What I learned on my 3-week break from social media

Posted on Mar 16, 2021

I recently took a three-week break from social media.

As I wrote about early on, I chose to take a break from social media because I had a hunch that it was detrimental to my wellness. 

I decided to avoid all forms—which, for me, meant Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, including both personal and business pages, and a couple of Slack teams—for what ended up being about three weeks. 

If you’ve wondered whether Facebook is adding more joy to your life than it’s taking…

If you’ve considered simplifying or reducing your use of Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter…

If you’re not feeling your best (tired, mentally foggy, easily distracted) and are looking for realistic ways to feel more energized, focused, or calm…

See what ideas my social media learnings might spark for you.

The scandalous relationship I discovered

I was shocked!

I had no idea these two were rendezvousing behind my back. It happened every day, multiple times a day. First thing in the morning. After lunch. Even on the toilet! Who was the shameless couple?

Social Media + My Unconscious Self

Once I was off of social media, I quickly noticed that my fingers would often visit the apps’ previous locations on my cell phone’s home screen before my conscious brain had a chance to catch up. Sometimes, this happened at specific times of day. Other times, it was in response to my feeling sad, lonely, or bored. (Avoiding my emotions: not helpful.)

That’s what you call a habit, folks: a behavior that’s been performed enough times to become automatic. Yikes.

The breakup

Amidst this noticing, my time away from social media was FANTASTIC. I’m not sure why it felt so amazing, to be honest. But the fact that it did is insightful enough for me.

I didn’t encounter any of the downsides that I feared might occur. People in need of a coach to help them find more meaningful work still found me and booked calls. I didn’t miss anything important. I suspect no one much noticed or cared.

But as with all dysfunctional relationships, I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel. Surely there’s a way to make this relationship mutually beneficial?!

Getting back together

I’m trying “us” out again, this time with more thoughtfulness.

Let’s be real: the first day back, I binged. (These apps are designed to make us do this, of course.) But once I looked away from the screen, I got back in touch with my body. And I didn’t notice the joy or connection I had been seeking; I noticed numbness.

This was a necessary wake-up call. 

My current boundaries are something like this: Use the technology only when you have mentally articulated a purpose. 

For instance, I used LinkedIn the other day with a clear, worthwhile intention. One of my lovely readers praised an interview I had shared via my weekly email. It helped me realize that it would be in service to share the wisdom of that video on LinkedIn, where it has the potential to reach the unhappily employed, high-achieving women who need what I offer.

That interaction with LinkedIn, in which I executed my purpose while ignoring the notifications and endless feed, felt more nurturing than not.

I’m still exploring how I want to interact with social media. 

Your relationship with social media

Is it time to look at your relationship with social media?

Are you ready to try an experiment of your own?

If so, you might need ideas of what to fill your newfound time with. I always recommend a nap. For more self-care activity ideas, check out My Tender Loving Self-Care journal.

Photo credit: Daniel Farò for Death To Stock