The Most Important Lesson I Learned During My Social Media Detox

The Most Important Lesson I Learned During My 30-Day Social Media Detox

On the morning of April 29th, I deleted the Instagram app from my phone. It was the last social media app to go, as I had deactivated my Facebook account in 2016 and removed the Twitter app from my phone in March. I never thought I would delete the Instagram app, because of all the social media platforms out there, it had always been my favourite. But after yet another sleepless night in April, I could no longer hide from the truth: my anxiety had fueled a new level of addiction to my phone and I had to kick it.

I say I “had” to kick it because being addicted to looking at my phone and at social media does not align with my values. Over the past few years, I think you’ve all witnessed some of the transformations I’ve made in my life, including falling in love with the outdoors, and wanting to spend less time working and more time living. My phone is a great tool, in that it can help me navigate new territory and take pictures along the way. But it can’t help me do any of the other “living” I want to do; neither can social media.

Even though spending a lot of time looking at my phone or at social media doesn’t align with my values, I’m not immune to getting sucked in. Sure, I’m fairly self-aware, but I’m not a robot. I don’t operate on command, and I don’t automatically shutdown at certain times of the day. In April, I learned the exact opposite was true: when I was anxious, I looked at it more; went further down the rabbit hole; and felt worse about everything I found. On the morning of April 29th, I knew my online life needed a reset. It was time for a social media detox.

The Rules for My Social Media Detox

In the past, I will admit I have been hesitant to do any type of social media detox. My reasoning: I felt it was a necessary part of life, and that we should simply learn how to use it more mindfully rather than ban ourselves completely. (Yes, I’m aware of the irony that this thought came from the same girl who banned herself from shopping for two years. What can I say? Humans are complex! And I was a Communications major who, at one time, truly loved social media.) Still, once you see something, you can’t unsee it. So, when I finally saw how unhappy looking at social media made me, I knew I needed a break from it.

The rules for my social media detox were simple:

  • remove all social media apps from my phone
  • logout of all social media sites on my computer
  • use Buffer to schedule posts for my blog and Rockstar Finance
  • and don’t check any of my profiles!

The 30-day social media detox was intended to last from April 29th to May 28th. I was hesitant to walk away for such a long period of time, especially since I work for myself and have an “online presence” or whatever you want to call it. But like most of the other challenges I’ve set for myself, I knew this one was essential. In fact, tuning in to what my body and mind ask for would end up being just one of the many lessons I would take from this experience. But before I jump into the lessons, I should first tell you how the detox went, including some of the things I noticed about myself – and others – when I was offline.

How I Used Social Media Before the Detox

To have a better understanding of what this detox entailed, you should have a clear picture of exactly what type of social media user I was when I started. As I mentioned, I had already deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. I deleted Facebook altogether in May 2016, but I still managed a few business pages and groups, which I did from my computer. And I checked Twitter regularly on my computer, as well, but didn’t feel the need to have 24/7 access to it from my phone. I deleted the Twitter app in March, and had enjoyed feeling slightly less connected without it.

The one app I still checked often was Instagram. I have always loved Instagram. It has allowed me to share pictures of the beautiful scenery I’m surrounded by every day, and helped me discover new places to explore. I have also met some of my closest friends on Instagram! The first friend I made when I moved to Port Moody and the first friend I’ve made since moving to Squamish are both people I had connected with on Instagram. Our conversations started online, but through the pictures and stories we shared, we knew we could probably take them offline too – and we did!

The day I decided to make my Instagram profile a “business profile” was the day I started to get a little less enjoyment from the app. Instead of simply posting a picture, I started to look at how that picture was performing. I also found myself having more conversations with friends about how to optimize posts in order to get more likes. It was all about the likes. What I wrote in the captions was honest, but the profiles I tagged and the hashtags I used were intentionally chosen in the hopes it would bring in more likes. And if I didn’t get enough engagement with a post, I genuinely felt like it wasn’t a good enough picture. It wasn’t fun anymore; it was business. The same became true with Twitter and my tweets.

