Social media can be such a gift, a place to connect with others, but then it can also become a bit draining, if you know what I mean. Over the last year, I have worked on weaning myself off of social media and I want to share the benefits I’ve discovered from my social media detox.
“We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self denial, anxiety and discouragement.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
A bit of History
I started blogging back in 2010 because I wanted to share our daily happenings with family and friends. I was a bit lonely as a young mother and I found that blogging was such a wonderful way to connect with other ladies in the same phase of life as me.
Blogging was a pretty casual experience for me. I blogged consistently, but it didn’t have the pull that I experience with the social media on my phone. Fast forward to 2012, when I downloaded instagram and started sharing what I would call, “micro blog posts.” Wow, did they ever make it easy to share and to consume what other people were sharing! I instantly fell in love with the platform for this reason.
Over time, my time spent on the app grew. Before I knew it, I was spending hours engaging, posting, and sharing stories on this one app. I made many excuses:
“This is the only app I use. I don’t spend hardly any time on other platforms.”
“This is how I grow my business. I have to spend time on there. If I were at a ‘job’ I would be spending time there, too.”
“I don’t spend as much time on the app as other people do.”
“I’m using it to encourage other women.”
You see, all of those things were true, but to be honest… I didn’t WANT to be on my phone that much… the drama of the world flashing before my eyes. I didn’t want to constantly have it as a distraction.
I was longing for the slow and simple… the quiet of just being home.
Changes- Starting Small
In May 2020, I began to wean myself off of the app. I set small, reasonable goals for myself. It started as only spending 2 hours/day on the app and logging off on weekends. What I found was that simply detoxing from social media on the weekends made the pull to be on social media subside. Come Monday, I usually had to force myself to ‘work’ again.
I was so enjoying the distance from social media that when October 2020 came around, I limited my social media time to 1 hour/day. I don’t always hit my mark, but my average is usually around 1 hour or 1 1/2 hours/day plus logging off on the weekends.
Can I just say, detoxing from social media is so freeing. It quiets so much noise. It eliminates so many distractions. My heart feels more focused on what’s inside of my home- the things I can, somewhat, control. It is glorious! Now, I want to share some benefits that I have noticed from being disconnected from my phone.
Boredom, which leads to Creativity
This is true for our kids, but also true for us adults. I was filling my mind and eyes with so much online content that I wasn’t able to be still and be bored. I was doing my daily things- homemaking and homeschooling, but I wasn’t able to be creative.
Since I have stepped back and started a small social media detox, I’ve been able to sharpen my photography skills. I have moved away from simple phone photography and I have picked up my dslr again. It has been so enjoyable to work on fine tuning those things.
A new creative outlet for me was the planting of paperwhites. These are simple bulbs to plant indoors that I had wanted to plant for a long time, but I never did because I “couldn’t find time” to do so. I have already ordered more and I plan on sharing the entire process with you all in a future post so you can add paperwhites to your list.
There is so much incoming when you spend time online that it’s hard to even think once you put the phone down. One of the main reasons I chose to do a social media detox was because when I would sit down to read my bible and pray, I would quickly get distracted.
It was so frustrating to me to carve out time for bible reading only to have thoughts from instagram fill my mind. This was, for sure, the biggest “bite” social media had on me. Social media is a good thing… up to a point, and I had, clearly, crossed that threshold. Nothing is so important that it should impede on time spent with God.
Since taking a social media break, of sorts, I have been able to focus in the mornings and my mind isn’t racing while I should be taking in the Word of God.
Y’all, this is it. I regularly sit back and think about my life, what it looks like, and what I will think when I’m old and look at how I spent my time in my younger years. Here’s the truth, I will never look back and wish I had spent more time on my phone, building a business. I would, most certainly, look back and wish I hadn’t wasted the years with my children under my wing in order to chase such dreams of success. Again… everything has a cost. Building a business is such a good endeavor, but not if it means I am giving up something much more valuable.
Since taking a step back from social media, I have made more eye contact with my kids, sat and conversed with them (almost) constantly, and my (internal) eye roll when they need me is now non-existent. They are fully my priority and everything else is taking a back seat.
Tending to the Home
A fun part of this social media detox is that I have found more time to spend on my home. I have been changing up a few small things here and there and I even put my new sofa cover on my linen couch that I have been wanting to recover for awhile now. My baseboards are wiped down and the laundry is caught up. Even the supper table has felt the effects of less distractions. It just feels good.
Clear the Clutter
So here I am, almost a year later, and I am taking stock on how this simple step back into the simple life has made a difference. I can see the blessings in so many areas, the most of which is my peace of mind. Friends, there is so much clutter to consume out there. Some of it is worth knowing, but a lot of it isn’t. In my humble opinion, the clutter that is worth knowing will find its way to your door eventually, so why waste time filling our hearts and minds with it right now.
This summer when I decided to chip away at my time on instagram I had a conversation with Mark. I mentioned how the weight of everything going on- the unkindness online, the chaos in our country, the dishonesty running rampant, was leading to a sadness in my heart and worry. So, we came up with a resolution. He keeps up on all of the world news and we made an agreement that he would consume the important things for the both of us. That which is important for me to know, he would inform me of. The rest… I didn’t need to be worried with. It has been a wonderful arrangement for us and a protection for my mind and heart in this season.
I could keep going on and on about the benefits of my social media detox, but I will leave it to those few simple things. There is so much to see and enjoy right here if we will simply allow ourselves to not be distracted.
Does this mean I am leaving social media altogether? Nope. There is still a wonderful benefit to being online, so I won’t ever leave it completely. This small step back was just what I needed and I feel like I’m in my ‘sweet spot’ in regards to social media.
This year, my hope is to spend more time here… on the ol’ blog. I plan to share more videos and pop onto instagram a time, or two, a week to see how everyone is doing.
I hope you found this to be encouraging. If you are feeling the pull of social media and it is too much, I hope this gives you the push you need to step away and let the pull subside. In the comments, let me know if you feel the same way or if you have done anything like this. It is always a sweet encouragement to know that other people are in the same place.