The last 10 days I took a break from all social media and I’m shocked at what I learned over the last 10 days. I always knew I was “addicted” to social media, but I always told myself it was okay because it was for my business. So when I took my social media break, I was scared. As lame as that sounds, I didn’t know if I could do it. I was scared to lose the momentum I had worked so hard to get. Scared to lose the engagement I had also worked my butt off for. Scared to lose followers like crazy and gain none. Scared to see how addicted I really was and lose my mind. Scared that I’d lose out on collaborations and partnerships. And honestly, scared that I was so scared.
So when I went in with the faith that if I did this for myself, I would come out better than before and learn things that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, I was scared, but ready. And I can’t even begin to truly explain everything I learned about business, life, myself, and more from this 10 day social media fast. So I thought I’d try to pull all my thoughts into one place and share with you what I learned.
I highly recommend setting a certain number of days you feel you could get off social media and take a break and regroup your life. I know you’ll learn things that will help your overall life and help you become an even better person.
1. MindFULness over MindLESSness
This was the overall big takeaway from my 10 days off social media. The first few days every time I got on my phone my thumb mindlessly went to open Instagram. Luckily I had deleted the app so I wouldn’t be tempted, but the fact that I would mindlessly go to click the app really worried me. As the first few days continued I learned that I didn’t actually miss what most people were posting, but I was addicted to the act of scrolling. Mindless scrolling. Mindless watching of stories. Mindlessness. Over and over. And that was when it hit me. Why am I mindlessly doing things in my life? I mindlessly scroll on Instagram. I mindlessly just look at my phone. I mindlessly start watching a show while folding laundry and then realize I watched 6 dances on Dancing with the Stars and folded 2 shirts. I was being extremely mindless in my day to day life and that needed to stop.
I NEEDED TO STOP LIVING WITH MINDLESSNESS AND START LIVING WITH MINDFULNESS.
After about the 3rd day of no social media I started noticing and taking action for the mindfulness things I was doing. I started being mindful in what I did first thing in the morning. Instead of getting on Instagram to mindlessly scroll for the first 30 minutes of my day, I worked out every single day last week. It was because I mindfully told myself I was going to work out first thing, instead of getting on social media. Instead of mindlessly scrolling Instagram, I started mindfully planning out action steps for my business and taking action on what I needed to be doing to improve. Instead of mindlessly watching stories, I was mindfully listening to my friends talk, going to lunch with people, and never pulling out my phone just to “check” just “in case” someone needed me.
I was PRESENT. I was AWARE. and I WAS MINDFUL.
2. Overcoming Boredom With Everyday Activities
I’ve always been a person who HATES being bored. I can’t watch movies because about 15 minutes in I feel the need to be working on something. I’ve had a hard time balancing life and work and relaxation, but it’s something I’ve been trying to work on this last year especially. With taking my Instagram break though, I noticed that getting bored with any activity was quit different then feeling bored with nothing to do. Let me explain.
I’m the type of person who will take a shower, get out and check Instagram. Then I dry my hair, get bored, and check Instagram. Then I’d curl my hair, get bored of the activity and check…you guessed it….Instagram. I would take twice as long to get ready because I would “get bored” and check Instagram. I didn’t realize that what I was doing was training my brain that if I wasn’t actively participating in something at all times and moving from thing to thing, that I was bored. Guess what? That’s not the case. I did absolutely fine without social media those 10 days because I was mindful of how I spent my time and it actually caused me to be less bored of my mundane activities. I wasn’t bored with curling my hair, because I had the purpose of getting ready. That was it. That was what I was doing. Not interrupting my mindful activity with mindless scrolling to fill what I thought was a void or a boredom in my brain. So the last 10 days I felt like I started viewing boredom differently. I realized that I was using Instagram as an excuse for pushing off things that I thought were boring everyday tasks and that was not okay with me. Especially because I want to share that the everyday life is something to celebrate.
I was fighting what I thought was everyday boredoms with other people’s excitement, and that is not how I should be celebrating the everyday life.
