The word ‘cleanse’ normally elicits a reflexive reaction on my part, being a medical doctor, and having encountered fascinating ways in which people clean themselves out. I’ll spare inserting an ‘exhibit A or B’ at this point because I think we’ve all come across some ridiculous cleanses. But the cleanse I discuss below was long overdue. It was a social media cleanse I had coming.

Excessive Virual-itis

It was getting excessive; my use of social media had not only taken over the free time in my day, but was also bordering on an addiction. Not just for me, but for society as a whole.

Think about the number of times you click on that FB app. Or the Instagram button. Or any of the other links meant to connect us with one another in this day and age.

Now think of the time you spent scrolling through that app’s feed – reading your friends’ updates, looking at photos of everyone in your circles, or even checking out the status of your ‘favorite’ frenemy. It’s incredible just who we connect with on that little screen, especially when a geographic distance sets us apart and yet we connect in the matter of seconds in that virtual world. It’s a rather cool concept, when you think about it that way.

But using it – that virtual world – also comes at a price.

Awareness: When Intervention is Needed

It took a soft nudge from my son the other day – an innocent comment made that ended up knocking me off of my ‘seated position’  – to realize just how bad it had gotten. He had pulled off the imaginary blinders and commented on how I’m ‘always on the phone‘. And while it was true that work required some degree of screen use, and that my passion of writing required it, too, I realized right then and there that my time had been unevenly spent and my sons were paying the price.

I’m not willing to pay it, I decided.

Taking a Step (Or Two) Back

So I took a deep breath in – really inhaled the will to part with my beloved virtual world – and re-evaluated how I’d tackle what I realized was a form of addiction. Soon enough, I had a plan, and set it to action- I’d undergo one of those cleanses I always cringed at, when I saw them on my newsfeed. Except mine would be medically necessary – a social media cleanse.

So I did it.

I made a conscientious decision to limit use of my phone. Even better, I decided a week of abstinence was a better plan in keeping away from my screen – not reading anyone’s updates, whereabouts, awards, or video confessions. No more scrolling of the thumbs for a while – it was time to give those suckers a rest.

I’m guessing you know how this ended.

A Fantastic Ending

When I put away that phone, I picked up my son more. Spent more time looking into his eyes. Played games. Had a conversation, or two – no, twenty. I finished some things that had been in the back burner – one of those I’ll-finish-this-later’s. Got to spend one on one – truly one on one – with my husband. Listened to music on my way home instead of the yapping of a podcast. Started taking in landscapes on the drive. Got to exercise by walking with my family – playing tennis and boxing and jumping and wrestling.

But best of all was the laughter. It was the well-needed and long-forgotten laughter of yesteryear. But it had made a comeback and was bigger and better than ever.

I got it all back thanks to the cleanse and it was worth every single second.

I can’t tell you that social media is now a thing of my past. Because it’s not. In fact, I’m very active on it, even advocating for professionals like me to get on and have our voices heard. I’m also making connections. Reading the latest in research findings, as medical journals have taken to the virtual world to publish their results. Learning from others. Sharing. Creating.

But with my re-entry into this time-consuming virtual world, I’ve also tried finding my healthy balance, because I couldn’t ‘unsee’ the happiness that came about from putting that world away – both for me and my loved ones. There exists that comfort zone, somewhere in the middle, and I recommend that you actively search for it, if you aren’t already there.

It’s a sweet, perfect spot, that lets you comfortably experience the best of both worlds, and opens up the space you need for soak up this beautiful life.

So go ahead and cleanse away, because this particular cleanse happens to be medically-approved!

[bctt tweet=”So go ahead and cleanse away, because this particular cleanse – my ‘virtual cleanse’ -happens to be medically-approved!” username=”drcorriel”]

Virtual Break: A Social Media Cleanse for the Soul

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