WHITE SPACE. LISTEN. BREATHE.
The three words you see above didn't exist in my life before my digital detox earlier this year. Okay, maybe that's slightly aggressive. I'm still breathing guys, don't worry. But you know that tightness you get in your chest when your stressed or not being able to take a deep breath when you're anxious about something? Yeah, that was a daily thing for me. Not fun. To put it plainly - I was burnt out, run down, felt like I was running in circles, and constantly comparing myself to everyone in the little boxes that is Instagram. And I was only 6 months into my business!
I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you that with the expansion of social platforms, content marketing, and the sheer amount of information that is thrown at us on a daily basis, sometimes it’s just too much. Every day I felt like I was being whisked away by a powerful river and couldn’t grab onto anything.
I was listening, watching and soaking up everyone else’s story that I couldn’t write my own.
Enter a mental breakdown that caused me to let it all go, take a step back, and lift my head up from the digital world to see the real world.
When I stopped everything - the white space that rushed into my life and mind was so powerful that I couldn't ignore it. This overwhelming forced silence finally allowed me to gave myself permission to take the time I needed to come back down to Earth and focus on getting myself in a better place.
Friends reached out and asked if I was okay. I was but wasn't. I kept telling myself I was being lazy and unproductive. Silly negative talk. I wanted to put a time limit on how long this break would be. But that would be defeating the whole point.
It started as a 1-month experiment that turned into 2 months of forgetting all about it that turned into 3 months of not really knowing how to set boundaries if I jumped back on board that turned into almost 6 months of not really posting on social media, writing blog posts or sending newsletters. Crazy how fast time flies when you're living life - am I right?
If nothing else, this digital detox taught me a lot about listening to your body, mind and soul when it’s screaming at you.
When nothing makes sense and things don’t fit into the box you created and life doesn’t look as perfect as everyone makes it look online, just remember that you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone. You need to do what’s best for you and your family, at all times, no matter what. The beauty of the internet is that you get to CHOOSE what you put out there. And yes it’s good to be vulnerable but that doesn’t always mean you need to share every intimate detail about your life (thanks Brene Brown for this mind-blowing concept).
Looking back on my long-term digital detox I see how much it's helped me in all facets of life. My business is still growing, I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, I have HUGE plans for 2018 and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most incredible clients this year. Social media does not = success! Hard work and grit and determination and NEVER giving up = success. I may have stopped showing up from a digital perspective, but I didn't stop showing up in real life. I was fighting every day to get on stable ground, to get a handle on the which direction I wanted my life to go in, refocus on the priorities, and to not take a single day for granted.
Even if you’re crawling inch by inch, forward progress is all that matters.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, clouded thoughts, scatterbrained… it may be time to take a digital detox of your own, my love! Everyone needs a break at some point (except maybe GaryVee…). But the beautiful thing about taking a break is everyone’s experience is 100% different. Can’t take a couple months off? Take a couple days. Want to do it more consistently than just once a year? Do it every couple of months. The important thing about taking a detox is to check in with yourself to make sure you are making decisions and doing things that are right for you. If you find that your judgment and decisions are being clouded by what everyone else is doing in their life, it's time to shut it all off, listen to your own heart and work towards accomplishing your dreams, not someone else's.
If you’re mind and body are trying to tell you something, stop ignoring and start listening.
If this topic intrigues you, a good friend interviewed me and several other millennials on the topic. Spoiler alert: I wasn't the only feeling the overwhelming weight of the digital world. Click here to read the full article.