3. Being Present Both Body and Mind
As soon as I started my break I knew that I was going to learn to “be present”. Right? Like duh….I feel like everyone who gets off of social media for awhile realizes that they weren’t being as present in life as they could’ve been. What really got me though was I didn’t realize the distinct difference in being present with both your body and your mind.
Talking with Kyle at night was great because I didn’t feel the need to check up on what everyone did that day, post myself, or respond to everyone who commented on my post. I was present with my body by not having my phone, but also present in my mind because I wasn’t worried about Instagram and what I needed to do for my business. The biggest takeaway though was during Sunday dinner. We went to Kyle’s family and after we eat everyone normally breaks for a minute before we all gather and start chatting, opening gifts for birthdays, or having a family discussion. Many times during this break, I will go to the couch, sit next to Kyle and if I’m not involved in a conversation, I’ll open Instagram. I always felt like because I wasn’t “part of the conversation” I didn’t need to be there mentally. What I hadn’t realized is I wasn’t being their physically either. My eyes were on my screen. My hands were occupied with scrolling. I was shutting myself out without even realizing it. I’d always think, well if someone talks to me I’ll shut it off, but how were they suppose to talk to me when MENTALLY I thought I was there, listening in the back of my mind, but PHYSICALLY I wasn’t giving anyone a chance or a reason to talk to me. I was shutting myself off. The last two weeks without Instagram on Sunday I made an effort to be present in every aspect. I was more aware of what was going on, even if I wasn’t part of the conversation. I made efforts to be present in every area of my life, and it’s something I want to continue to do.
No Instagram post is worth shutting out the world around you and the people who are in front of you that need you.
4. Social Media Is Good
Now although I learned these other things I’ve talked about so far, I still learned that social media is SOOOO good. I love the friends I’ve made from Instagram. The fun I have connecting with everyone. Being able to share my love of modest fashion and sharing tips and encourage others to celebrate the everyday life. Not once did I ever feel like social media was ruining my life or was bad and that I should delete it forever. I learned that moderation and the approaches I take in my life and how I then put the good of social media into that aspect of my life, is what I need to be doing. Social media is a great part of life and one that I am so grateful for, but the trick is to learn how you want to live your life first and then include social media into that life.
Don’t make your life fit into the mold of social media, make social media fit into the mold of the life you want to live.
5. Importance of Time
You only have 24 hours in a day, how am I going to use those hours? I was noticing that I was spending a lot of time on social media. Crazy part? I got off and I don’t feel like I was necessarily more productive like I thought I would. I honestly thought that when I got off social media my house would be spotless, my business would be ahead, and I’d have written 10 blog posts to be prepared. Guess what? That didn’t happen. I definitely used Instagram as a time filler, which was not always the best use of my time, but I wasn’t being mindful (see told you that was the biggest lesson I learned) with my time. Even after I got off social media it just didn’t magically fix itself. I had to actively want to make time the more important aspect in my life and I was going to make time for the things I wanted to do, not fill my time with things I wanted to do. Do you see the difference? One is that I’m using the time I have left in the day for the things I want to do. After I’ve eaten, gone to work, or whatever it was I needed to, what time did I have left after all of that to do what I wanted to do. The other is that I am actively MAKING time for the things I wanted to do. This worked out well because I’ve been doing the 90 day challenge where I wake up 1 hour earlier everyday to get something done I want to do. It’s changed my outlook and I’ve realized that I can make time to do what I want and not just fill my time.
Don’t just fill your time with things you want, but MAKE time for the things you want to do in your life.
6. Where Do You Find Your Happiness?
Social media has never necessarily made me feel unhappy, although at times I’ve compared myself to others and had to have one of those come to Jesus moments where I realign my values and thoughts, but I’ve never necessarily blamed social media for that. Which is one reason I think I have a healthy relationship (overall) with social media. I’m not saying that I’ve never let my happiness depend on social media, because many times I’ve felt like my business was failing because of the number of likes or comments, but I loved social media and all the good that comes from it, so I continued to use it.
