Today I want to talk about the one detox everyone should do at least once a month. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful and try it. You may be surprised by what I mean by detox!
I want you to imagine that you want to organize your pantry, let’s say. You’re getting sick of how your pantry is and how it looks and just want to reorganize, get new containers, etc. So you get on Pinterest or google and look for pictures. You find all these pantry ideas and are finding motivation to get your pantry organized and you think “My pantry is going to look just like this! If she can do this, I can do it! It won’t be that hard, I can do this!”
Then things get in the way and you don’t actually move forward with your pantry project. Life gets in the way and you don’t do it. But you keep looking at the pictures thinking that you will be motivated to do it if you keep looking at pictures.
Eventually you start thinking negatively about your own pantry: “Her pantry is so awesome, she must be amazing, and mine is so lame. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get it together?” and thus it becomes more of a comparison between your pantry and others’ rather than a motivator.
Obviously this is a metaphor.
The one detox I recommend everyone do several times a year but really all the time is a social media detox.
A few months ago, I was in a place with my emotional health and how I felt about my body that wasn’t very good. I felt like I needed to lose weight, so I did what a lot of people do when they want to lose weight: I went online to find pictures of people who have great bodies so that I could be motivated to look exactly like that.
I was looking at these pictures a lot. My husband hated it, but I had this one as a screensaver so that every time it was on lock mode I could see her and be motivated by this picture. It was something definitely attainable for my body type, but it was still this constant comparison thing.
Then one day I saw this post by Beauty Redefined – by the way if you don’t follow them you must. They are amazing and have totally changed my life. They talked about doing a social media fast, I think they called it.
I had heard of this before, doing a social media fast, but it really resonated with me at this time because of the body image struggles I was having. They actually recommended going without social media for a certain length of time, like 6 weeks or something. I didn’t feel called to do that, I guess, but I did unfollow a TON of people.
I was following “fitspiration” accounts…”here’s my biceps!” “Here’s my six-pack!” “Transformation Tuesday!” and healthy meals, etc. because I was interested in things like that! But I didn’t realize what a toll it was taking on me mentally and emotionally.
It wasn’t a problem with what they were doing, like they weren’t out to make anyone feel bad about themselves, they’re just doing what they want to do. But the cumulative load of all these accounts and all these pictures was just too much, it was weighing me down.
So I unfollowed tons of people! Probably a third, or more, maybe even half the people I followed. I only kept the accounts that I knew were a positive thing for me and a healthy thing for me, that I would be fine with seeing every day.
I can’t even tell you the difference that it made. You guys have to try this!
This has been months ago, but still, I regularly go through my social media and I cut and unfollow people who maybe I used to like what they posted but it’s too much for me right now. And it’s not an insult to those people! It’s not like what they’re doing is bad or they shouldn’t be doing it, it’s just not serving you.
Your emotional health is your #1 priority, so you’re not being insulting by unfollowing, it’s not rude. Even if it’s a family member! This doesn’t have to be just about body stuff!
Maybe you have a family member who is always posting about their perfect outfits and you’re feeling like you wish you could have clothes like that. Anything that leads you to play that comparison game, a game that you will always lose, is an account that you should get rid of for a while.
Eventually, maybe you can add those things back in. Maybe not! I follow like 2 fitness people, that’s it. Because I don’t need that motivation, I’m motivated enough by the desire to work out every day without someone showing me their six-pack and making me feel like I’m less than because I don’t have a six-pack.
So that’s the detox I would recommend. You can try a social media fast if you want, but at least just ruthlessly cutting out all the people who are not contributing to your best mental and emotional health is a really good habit to get into. Even if it’s not a set thing and you just feel you’re in a slump.
I don’t know if there’s research on this but I’ve read about it and seen it in my life, that there is a correlation that is pretty strong between social media and depression or low mood. We are just marinating in this culture of seeing other people’s lives and seeing all these things they post. It’s fine, it’s not a bad thing, but we are just inundated with that.
We always compare ourselves anyway, but now it’s so easy to do so. Sometimes it’s good to step back, step away from that. You might find, as I did, that you feel better about yourself and your body. It can be a really powerful base line.
When you’re trying to learn to love the body you have, you don’t need to be drowning in pictures of other people’s body’s; you need to be focusing on your own body and what you can do to help yourself, not what you can do to be like somebody else.