As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure for more information.
I decided to take a social media break and after just a week, I got a lot accomplished and have a lot more clarity. Here’s what I did and my plan for the future.
Table of Contents
Why Take a Social Media Break
I decided to take a social media break after I had a rough encounter on some groups that I was part of. The details really don’t matter and even though most of it didn’t happen on social media but rather on a chat app with a group of women who I thought were becoming my friends…I decided enough was enough.
I needed space from social media all together. I didn’t know how long I’d be gone and didn’t know how much of a break I’d need. As someone in my late 30s I’m not on TikTok or any of the ‘newer’ apps but tend to gravitate toward Facebook as my main platform and sometimes Twitter, though not much recently.
I noticed that I had started to check social media more often though and I didn’t like that. Like many people, I would just scroll and scroll for no apparent reason. Feeling that if I didn’t, I’d miss something.
However, by doing so, I was missing my life in the sense that I wasn’t present with my kids as much and every second I was scrolling social media instead of working on my blog, I was really wasting a lot of time and possible productivity.
Constant Scrolling Stopped
First, I deleted the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps from my phone and iPad. Same with Twitter and Instagram, even though I’m not really active on those two.
I realized that I’m part of over 300 groups on Facebook. Most of which I don’t visit often but at one time or another seemed relevant to me. As I prepared to leave Facebook for a while, I left the ones that I felt were no longer relevant to me, which honestly felt nice to do.
I also unfollowed the groups that I kept and turned off notifications for almost all.
At first I was a little lost without being able to constantly scroll to distract myself from whatever I should be doing. Before long I felt a sense of clarity, which has been really awesome.
I used to open up Facebook right when I woke up for some reason. It’s been nice just looking at email instead or simply NOT looking at my phone when I first get up and instead getting ready right away.
Taking on Other’s Emotions & Problems
I have discovered in recent years that I exhibit the characteristics of an empath and that when I constantly am inundated with other people’s problems, it weighs on me. This explains part of why I got burned out from my former career rather early on.
That aside, I’ve noticed that most of the groups I’m part of, especially “mommy groups” are full of people asking for advice. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’ve asked a lot of questions in the past as well, it’s just not something that I need to see constantly because it tends to drain me.
Especially because what I most often want to do is help. Wanting to always help is a blessing and a curse.
What typically would happen is I’d unlock my phone, look at the screen and see I had a notification from Facebook. I’d open Facebook and immediately get distracted by whatever popped up, not necessarily what my notification was about but just Facebook in general. Often, it would be a question from a random person that I felt I had insight in, particularly about twins or other topics I am well versed in. I’d start typing my super long answer, as I always tend to be long winded, on my phone which would take me a long time. Then I’d often attach the url for a blog post I had previously written on the subject for additional advice and insight, plus it’s always nice to get more people on my blog.
Then I’d finally get to the notifications that I meant to, realize they were nothing I actually needed to look at, and here I’ve wasted 10 or so minutes.
During those 10 minutes I could have instead been reading with my kids, playing a board game with my kids, working on my blog, cooking, cleaning, no matter what – something more worthwhile.
These 10 minute distractions would happen several times a day as I’d open my phone and look at Facebook. Even while I was on the toilet or checking my meal planning app to see what I planned for dinner, etc. I’d always check in on Facebook. Often, it’d take a lot more than 10 minutes too…
Why Delete the Apps?
Now, I know you’re probably saying to yourself, why don’t you just turn off notifications? I had done that for the most part. I didn’t have any push notifications for Facebook, the only thing that happened was I saw the little number on the Facebook app if I “missed something” when I unlocked my phone.
Once I decided to take a social media break, I knew I had to do more than just turn off all notifications, including the counter. I knew I needed to remove the apps from my phone for me to stop scrolling.
So I did.
It was really nice to not be constantly scrolling through Facebook, constantly being brought down by problems of people I don’t know in groups that I really don’t need to follow. I do love helping people, always have and always will, but I’m not the only one that needs to answer.
Usually by the time I would see a post that I wanted to put my two cents in on, there would already be at least 20 comments on it, yet I felt I needed to answer as well. Does my little answer really help? Unless it’s truly groundbreaking, generally not. It’s just more noise. I’m not trying to put myself down here, I’m just saying that whether 20 or 21 people say “yep, it is frustrating that babies don’t sleep” or whatever the conversation, it really doesn’t matter.
Now, if I have a blog post or some insight others may not have, then it’s a little more worth my and the original poster’s time for me to answer. I might have something that they hadn’t thought of before, another perspective, a longer answer in a blog post. However, that doesn’t mean that I should be constantly on the prowl to put my blog post links all over Facebook.
I’ve done that in the past and gotten banned from groups who felt I was spamming them. Now I’m very deliberate in where I put any links to my blog and honestly, most of the traffic to my blog is from Google searches because I’ve worked so hard on the SEO of my blog (Search Engine Optimization).
Where I Put My Focus Instead
Reading & Board Games with my Kids
Instead of being on Facebook all of the time, I took more time to actually be present with my kids. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much time I spent wasting time on Facebook until I no longer had it at my fingertips.
I think many of us are guilty of this.
I played a lot of board games with my kids over the week I was on my social media break. My 4 year old twins are learning to read so we spent a lot of time reading together as well. My 6 year old already is reading chapter books so I found a fun series for him and he’s even been reading those to his brothers which is super cute.
Online School/Homeschool with my 1st Grader
I focused more on my 6 year old’s online schooling. Though last year I was teaching him all morning, this year it’s structured as being more hands off as they want the kids to be more independent. He mainly completes tasks on his school iPad and watches prerecorded videos of a teacher teaching the math or English lesson to him.
