Your 5 Step Digital Detox Plan
There seems to be lots of talk about "triggering" events lately. Maybe not so much "talk" in the traditional sense, but I see it pop up a lot online. I've even seen Buzzfeed articles with warnings of triggering content.
So what is a trigger? Well it's anything that sends you into a state of distress. That could come through in anger, irritation, sadness, or the urge to simply want to numb out. Personally, I've experienced all of these!
You're never going to be able to avoid all triggers but you can take a proactive stance. If there is a particular date that brings up terrible feelings then please oh pretty please be kind to yourself and give yourself the gift of a Digital Detox.
For me, Father's Day is one of those days. I didn't grow up with a Father and I don't have kids so the day doesn't have a lot of relevance to me. But it can be triggering as I become hyperaware of the seemingly stillness of my life compared to the beautiful celebrations and declarations on social media.
I've written about digital detoxes before, but this time I have an easy to follow 5 step plan to make it even easier!
Before I start though, hopefully it's obvious that you'll need to identify what those triggering events are. 9/11 is another example. Maybe it's your ex's upcoming wedding. Do some pre-work and take the time to schedule a "Digital Detox" in your calendar now.
Let's get on to the steps:
Step 1: No public declarations required. If you're like me, your Facebook friends include family, friends, coworkers, old coworkers, people you knew in high school, your friends' significant others, your yoga instructor, and other random people you once met and had a good time with. All of these people do not need, not do they deserve, to know all of your vulnerable stories. So keep it to yourself and simply step away. Now, if there is a friend you communicate with on a daily basis through social media you may want to give them a heads up to text you instead.
Step 2: Consider making social plans. I don't know about you, but when I'm out and about having fun with other people I completely forget about checking in on Facebook and Instagram. I'm excited that a friend I met in Bali is coming to visit me this weekend! My first Charleston visitor!
Step 3: Schedule your detox for 24 hrs before and 24 hrs after the triggering event. There's always a few people who get excited and post early and those that forget and post later. Probably more the latter.
Step 4: Once the detox is over, sort by "most recent" instead of "top posts". This step is really just for Facebook users. If it's been a full 24 hrs after the event and you're sorted by most recent, you are less likely to catch a rogue post.
Step 5: Be the light. If you do all these steps and you do see a triggering post, please don't get upset at that person. Respect their reason for sharing as much as you respect yourself for going on a detox. You could certainly consider hiding the post so you don't see it again, but don't be a jerk and flag it as inappropriate. Remember, you are honoring yourself and your experience, not trying to get someone kicked off Facebook. See how the energy changes just by reading that sentence?
That's it! It really is easy and a few days or hours off social media has so many other benefits beyond just being triggered. Give it a try and come back to the comments and let me know how it goes.