I Left Social Media for a Month: Here’s What Happened

For the month of January, I detoxed from social media. More specifically, I stayed off Facebook and Instagram, but continued using Pinterest (someday I’ll do a Pinterest detox, but not yet). Any moment that wasn’t specifically devoted to a task, I’d reach for my phone and do the scroll. 15 minutes later, sometimes longer, and my thumb would hurt and I would wonder where the time had gone. On rougher days, I would feel discouraged and my self-esteem would plummet after I convinced myself that everyone else was living glamorous, productive lives while i sat on my couch just trying to make it through the day. 

So, after the holiday craziness had died down, I committed to staying off instagram and Facebook for the month of January, and I stuck to it (though I did hop on Facebook once to accept a friend request and group request- but it was kind of mandatory). Here’s what happened.

  1. I identified my habits and reflexes. I didn’t realize how frequently I’d open my phone mindlessly and check social media until this detox. I would sit down to make a to-do list, open my phone, and immediately open safari in order to visit Facebook. It made me more aware of this reflex, and I was able to see patterns of when I would most frequently try to hop on Facebook or instagram, for no reason at all. 
  2. I found lost time and felt more productive. Instead of sitting on the couch scrolling on my phone while I was nursing, I read. For as long as I’ve breastfed, I’ve had books nearby, expecting to read while I nursed, but I usually opted for my phone. Specifically during nursing sessions, or when I was out of the house, I’d use the time I used to spend on Instagram more wisely, usually writing blog posts or  reading.
  3. I was able to devise a plan for being more intentional about growing my business and connecting with people on Instagram and Facebook. — I’ve been on Facebook for 12 years. Even with all of the interface changes, I have used it for pretty much the same purposes for all 12 of those years, and in the same way. I occasionally comment on other people’s posts, and I occasionally send out messages. Through research and hearing testimonies from other people, I am excited to be more involved in Facebook groups moving forward. I have found a handful that I’d like to try out and see what sort of community I can find. Instagram is the exact opposite for me. I joined late to the game, and have never quite figured out how I’d like to use it. At first, I posted about auditions I went on, and then I occasionally posted about crafts I made, and then after my son was born, I blasted photos of home almost daily. I have come up with better ideas for consistency and aiming for quality over quantity.
  4. I did not re-connect with my friends the way I thought I would. I think it’s the nature of this time of year, that we all get hyper-focused on our goals for the new year, and we tend to be less focused on relationships. I have spoken to a few of my friends more frequently off social media, but I think I feel the distance more, not keeping up to date on what they’re posting. The double-edged sword of social media is that it can lull us into feeling more connected than we are, but if we use it intentionally, it is a great tool.

Have you ever done a social media detox? I’ve read about people doing a tech or social media detox one weekend every month, which I might try moving forward. Thoughts?

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