Even though it felt like business, Instagram – like all social media platforms – was also a rabbit hole. It was too easy to see I was tagged in a post, check out the picture, read the comments, reply to the post, then visit the profile of the person who took the picture, check out a few more of their pictures, look at the list of profiles similar to theirs, check out their pictures, and so on and so forth. All of a sudden, 10 or 20 minutes had gone by, and I had forgotten why I’d opened up the app to begin with. That’s not to say I never found or connected with cool people that way, but this happened way more often than I liked.

I knew things were really bad when my insomnia on April 28th caused me to pick up my phone at 11pm, 12am, 12:30am, 12:40am, 12:50am 1am, 1:10am … until I finally passed out around 3:30am. The dogs woke me up at 6:30am, and I knew I couldn’t survive like that another day. My anxiety had fueled a new level of addiction to my phone and I had to kick it.

What My Life Was Like Without Social Media

I don’t think I’ll bore you with all the nitty gritty details of what each and every day looked like. (I did keep a journal and documented most of them, but it’s not exactly an exciting read!) Instead, I’ll share some of the things that stood out most to me. The first thing I noticed, of course, was how often I reached for my phone. As soon as I clicked the home button, however, I realized the only thing I could check was my email. Email is my least favourite communication tool, so I didn’t check it very often. I just spent ~14 days reaching for my phone, realizing I didn’t care if I had new email then putting it down again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

The second thing I noticed, in those first two weeks, was how many times I thought about posting pictures of what I was doing. I would be out on a hike and still take pictures, but would think to myself, “If I don’t post this, did it really happen?” Obviously, laughter ensued. Instead of posting pictures, however, I sent them to the one or two people I really wanted to share them with. This meant a handful of friends got a lot more pictures delivered via iMessage, and I got to have a lot of meaningful conversations with them.

That brings me to my third point, which is that I strengthened a handful of friendships during my social media detox. Instead of simply double-tapping a picture on Instagram or replying to a tweet, we had real conversations – via text, the phone, Skype, etc. Two friends, in particular, quickly became the people I spoke to on an almost-daily basis. To counter that, unfortunately, I also found a few of my friendships quietened down or died off. I don’t know if that’s because I was offline, or because we have gone down different paths lately. But it did make me think about how the connections we “maintain” online aren’t always meant to last forever.

Finally, one of the best – and most unexpected – outcomes was that I slept better than I had in months. Since October, I had been in a new and terrible sleeping pattern. I was lucky if I could get six hours a night, and especially lucky if I could sleep in past 6am. Within the first few days of my social media detox, I was getting at least eight hours of sleep and was sleeping in until 7-7:30am! The non-morning people probably still think that’s too early, but this felt incredible to me. The bags under my eyes started to diminish, I had more energy and just felt better overall each day – all because I wasn’t checking Instagram before bed.

Of course, some of these things changed when Molly passed away. Namely, I went back to not sleeping very well. All I did was hangout with (and worry about) Lexie. She had spent her entire life with Molly, and I didn’t want her to be alone. I also didn’t want to be alone, but didn’t want to leave the house without her. So, I decided to quit the detox early and downloaded Instagram on May 22nd. There was nothing impulsive about this. I just wanted to share the news (writing little obituaries for Molly and Lexie was part of my healing process) and share pictures and videos of my time with Lexie during her final days. <3

Other Observations I Made During My Social Media Detox

So, it wasn’t a perfect slow living experiment. I witnessed some positive differences in my behaviour and built upon a handful of existing friendships. Being offline also helped me stay more present and alert with the girls, during the time they needed me the most (and that’s time I could never have gotten back). But I did genuinely miss a few things about social media, during those 23 days (I only stayed off Facebook for the full 30). Specifically, there were two friends who were on big life-changing journeys, and I missed reading their updates on Instagram, and seeing pictures and videos from the beautiful places they were visiting.

