Instagram.
No Instagram? No Instagram. I paused at first as weekends are often the juiciest content to gobble up. Social events mean great outfits. Socializing leads to funny predicaments. The difference between a workweek persona and weekend person of the same person can be drastic and delicious. Swipe-tap-swipe.
I also notice, too, that every once in a while - be it a tough day or week or month - the green monster comes out. Yup, jealousy is powerful and social media, especially glorious Instagram, can easily muster it up. I know in my head that people mostly only post the good stuff and that not everything is as rosy as it may seem. We’re likely all a built guilty of “curating” too much. I can check myself for the most part but actually taking a break sounded even more like a good thing.
Alas, I soldiered on without. That meant no coffee and scroll come Saturday morning. That meant no Instagram stories to watch and giggle at throughout the day. Going without meant I had to fill that precious, “don’t want to do, do anything yet” leisure time with something else.
And else I did. I found myself reaching for a book to read. I checked out fashion and interior design online magazines that I adore and drooled over the dress and décor porn. I would tidy up the house a bit or organize my styling area. I found it easy to work for a few hours. Though I will say it was tricky if I wanted to look something up – someone to reach out to, for instance - on a social channel. Instead, I would allow myself to take photos, prepare content, or make a list to come back to it. Whatever I did I held myself to not peeking or posting until Monday.
For me, the biggest rush on social is posting something and watching what happens. The interaction with others is what fascinates me. It’s not so much about snagging those likes; it’s more about what eyeballs are looking at what. I get some real satisfaction, too, from establishing a schedule for myself and sticking to it. Adjusting that daily post schedule has been a bit odd at first, but it’s not rocket science that you can post two pictures on Monday and hit up the latergram hashtag. Problem solved, NASA.
We hear from mental health experts that listening to yourself and establishing boundaries are important. Those close to me would likely laugh and nod when I tell you that self-reflection with the aim of improvement is one of my favourite hobbies. For me I thrive on self-established areas of discipline with a touch of flexibility built in. I love to create my own schedule, I really do, but I build in, “oh this or that unexpected thing popped up,” time so that I’m not thrown off or maxed out. I have an insatiable desire to be productive but I hedge that a bit because I don’t want to be ultra-strained to the point of burn out.
Managing my social media use is just another way I police myself. Plus, I haven’t gone over my data in two months. Bonus. If taking weekends off means I pay closer attention to conversations or work undistracted or read more because my phone isn’t in my hand, I think that’s a pretty good outcome.