What I learned these last 10 days though, was that I should look for happiness in everything that I do. I can definitely allow Instagram to make me happy and honestly I should! There are so many great things to social media. So when people say don’t find your happiness there, I get it, but shouldn’t we be finding happiness in everything? I can find happiness in curling my hair. In walking my dogs. In talking with my husband. In going to lunch with a friend.
I can and should find happiness in social media, just like I find happiness in every other thing I do.
7. Breaks Are Needed
Breaks are needed. From everything, not just social media. I think taking a break from anything is healthy. It gives us a new perspective, a new love, and a new appreciation for whatever we took a break from. That’s why we take breaks from work. From hobbies. From social media. From whatever it is in our life. Taking breaks are healthy in every aspect and I want to take breaks from a lot of different aspects in my life now so I can gain a new appreciation and love.
Taking breaks is healthy for the mind, body, and soul.
8. I’m Not As Addicted As I Thought
This realization made me happier than most of the other things I’ve learned the last 10 days. I genuinely thought I was so addicted to Instagram that I wouldn’t be able to take a break. I thought I was going to go crazy and miss it like nothing else. Is that sad? Yes. Was I worried? Heck Yes! But I am so happy to say that although the first few days I kept mindlessly going to click on Instagram, by day 3 I wasn’t looking to get on anymore. I didn’t actually miss seeing everyone’s stuff. I didn’t have FOMO. I didn’t feel the need to check my DMs, add to my stories, or post a photo from the pumpkin patch Kyle and I went to. It could wait. And knowing that I did that for 10 days, made me feel like I didn’t NEED it in my life like I thought I did. Now don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of people I missed following and seeing what they were doing on Instagram, and those are the people I realized were people I should be following. The people I didn’t miss because they didn’t fill me with ideas, joy, or a sense of betterment, were eye opening to me. I’m excited to be more mindful about who I follow.
Realizing that you are in control of your life and that you aren’t as addicted to something as you thought is empowering. Take control of your life.
9. You Can Do Hard Things
I’ve talked about this before on my Instagram, but my Kindergarten classroom motto was always YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. It’s sad to say that at first, getting rid of Instagram was hard, but I did it! I could do something that I use to tell people I could never do. My friends would take breaks and I’d always tell them “Wow props to you. I could NEVER do that.” Well guess what? I did it and I can do it again.
You can do hard things. Things you use to tell people you could never do. You just have to start. You can do it.
10. Real Life Vs Online
The last thing I learned was there is a balance to my real life and my online life. I feel like I am genuinely the same person in real life as I am online. If you were to meet me at the store down the street, I’m the exact same. I’m happy, excited, and more than likely dressed up in a cute outfit. That’s who I am. Finding the balance of what to share on social media has been something I’ve been trying to figure out and this break was crucial to helping me figure it out. I want to share more thoughts and lessons learned (like this post) and be more MINDFUL (hahaha told you guys) of what I am sharing. It was also really fun to see who I still talked to on a daily basis and which friends I still made contact with. Those were people I realized where my very best friends. People who support me online and in real life. It was fun to be able to see that I genuinely missed seeing their posts and stories, but that I was able to text them and still see how they were doing.
There should be a balance to your real life and your online life. Be the same on both, but balance is key.
I can’t even begin to say how grateful I was that I was able to take the time to take a break. I understand that not everyone has the chance, and I felt lucky that my sponsored posts and business side of Instagram and my blog allowed me the chance to take that 10 day break. If you have taken a break what is one thing you’ve learned? If you haven’t, I’m sharing some tips below to help you take a social media break. I highly recommend it!
Also feel free to share these quotes on Pinterest or Instagram! If you add one to Instagram make sure to tag me so I can see it!
TIPS FOR TAKING A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK
1. Delete The Apps
2. Set a Time Frame (ex: 10 days without it)
3. Replace your down time of social media with something else (ex: I worked out in the mornings instead of checking my phone to wake up)
4. Grab an accountability partner and stick together
5. Be open to what you are learning from the break. It will help you not miss it so much if you know you are trying to learn something from the experience and gain a more balanced life.