I still am next to him, otherwise he won’t stay on task, but have his desk pulled next to mine so I can work on things as well. Usually I’d check emails, scroll Facebook, but not really do any “real” work in the time I had and not pay much attention to what he was doing.
That’s changed though.
Over the past week we worked together more and we were able to get through 4 math lessons in one day, which was super duper awesome. Even though the curriculum book this year doesn’t include the full lesson for me to teach him, I was able to fill in the gaps of the lesson and teach him what he needed to learn without watching a 30 minute video for each lesson that he really just needed a few minutes out of because he already understood the concept. He was able to complete the worksheet for the lessons before I even taught him for the most part. This was a great bonding experience and was so great to see him excel. I need to do this more with him as I think a main part of his frustration with school is that he knows so much of what he’s being taught, so I need to work with him to help him go at a faster pace through things so he doesn’t get bored and frustrated.
We won’t typically complete so many lessons in one day but even working together to make sure he doesn’t get bored and lose focus really helps both of us.
I also put more focus on my blog. Now when I’m sitting at my computer I’m not wasting time. I’m working on searching for keywords that’ll work best for my next blog post. Structuring it in such a way that it’ll rank higher in Google search results. This has really paid off, in many aspects.
I also had more time to write blog posts. I had missed writing blog posts for a while as I feel like I have to be in the right headspace, have the right amount of concentration, etc. Really though, I don’t. I’ve loved writing for 30 years now and it comes natural to me to just let the words, emotions, and my heart pour onto a page.
I wrote and published 3 blog posts today, including this one, plus 2 others this past week. My typical goal is 1 per week which is often a struggle when I’m so distracted, but not this week! I used most of my time wisely. I also have worked a significant amount on 3 other blog posts I plan on publishing soon.
I’m really lucky in that I have A LOT of blog post ideas that I just need to write and publish and a lot of business ideas that I just need to DO.
Without being bogged down by constantly checking social media, I have the concentration to do so.
Tech Break and a Dollhouse
Beyond my social media break, I also took a break from tech for a while over the past month, even before the social media break. Not an all out break, but blocks of hours of time I wasn’t using technology.
I finally decided to build the dollhouse kit that my husband bought me for my birthday over a year ago.
I felt bad for never having worked on it and also just wanted to be doing something with my hands that wasn’t reliant on technology. It took me about 3 weeks and many afternoons and evenings but the results are awesome and I can’t wait to do another one.
Within this dollhouse I made everything. From the chairs to the couch to the beds and curtains, I made it all. It was a labor of love and once I realized that my hot glue gun would be of great help, I was unstoppable. Lol
Though I have 3 boys who in traditional society wouldn’t be excited about a dollhouse, they were so excited for me and the progress I kept making as I would tend to work on it for 4 hours at a time whenever I could. It was great to be at the kitchen table working on it yet still part of the family conversation, instead of how I’d usually be with my computer or phone in front of me. The way they see it, I built something just like they do with their Duplos and Legos! Plus, my boys don’t see things as ‘girl toys’ and ‘boy toys’, they’re all fun toys to play with.
Granted, this dollhouse is NOT a toy. Luckily, it comes with a “dust cover” which is clear Plexiglas that I have over it now, though I can remove it as desired.
This dollhouse lights up and has a music box in the back, behind the kitchen! There are mini coffee mugs that I made, mini books, mini curtains, mini flowers…it’s so cute!!
Even though I finished this over a week ago and even though it was a lot of work, my brain keeps going back to working on a mini dollhouse so I’ve started a Dollhouse Wishlist to keep track of the ones I want to get next!
Click the image below to see a blog post I wrote all about DIY Miniature Dollhouses!
Will the Social Media Break Continue?
In a sense, yes.
I don’t plan on putting Facebook back on my phone or iPad. I do have Facebook messenger on my phone in case anyone needs to reach me that I don’t normally text with, but any group conversations I have on mute so I’m not inundated with messages.
I have unfollowed most groups so that I actually see people I know show up in my feed. It’s a process but worth it. I might still check in on different groups from time to time but I also realize they don’t need me and there are a lot of other great things I can be doing with my time.
I also won’t have Facebook open in a tab on my computer all day like I used to. Always seeing the number of notifications in the tab is always distracting because I feel like I have to see what it is.
I might check Facebook once a day or every few days, not 15+ times a day like I used to.
However, I will be reachable on Facebook Messenger, to some extent. I may not reply immediately as I once did, but will typically before the day’s end. I also will still look at Facebook sometimes to see what friends and family are up to, as I do want to stay connected.
In terms of Twitter and Instagram, I won’t be putting them back on my phone or iPad either. I only used them for my business and wasn’t consistent so didn’t gain much traction. I’d rather put my focus elsewhere, especially with the recent changes with Twitter…ick.
In terms of the judgement I was receiving from others prior to my break, I’m going to be unfollowing and unfriending more people, leaving more groups, and distancing from anyone who judges me or the decisions my husband and I have made for our family (i.e. online school and homeschool for our kids and taking all COVID precautions for the sake of us and our children).
We don’t judge anyone else and we are healthy, happy, and thriving within our household so no one should be judging us.
Have YOU Ever Taken a Social Media Break?
What would you do with your time?
Leave a comment below!
Oddly enough, while I was working on my dollhouse one day, I was listening to the Offline podcast with Jon Favreau and the topic of conversation was regarding how to avoid being distracted. I am constantly distracted by so many different things and never really felt present. Listening to this discussion, while admittedly a little distracted building a tiny dollhouse, gave me more reason to take steps to lead a less distracted life, including distancing from social media.
I highly recommend any podcasts by Jon Favreau and the rest of the Crooked Media team. My favorites are Offline, as mentioned earlier, Pod Save the World, Pod Save America, Strict Scrutiny, and What a Day.
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.