There are a few other observations I made during my social media detox:

  • I tracked how many hours I was using my phone with the Moment app, and found I spent only 35% of my usual time on it without social media. It also (obviously) held a charge for a lot longer.
  • I can’t tell if it made me any more productive. I finished the second draft of The Year of Less, but I also quit freelancing (more on that later) and spent a lot of time doing nothing.
  • I did feel out of the loop on things, like current events. To be fair, I could have done a better job of checking the news on various sites. It just didn’t feel important compared to what was happening right in front of me at home. And I will never regret being uninformed for one month.
  • I found myself in a lot of conversations with friends who asked, “did you hear about X thing happening in Y city or to Z person?” When I said no and asked for more details, they couldn’t give me any. “That’s all I know,” they said. That’s all most of us know, if we don’t read past the headlines. And that’s what we do: think that what we can learn in 140 characters is enough to stay “in the loop”.

And one observation I’ve made since starting to use Instagram again is somewhat surprising: fewer people text me. I don’t know if it’s because they are now getting updates about me online, but I feel as though I’ve had fewer (and less meaningful) conversations since posting again. That’s something I need to think about more, which brings me to my final thoughts on this experiment.

How I Plan to Use Social Media in the Future

I had such a negative mindset about social media, when I started the detox, that I honestly thought I would be deleting some of my profiles by the end. Twitter had been fuelling my anxiety for weeks, as had Facebook the year before. I knew I wouldn’t delete Instagram, but I also knew the way I’d been using it had to change. I was so convinced I would be anti-social media, by the end of this, that I actually wrote an outline for the post where I would announce why I was walking away from it. Instead, I’ve gone back to my original thought: that we should simply learn how to use it more mindfully rather than ban ourselves completely.

When I looked back at that post I had drafted, I realized most of the reasons I was thinking about quitting social media were related to the fact that it wasn’t fun anymore. Some of that is because what we see online has been extremely negative (even downright mean) since the election. But it’s also because I had turned it all into business. I had never been someone who cared about the numbers, and then one day I started paying attention to them. I also started caring about the overall look/feel of my profiles. I thought that was what I was “supposed to do” in order to grow my business or to seem more legit (and imagine many bloggers and online business owners feel the same).

I’ve bucked most of the trends of what we’re “supposed to do” for years. I’ve never followed thousands of people in hopes they will follow me in return. I’ve always known I would rather have fewer followers who engage with my content rather than an inflated number that makes me seem more important. I also refuse to schedule content to publish around the clock. The business blogs tell me it will increase my pageviews, but I would rather have all my interactions occur in real-time. These are just a couple of the ways I’ve stuck to my morals while building my business. The experts might tell me I’m doing it wrong, but doing things their way isn’t fun. And if it’s not fun, what’s the point?

I’m going to ignore every article about how to increase my engagement and achieve some meaningless goal, and go back to doing what I used to do: sharing my story and connecting with people. Social media doesn’t have to suck. For as much as I was hating on Twitter earlier this year, I am in control of how I use it – and all social media platforms, for that matter. I know it’s a powerful tool, but I don’t care how it affects my business. I want the power to be all about the connections we make. I love hanging out with you guys (and am using this penguin picture to show you how much I love it). I just want to do it my way. Here’s what that will look like:

  • Facebook: I’ll still use it to share all my new blog posts, and some other posts I think you would like.
  • Twitter: Ditto. But I’ll never schedule anything. I only want to post things when I know I’ll be available to have a conversation with you.
  • Instagram: I actually think I’m going to use this platform a little more than usual (namely, stories). However, I won’t be tagging profiles or using hashtags in posts. I don’t care how many people like my photos. I’ll share things because I want to, not because I want it to get any amount of validation.

Also, if the thought of using social media strategically makes you feel icky, go look at how some of the people you look up to in your industry use it. For me, that meant looking at the profiles of Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton. These women don’t have strategies. They all do things differently but have one thing in common: they post what comes from the heart.

