Unplanned Detox from Social Media

June 2021 was definitely not the month I had planned. At the end of May, my mom was told she needed to have an urgent and serious heart surgery. I spoke to the surgeon and he told me he was giving my mom 3 weeks to live if she did not get the operation.

From something we knew would have to happen ‘soon or later’, it had now become urgent. I pretty much dropped everything to help my mom as much as I could, so that she would not make any effort and so that she could ‘hang on’ till the operation. With the covid situation, I was not allowed to accompany her to the hospital nor to visit her afterwards. Needless to say, I spent a few sleepless nights, wondering how she was doing and if she would make it. Once the operation was over, I could only call her. Facetime or Skype were unfortunately not an option since the wifi connection at the hospital was bad. I started to relax a bit but could not focus on anything. I was frustrated not to be able to visit her, especially because she was alone, and also because when I had a very serious car accident many years ago, she came to visit me every single day in the hospital for 3 months. Now, it should have been my turn to go and visit her, and I couldn’t.

Fortunately, two weeks later, we got the news that she was doing well and could go back home. I drove to France and took care of her as much as I could. I came back to Luxembourg at the beginning of July and noticed that this period had been a detox period. I used to be on social media every day (mostly on Linkedin and Facebook). But because of my mom’s health situation, I not only did not have time to be on social media, but I also did not feel I needed to be on them.

When I look back, I realize that I actually was more present. I was focused on doing all kinds of things for my mom, from cooking, cleaning, going to the grocery store, driving her to the doctor, etc, and did not think once about my posts or others’ nor if I was missing something out.

I also discovered that I was more relaxed, less annoyed. With all the negativity from the past year and a half, I was often frustrated by some posts or comments on social media, by the divisions that were created, by the discussions that were held. But in June, I was ‘zen with myself’. I was only checking Facebook or Linkedin for personal messages. I barely went through my feed. I no longer felt the need to put pressure on myself, to write and upload posts on certain days and times. My priorities had changed.

Finally, I gained time. All the time I was spending on social media was gone, replaced by some quality time with my mom, family, and friends. I know people who check their screen time on their phone. I do not use my phone so much, I use my laptop more. So I cannot say exactly how much time I saved. What I can say is that there have been days where I did not even touch my laptop, something that I had never done before! And I felt fine!

With social media, we can sometimes become addicted to it. We simply cannot let go. We start watching some notifications and before we realize it, one or two hours have gone by!

I know I was addicted at some point. I wanted to answer any comments I was receiving or wanted to engage with others. I was the only one who was putting pressure on myself.

June 2021 was an eye-opener and a mental detox. It’s been a great experience, something I will do more often. I’ve always known our body needs to detox occasionally and our brain needs to recharge its batteries. I was already very conscious of getting enough sleep, taking a proper vacation, and regular breaks throughout the day. I will now add this social media detox to my health toolkit.


Virginie Lemay
Virginie Lemay
Virginie Lemay is an international Leadership Trainer/Coach/Consultant based out of Luxembourg. She is originally French but has been an expatriate for more than 25 years. She fluently speaks 5 languages (French, English, German, Dutch, and Italian) and has lived in 6 different countries. With more than 20 years experience leading international/virtual teams, Virginie is a true advocate for Diversity and Inclusion, She worked in senior leadership roles in big international organizations such as Amazon. Virginie combines her two passions (training/coaching and dancing) and helps people Succeed in the Adventures of Leadership and Self Assurance (SALSA). She basically turns professionals into global leaders by improving their communication, international leadership skills, and confidence. Virginie is also the author of the book "My revenge on life", where she shares how to become the leader of your own life and flourish in the midst of seemingly hopeless circumstances. You can find more information on her website and LinkedIn listed above.

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  1. Virginie, thank you for writing and sharing such an important and timely piece. I hope your mother is doing well and healing. Sounds like she has a strong heart based on the love the two of you share. I, too, feel the need to be on social media everyday. Not as much for myself, but rather to make sure that I comment on others posts or wish people happy birthday etc. Thank you for giving me permission to “zen with myself”. I need to hear it.

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