Every couple years I like to take a social media break for maybe a month. The reason for those short breaks was simply, to give me a break. This particular break however lasted 8 months! How did I do it? Honestly, it wasn’t easy at first.
Here are a few of my signs & prompts to lead me to know “maybe this isn’t so great for me”.:
Seeing posts of friends going on beautiful vacations and thinking “Wait, I want to go!!”
Seeing posts of friends’ kids and thinking “Gosh, maybe I need to take Lyla shopping?” Ha.
Seeing posts of “friends” battling over politics and football.
Seeing consistent negative posts.
And finally, what broke the camel’s back was….drumroll please…..
CHECKING MY FACEBOOK AT A TRAFFIC LIGHT!
I knew in the moment I did that, I needed either help or a break of what seemingly seemed like an….addiction….maybe? Not sure what to call it, but it didn’t seem good.
It’s hard to break daily rituals. I would check my personal emails, work emails, messages, my calendar, my on-line bank account, and of course, Facebook & Instagram. That’s what I did and it seemed “normal”. But when I find myself “checking” social media and then 1 hour later I’m still “checking”, um, what happened? Where did that time go?!
Listen, I’m not totally dissing (haven’t used that word in a while) social media. I LOVE staying connected to friends, especially ones I don’t get to see very often and I LOVE to see family that doesn’t live near me and I LOVE for people to see my little Lyla and stay caught up with her. I LOVE the events, the private groups, and the birthday reminders!
There are many positives, but like everything, there’s a time & place and there’s a thing called balance. I believe if you can’t find balance in something, you need to find a solution, i.e. a break.
And at this particular time in my life, balance was in order. I had just signed up for Yoga Teacher Training! This training was located in Jacksonville and required traveling each month for the next several months. After the 1st weekend in Jacksonville I knew I needed change in my life. One of those changes was cutting out social media, especially since I was already considering it.
And when people asked me “why?” my honest, in-short response and a response that lasted the entire 8 months was: “It was distracting and I need less distractions right now.”
Comically however, I think some people wanted a more dramatized answer like “I’m not doing well and I don’t want people to know.”, or “I have crazy stalker followers (since I’m so interesting right? lol;) and I need to get rid of them.” But no, it was nothing like that.
And man, if people weren’t expecting responses like those, they would ask “Did you block me? What did I do?!” So now I’m having a complex about people being mad at me for blocking them when I didn’t, oh my!
So here’s the first thing I learned from the get-go:
I believe we shouldn’t base our lives nor judge others’ lives around what’s happening or not happening on social media. I believe we shouldn’t assume what others are doing, not doing, feeling and going through. I believe we should trust that others are doing well unless there are real signs of distress or if they’ve asked for help.
What else did I learn these past 8 months?:
That I’m more than my social media profiles, pictures & comments. We all are. Social media is just a tiny piece of our lives that we choose to share with our friends when we wish.
Since we’re more than our social media pages, I believe we shouldn’t take things posted or not posted, liked or not liked, so seriously. We should be more “friendly” on-line.
I enjoyed running into people [in person] and genuinely saying and wanting to know “How are you? What have you been up to?” since I didn’t know. It was nice! And was kinda like ‘the good old days’.
It’s ok to take breaks and give others the freedom to take their breaks too. I believe the breaks are important if you find yourself doing any of the things that I did or similar.
And during the first few weeks (after a tiny bit of withdrawal), I felt like I had so much free time! Wow. And that time felt so precious and made me realize, “did I give some of that precious time to social media when maybe I shouldn’t have?” Either way, I’m “free” now, ha, and man did I take advantage.
As time went on, it felt “normal” to NOT have social media. And after the first couple weeks of withdrawal, it was easy-peasy! I actually found it was a little hard to get back on! Mostly because it’s not my “normal” right now.
Like everything else, there are pros & cons. And balance is key. Do you feel balanced with social media? Or, maybe you want a challenge? I challenge you to take a break whether it’s 1 week or 1 year off social media, and tell me what YOU learned. But, you have to be honest, not with me, but with yourself.
I’m ready to utilize what I learned from this long break. And yes, I’m happy to be back on.