Experiment #5: Slow Technology

All-in-all, while I didn’t fully complete the slow living experiment I had mapped out, I still feel incredibly happy with the lessons I took away from it.

  • do a 30-day social media detox (April 29th – May 28th) – 76% complete
  • figure out the role I want social media to play in my life – done!
  • check/reply to email less often (also experiment with not checking on my phone) – done!
  • figure out the role I want technology to play in my life (phone, computers, TV, etc.) – not really
  • read from a book every day – nope

As I am slowly easing myself back onto social media, there is one new habit I built this month that I hope I can hold onto forever: the feeling of not wanting to look at my phone very often. It’s hard to describe, but I genuinely feel an aversion to carrying my phone around with me and looking at it all the time. Yes, it can be a way to connect with people, but the connection you make when you sit across from someone and look them in the eyes is so much better. I vow to do a lot more of that in the future. <3

Books and Podcasts I Consumed This Month

  • Congrats on the insights you found this month! I think it’s so fascinating the role that social media now plays in our lives. Especially considering that it was ‘invented’ to cure a problem we didn’t really have – connecting with people we think we need in our lives. It’s awesome you are going to stick with a social ‘strategy’ that works for you. I’ve recently noticed this in relation to my blog. Bloggers are supposed to be writing killer viral content with click baiting headlines, but the ones I love to write the most are about my direct, every day experiences of minimalism and simple living. These kinds of posts are obviously way less ‘business’ worthy, but if you don’t enjoy writing them, what’s the point? Also, I absolutely love your Instagram stories- I know that whatever you post is ‘real’, I’m glad to hear you’re letting go of the stress of hashtags!

    • “Especially considering that it was ‘invented’ to cure a problem we didn’t really have – connecting with people we think we need in our lives.” – you know, I’ve never really thought about it like that before. From the beginning, I just loved the new opportunities it provided. Unfortunately, the biggest “opportunity” we are told to go after is all about growing an audience… and it is so inauthentic, which I think more and more people are growing tired of these days. Let’s just stick to sharing stories and being grateful for anyone who enjoys them, shall we? :)

  • Thank you for such a wonderful post! I struggle with a love-hate relationship with social media but fear if I abandon it completely I will be out of the loop/ostracised. Your post inspired me to cut back a little and use it more mindfully. Thanks!

    • It’s probably a valid fear, but also not one that you should let be so big you don’t explore the idea of using social media less frequently. When we look away from our screens, there is a big, beautiful world out there :)

  • I rally admire you, Cait! Your post really inspires me, thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    “I’m going to ignore every article about how to increase my engagement and achieve some meaningless goal, and go back to doing what I used to do: sharing my story and connecting with people.” This is the same secret goal I planned for myself at the beginning of the year. After graduating in 2015, I’ve spent 4 months unemployed at home waiting to start my master degree classes, I discovered biz blogs and webinars and I went down the rabbit hole. I spent 2016 treating my blog and social media like a job and I ended up burning out, I was so tired and frustrated that I wanted to quit everything.

    We’re using social media the same way now and I’m happy to know I’m not alone :)

    • You are definitely not alone, Alice! And I’m starting to think this will likely be the trend soon. I feel like most of the conversations I’m having with people re: social media are about how they are burnt out after suffering from information overload + the constant hustle.

  • Thank you, Cait. Sharing your experience has helped me to implement changes (along with the email that you responded to from me!). I deleted my Facebook account and people are panicked as to how to reach me and do not understand how I will know what’s going on. Well, those who are close to me have my home phone, cell phone numbers and my mailing address. Let’s start with that :-) I plan to be more active on Instagram, start a Twitter account to follow people/news and plan to keep that off of my cell phone. I’ve learned a lot from your detox!

