As of the month I am writing this post, January, it has been about 6 months since I've actively been on social media. This cleanse has truly been an aid to healing, that I didn't even know I needed.
Prior to taking this break, I was active daily - mostly on Instagram - showing up on stories, creating daily posts, engaging in the DMs, and aimlessly scrolling through thousands of posts. I had gotten this idea in my head that in order to be a 'successful' health coach and run my own business, I needed to be on IG 24/7. I thought that I needed to show every aspect of my life, have the perfect photos, the perfect captions, and THAT would catapult my business into success. Boy was I totally wrong.
Having this mentality of needing to always be on social media like the influencers I followed, started to burn me out - FAST. At this same time, I was working a full time job as virtual health coach for a company called Noom, working out for about an hour a day, taking an additional certification class that required hours of studying outside of live classes, all while trying to make time for my boyfriend, cook meals at home, and talk to my family who live 3,000 miles away. Needless to say, the burnout happened quicker than I could have even anticipated and my body start screaming at me to SLOW DOWN. Symptoms such as digestion distress, H-Pylori (stomach bacteria), depression, anxiety, and back pain - all of which I am still in the process of managing 6 months later.
The first step I took, was to find a therapist because not only was my body on overload but so was my brain. After a few months of working together it became clear that the reason I felt the need to ALWAYS stay busy, was because I had a really hard time with self reflection and just being with myself. Making this realization, I knew stepping away from social media would give me the time I needed to really give attention to myself and my healing. So far, here is what I've learned and the benefits I've noticed from take a social media break....
Social media is NOT a necessity for happiness and connection. Connection doesn't happen on social media, it happens when we're away from it. True, you can meet some amazing people through social media but if you want to build that connection, ultimately you take it out of that space right? Be honest with yourself, how much more happy and connected do you feel after spending time on Facebook, or Instagram? How much more happy and connected do you feel after video chatting or talking on the phone to family and friends? THAT is where true connection and happiness comes from.
"No one make you feel inferior without your consent" - Elenore Roosevelt. I realized that I was letting so many people, complete strangers who had no idea, make me feel inferior. Every time I saw a health coach more successful than me. Every time I saw someone with a 'better' body than me. Every time I saw someone with a baby, or getting married it made me feel somehow inferior. In these last 6 months, I've been able to empower myself, to recognize and appreciate my true values, strengths, and purpose because I'm not allowing for the influence of others to affect my self judgment. And one the first actions I've taken since tip toeing back into social media, is to delete all of those accounts that made me feel that way.
Likes and followers do NOT validate who you are as a person, or the amount of success you have in life. I again, allowed the likes and comments of others to influence my mood, self worth, and value of my content. When there are no likes, or followers, or audience to preform for who is the person that validates the happiness and success of your life - YOU. In the last 6 months I've really been able to connect with myself on a whole new emotional level and I'm learning what it truly means to self validate, rather self criticize.
We need to know who we truly are, without the influence of others, before we can strongly stand our ground against those influences. I realized that I was trying to be like someone else - other health coaches, other entrepreneurs, other fitness influencers - instead of determining the person that I truly am and allowing myself to show up and make decisions as her. Taking a break and reconnecting with myself has opened my eyes to the person that I am, the type of health coach I want to be, the decisions I want to make for MY business, and to truly stop living based on the opinions or success of others.
I strongly believe that our bodies, mind, and spirit work as one. So, when one is misaligned, it will send the entire system into mayhem. The emotions I was suppressing, the expectations I was putting on myself, the loss of connection from myself; it all played a role in the breakdown of my body physically and mentally. Going to therapy, reconnecting with my spirituality, reaching out for help and support from family/friends, and taking this break from social media has all been a tremendous part of my healing journey. We have to find purpose and lessons in our pain and struggles, so that we can grow, heal, and fully live out this beautiful life that we have been blessed to live.
Stay Mindfully Well,