When I joined the online Type 1 community a few years back, for the first time I felt ‘normal’. I was surrounded by people that got it. We shared, vented and celebrated the ups and the downs. I am so grateful for this community, especially because the moment I joined and put myself out there my relationship with diabetes changed. I no longer tried to hide it, I talked openly and my mindset around diabetes shifted to growth and learning rather then resentment and isolation.
I’ve noticed though that when you live with Type 1 diabetes and your job is to support people with diabetes (I’m currently the Director of Youth for Diabetes NZ), it can sometimes feel like this incurable autoimmune condition gets more of a spotlight in day-to-day life that I’d like. We all work so hard to ensure diabetes doesn’t define us, but everywhere I looked – there it was! After an incredible, jam-packed Diabetes Awareness month in New Zealand the lines between diabetes work and diabetes life became a little blurred. I decided to have a week off social media. If felt like a chance to re-set, recharge and reconnect.
Inspired by the benefits of a social media detox I anxiously removed Facebook and Instagram from my phone. I’d never done this before, but I knew that the incredible Type 1 community would be there when I returned. I had nothing to lose.
Did you know that a social media detox can;
improve your overall mood
encourage you to live in the moment
stop you from obsessing over the past
create more free time
help you to reconnect with the ‘outside’ world
stop you from competing and comparing yourself to others, and
cause you to sleep better.
Here I am a week later excited to share that I survived! The world did not fall apart. I love social media and the connections and partnerships we can create with people, friends and family from around the world. However as I reflect on the past 7 days/168 hours off The Gram, Facebook, Snapchat and Messenger I recognise that perhaps I’d been letting social media creep into and distract me from parts of my life that bring me so much joy.
It’s amazing how much you can fit into a day when you’re not ‘distracted’ by the pull of social media. I was blown away how calm everything felt when I simply focused on what I was doing, 100% present. What a gift. What a week. Instead of reaching for my phone every time I had five minutes to myself, I read (smashed out four books in fact), breathed deeply and slowly, or simply did nothing.
I needed to fill my cup after a crazy November and it felt perfectly timed that my social media detox fell during a super social week filled with friends, family and celebrations. Just as I head into the silly season, my glass is overflowing!
I cannot recommend a social media detox enough. If you’ve ever found yourself aimlessly scrolling, feeling a little flat or reaching for your phone to ‘check in’ when you’re surrounded by wonderful family and friends that deserve your attention, perhaps a social media detox is worth a crack. Whether it’s for a day, a weekend or a month I promise you will not regret it and have nothing to lose.
I’m going to make it a regular thing. I love social media but will try and set some boundaries about when and how I use it to ensure I’m not missing out on all the wonderful things and people right in front of me. For now I’m excited to be back and continue sharing my journey with Type 1 diabetes on social media to help YOU master diabetes. We are in this together.