  • That’s a great idea about reaching out to people instead of liking posts on Facebook or Instagram. Social media doesn’t really bother me now (it did previously) as my life is fine and I have learned that the grass is always greener on the other side so I don’t feel the urge to compare myself and my life to others any more. I guess that’s a good thing, right? If anything, I love when my friends post on instagram as it usually is funny or cute stuff and I enjoy seeing what’s going on with people in that regard (but I don’t follow a lot of people).

    But I have realized that what has become a problem for me is a compulsive nature to know the news. The past major election in the US was a shock to me and it’s as if I think going through twitter news, reading local papers, etc. will make it all better, and it only leads me to staying up late on my phone or computer. There is a better way to channel this energy and I need to work on that. (I am a parent, so unfortunately, I can’t just leave the house at any hour, although I wish I could, lol!).

    Thank you for posting this. I think reading self-reflection posts like yours really help for people like me, that we all have something we can improve in ourselves about, and it’s not a bad thing. It’s just what life is about–a continuous learning journey.

    PS- thank you for fixing the RSS feed! :)

  • I think your experiment was VERY successful,…..I LIKE your experiments..I like how you view your results..the GOOD, the bad..the not so good…I like how you face/attack your issues and work them out…if MORE people would choose to do this when there was an issue/problem to solve maybe we would be a better society(?)
    I mostly got onto the social apps because of my 3 kids…gotta keep up with whats going on with them everywhere…and yes, I find myself dreading whats what on these apps…but i make the choice to look at them and hopefully talk to my teenagers about them to start dialogue…and try not to get “sucked in”, which is oh so very hard.
    Im so very sorry about your fur-babies, losing anyone close to you is always awful and I hope you know that i am sending good vibes and “air hugs” from the US..

    • That’s a really smart reason to be on social media, Kelly! I imagine there are many parents who wonder what their kids are doing online. Make them add you as a Facebook friend, so you can at least get a glimpse of it!

  • During the month of May, I took a smaller participation in social media. I didn’t use Instagram and would only hop on Twitter a few times per day, not wanting to spend more than 10 minutes per day on it. Facebook…yeah, I haven’t really even used that since 2012, haha. I didn’t participate in the FinCon group and other groups but nothing big.

    Like you said, I really noticed how often I reach for my phone. Not only that, but I realized how I have this intense desire to fill a void instead of allowing myself to be alone with my thoughts. For instance, in the past, whenever I had down time, even if just for a few minutes, I would pop onto social media. It was crazy how often I did it. The twitch is still there but now I recognize it and don’t succumb to it as much.

    • I would say I’m right there with you, Colin! I definitely feel the need to fill the void, at times, and still reach for my phone more often than I’d like. But I’m getting better about pausing and asking myself WHY I want to look at my phone. If the answer is just because I’m bored, that’s not a good enough reason to look!

  • This was a great read! Thanks for updating us! And, I’m so sorry about Molly.

    I think you make some interesting points about the growing commercialization of social media and blogging and how it’s starting to influence the way all of us use it. I still remember years ago when the biggest complaint about social media was that people overshared mundane details of their life. Obviously that still happens, but now it has shifted to complaints that people/accounts are too inauthentic and curated. Even people who don’t make their living online or have huge followings feel the pressure to “brand” our lives and make them more marketable. It sounds curmudgeonly but I kind of miss the early days before blogging became so lucrative, when people used blogging as an outlet to share their lives and stories. It seems like a lot of bloggers have abandoned that in favor of sponsored posts and traffic generation. I don’t begrudge bloggers for trying to make a buck, I just wish there were more personal and down-to-earth bloggers like you out there! :-) Or maybe I’m just not looking hard enough?

    • Umm, I do think they are fewer and further between… for the record, most of my faves are all in the minimalism/simple living space. I’m not opposed to making money online, but I’ve always steered clear of most of the “traditional” ways we’re told to do it. It just doesn’t feel right to me. And I’m glad I didn’t go too far down that path, because honestly, it takes ALL THE FUN out of blogging. Every time I tried to be more intentional and “curate” things, I felt icky, then started to procrastinate the work and usually took a break from it all. I’m done trying. What you see now is what you get :)

  • I love everything about this post (well, not your anxiety but I think you know what I mean).

