Around a month ago, I decided to give up social media for six months. I felt a strong conviction that I was spending too much time on Facebook and Instagram. But I wasn’t mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed (although that has been a bad habit for me in the past). I was posting . . . a LOT.
After accepting the position as contributor to Ventura County Mom Collective, I felt elated. The writer in me started, well, writing again. I suddenly felt bold enough to share my personal thoughts and the struggles that I recently experienced.
But I sometimes worried that I was oversharing. I caught myself constantly checking to see who had viewed my stories. Was I becoming someone who was looking to social media for validation? That could be dangerous.
I also started experiencing sleep issues. Every day I found myself waking up in the middle of the night around 2 or 3 am and not being able to fall back asleep. I’ve always been a great sleeper, so that was concerning.
So I decided to quit social media for six months and see if I would benefit from taking a hiatus.
What Happened After Giving Up Social Media
I was surprised to find out just how easy it would be to give up Facebook and Instagram. I realized just how dependent I had become on such trivial things.
Here were some of my initial thoughts:
- How would I survive my days without funny memes?
- Would I feel out of the loop because I no longer have access to local mom and community groups?
- Would I feel isolated because I’d be cut off from constant updates from all my friends?
- How am I going to sell or give away things when I’m decluttering the house?
During those first couple days, I noticed that whenever I was using my phone, my fingers would instinctively go to my “Social” folder. But alas, my Facebook and Instagram apps were no longer there. Out of sight, out of mind.
During my downtime, I now started scrolling Google News more (but not obsessively because that wouldn’t be good either), reading devotionals on the Bible app a little more consistently (a habit that’s easily neglected by me), and entertaining myself with guilty pleasures on Netflix.
Positive Effects From a Social Media Detox
I immediately noticed that, in only a couple of days, my sleep quality significantly improved. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep. Perhaps giving up social media has encouraged me to reduce my screen time in general. I’ve heard about the dangerous effects of blue light emitting from our phones.
Overall, though, I feel more productive. I finally got around to hanging up family photos in our living room. Our spare bedroom is decluttered enough for guests to actually spend the night. I recently dropped off a box of miscellaneous items to Goodwill instead of trying to sell or give them away on Facebook Marketplace.
Most importantly, I no longer feel as much FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I’m no longer constantly consuming photos of happy-looking faces of my friends and their families. I’m no longer reading about all the delicious food people are eating or all the cool places people are going to. I no longer feel the need for validation through likes and comments of my posts. It’s very refreshing and freeing.
Social Media: The Good and The Bad
To me, social media is a double-edged sword. In the past, it has helped me reconnect with friends from the past, and I’m very grateful for that. But sometimes it makes me bitter. I get into phases when I think “these people aren’t really my friends” and want to remove them as friends.
In our busy lives, social media is a convenient way to keep in touch with people. However, it can never replace the investment of true relationships. I may have temporarily given up social media, but I am still texting and messaging with my true friends. I am still sharing lots of photos and videos of my son directly with close family members.
Being involved in local mom and community groups can be helpful to know what’s going on. I can ask questions and help answer someone else’s question. But it can also tempt me to buy things I don’t need. Or simply expose me to other people’s concerns and needs, which could just be adding unnecessary clutter to my brain.
After six months pass, I will most likely return to Facebook and Instagram. But I am hoping that I can restrict myself to only using those apps once or twice a day. For now, I will enjoy my time off.