    I did something radical yesterday. I downloaded Overdrive, Hoopla and Cloudlibrary onto my tablet. I mean, I’m in charge of ebooks at my job and I NEVER READ anymore. Less social media and more reading sounds like a good way to spend the summer.

    • That’s awesome, Shari! I am totally obsessed with basically any audiobook that is read by the author. That’s most of what I’m “reading” these days :)

  • I’m such a late adopter of technology I practically have to be dragged to it kicking and screaming. I only joined FB to see Jared’s photos when we had just met and lived in different states. Now I stay on it to see pics of family kiddos who live out of state, and I joined Insta for the same reason. So, I don’t post but do love checking in when I can for the smiles that their smiling faces bring to mine.

  • Glad to read that you are critical of those how-to-gain-popularity guides. The less people post to social media the more meaningful thoughts they have usually. I like following such people.

  • Thanks for the update Cait and I’m so sorry to hear about Molly. I do love Instagram, but more so due to the people I follow; people who inspire me and make me want to make better changes for the world. Using it as a sort of canvas of where I want my life to go. I may not be surrounded by such a like minded community at the moment but Instagram shows me that there are people are out there in the world who are on a similar path – muddling through, as we all are in life, but wanting to make a difference. I have noticed I have totally fallen down the rabbit hole when it comes to the news. I feel like I am reaching for my phone continuously to check any updates on what is happening around the world. I want to be informed but I also realise I need to take a step back and see what effect it is having on me. It’s a balancing act for sure but it all boils down to awareness and making the necessary changes. Looking forward to new Budgets and Cents podcast :)

    • Awareness is key, Sharon! Even after writing this post, there’s nothing saying I’ll always follow my own rules… but if/whenever I slip up, I just need to stay self-aware, so I can get back on the path I want to be on. And me too! It launches Tuesday!

  • First of all….penguins! Secondly, I love how honest and open you are about life. It’s not all fun and games. It is definitely hard. You are one tough young lady and you should be very proud of yourself. Thirdly? That word sounds funny. LOL I definitely have to check out that Moment app. I’m sure I will scare myself when I see how often my phone is using up my valuable time.

    • Oh, you will scare yourself, haha. But it’s ok! It’s better to be informed/aware of the truth; that’s the only way to make a change :)

  • Sounds like a great detox! I love Instagram, but I only check it out in the evenings & on weekends. And Fridays after 5 till Monday morning, I try to avoid all news content. Monday morning I check a few news sites to catch up for the week ahead. That really helps me detox from news and I feel like weekends are more relaxing now.

    • News-free weekends are a great idea, Sharon! Something I kept reminding myself about being off social media was also this: it can all wait. If anything was PRESSING, you would hear about it from someone in real life.

  • Heartfelt post Cait :) I was truly sorry to hear about your dogs Molly and Lexie, when you posted on Instagram. I know how hard it is to lose a pet. They truly are family.

    I haven’t been on social media that much either as I am just burnt out (still) regarding it. I definitely agree with you that using social media more mindfully is the key. I think your experiment was a success any way you look at it :) Glad to see you back, Cait!

    • And it’s so good to be back, friend! Thanks for the comment about the girls. We miss them every day, but I know they are together somewhere… running in the grass, chasing crows and eating raspberries :)

  • Wow! You are an inspiration, Cait. First, in my becoming a mindful consumer and bugeter. I’ve wanted to do a social media purge for a while but just keep falling into the “rabbit hole.” I’ve had social media fatigue for a while. It’s especially been strong these past few months now that I’m working with advertisers on social media. It’s open all the time for me now. Your post couldn’t come at a better time. I’ve been considering making a change in my work because I’ve felt what I’m doing now does not align with my values. Thank you for sharing!

    • If it doesn’t align with your values, make any/every change you need to, Jen. I made a couple more changes re: my business this week and feel a HUGE WEIGHT has come off. We are in control of this stuff :)

  • Great post, full of insightful commentary, as usual. I did some social media detoxing in May as well: I signed up for the media detox from Break the Twitch (great site, thanks for letting us know about it). I started by learning about the do not disturb setting on my phone and now turn that on every night. I also turn off all notifications at night, which has been fantastic. I thinned the herd of apps on my phone screen; they’re still on my phone, but I have to work harder to access them. This has been great.
    And I finally removed facebook and twitter from my phone screen, leaving Instagram, my bringer of joy and wild places. I was amazed at how much better I felt without facebook. It has been giving my soul trouble for some time now, for a variety of reasons. I have carefully curated Instagram to be about what gives me joy and feeds my spirit. I may allow twitter back, we’ll see. It is easier for me to take breaks from, and I do find it useful for work.
    I was so sorry to hear about Lexie and Molly. Such a heartwrenching and difficult time. I’m glad you were able to be there, but that’s a lot to deal with in a short amount of time.

  • Thanks for a great post.
    I wish I could relate. I find that most social media imitates your taste and day in and day out I am seeing the same crap on FB, useless recipes and cures on Pinterest….. I just can’t take it seriously anymore. My struggle is finding real news and intelligent reads.
    I only use Facebook to see how my family is doing in Europe, but I must admit, with good apps like whatsup, using FB is dying off slowly.
    Just another point of view!
    All the best to you from the heart!

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your pups. It’s so sad that these wonderful creatures, who love us without reservation and with the entirety of their hearts and souls, have such short lifespans compared to ours. Our Lucy Lulu has been a part of our family for going on thirteen years and it’s hard to imagine a life that doesn’t have our sweet girl in it.

    I’m pretty much a Neanderthal when it comes to social media. I don’t do Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and I’m fairly sure that there are others that I don’t even know about that I don’t do either. I get aggravated when I come across a post that I enjoy enough to want to follow that particular blogger only to find out that they don’t have a newsletter and they’re only on social media platforms. There is NOBODY that I like enough to get sucked down into the vortex that is social media. My husband has a Facebook account. I watch him mindlessly scrolling through a bunch of random nonsense some nights for an hour….. it’s akin to channel flipping on the TV when there’s nothing on worth watching. I do enjoy newsletters but recently have been unsubscribing from a number of those that I’ve realized only have something worth reading once in a blue moon. I realized that I was doing the same thing with newsletters/emails that the hubs was doing with Facebook. No bueno.

    I’m glad that you and so many others are stepping back and evaluating why and how you use social media and cutting away the parts that are causing anxiety and general feeling of discontent and the pressure to live up to some conflated ideas about what constitutes a worthy post.

  • Best thing I’ve done in the past three years is to get rid of all social media on all devices. It’s so liberating I can’t speak highly enough of a complete social media wipeout.
    Next to go was emails off the iPhone and next will be internet access/Google.
    Claim your life back folks, you won’t regret it.

  • You’re right, 140 characters is not enough to stay in the loop. This post was insightful, thanks.

  • Great post! I have gone back and forth about getting a smart phone (Yes, I’m one of those who still don’t have one.) for the very reasons you are talking about. Every time I get excited about buying one, I think about the times I’m out to lunch with friends and while we are talking they whip out their phones to read text or answer the calls. At a recent concert while waiting in line in the bathroom, almost everyone in line was checking their phones. What is so important that they need to constantly check? Then it occurred to me that it’s an addiction, just like my addiction to checking Facebook on my computer. Thanks for the reminder. I am going to seriously start limiting my online time.

  • Hello, my detox left me with two accounts. Instagram and twitter. They are both highly targeted accounts. Instagram is nothing but travel photos, my first escape. My Twitter is nothing buy inspirational quotes. I do not allow anyone I know into my feeds. I can change my mood or day in five minutes with those accounts.

  • I loved this blog post! I started a social media detox on June 17th, and I when I read your post, it was if I had been writing it myself. I still haven’t decided whether to get back on or not, but I like your take on validation and posting what you want instead of what you think others will want.

    I was addicted to likes, and also found myself liking things on Facebook that my friends had posted before I even read or looked at what they posted. That’s an embarrassing admission. That’s when I knew it was getting too much for me to manage if I didn’t have time to look at what I had said I liked. The dopamine kick I was getting from counting the likes others were giving me and the inventory I was taking of who was giving me the likes and who was not, was addicting me to Facebook.

    Since being off, I have taken to practicing the piano more, cooking healthy from-scratch meals for my family, and I have learned how to design shorts patterns that I will sew into shorts for myself in a few days. My kids say that while they haven’t particularly noticed that I’m spending more time with them, I seem happier because I’m doing more hobbies. Certainly, they must be noticing that I don’t have my phone in my face when we go out to eat as a family, which has been a very good change.

    Also, those people who really care about me have found ways to communicate with me despite the fact that I mysteriously dropped off of the face of the Facebook earth. Nobody, except one good friend at church, who is now taken texting has asked me where I have been. My adult kids knew, but I told them beforehand.

    My 14 year-old told me that the act of getting off of Facebook became a friend filter to find out who my good friends are. :)

    Thanks for your post.

    One more interesting point. If I had been on Facebook, I would have not seen your post because my inbox has suddenly become more interesting to me.

  • This is such a wonderful post! It’s my first time reading your blog, but it has definitely made an impact on me. Although I am not a big social media user, the one outlet I use is Facebook and it drags me down every single time I look at it. “Scrolling” is my least favorite hobby. And it is the only hobby that I do consistently yet consistently hate. I love your idea about sending those pictures that you took to a few people you love rather than post it because “if you don’t post it, it never happened”. Thank you for sharing! You’ve motivated me and helped me see the reasons to take that step and delete my Facebook.

  • I was really happy to see this title come up in my BlogLovin’ emails, mainly because I’m going on month 8 of my 12 month social media detox. For many of the same reasons, it just wasn’t fun anymore and caused anxieties, but also because it was affecting me in a such a terribly negative way. I was dealing with 2 heartbreaking events, and I finally had enough of how social media was affecting me, so I decided to deactivate my facebook, delete twitter completely, and deactivate instagram (i had already deleted snapchat 4 months prior). I too, had the hardest time deactivating my instagram because I love photography. But for my sanity, I needed a break. At first it was only going to be 3 months, then that turned into 6 months, and now it’s turned into staying off social media for a full year.

    It’s been an interesting thing to “fast” from, but it’s also been healing for the most part. I don’t see the things that affected me negatively, and I’ve learned that if people really care to know what’s going on in my life…they’ll call or text, and vis versa! Sometimes I feel like I need more than a year off of it, but at the same time, I miss sharing my photography on instagram….and seeing posts from family or travels from friends.

    After 8 months of not being on social media, I still have friends that forget I’m not on it, which can get annoying if they ask if I’ve seen so and so’s photo, but I always remind them. Haha! When people find out for the first time that I’m not on social media, majority of the time people say man, I wish I could do that! I always tell them that they can….even if it’s just for a week.

    I’ve really appreciated the time not spent on social media, and not being distracted by notifications or if people are liking my photos. I think once I get back on it, it’s definitely going to look a lot different, time wise. I really commend you for taking a needed break and learning how to navigate using the apps or not. I still feel like I’m learning a lot about the social media detox, and how it’s affecting me in a positive way….but overall, it’s given me so much more time to really enjoy the moments, spend quality time with my friends not distracted by my phone, and helped to seek positivity.

  • You are speaking my language! In fact, I’ve rewritten two blog posts about social media lately. I think a lot of us are sick of the games and want to go back to it being fun. Thank you for articulating this perfectly.

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