A few months ago, I was starting to feel the all encompassing drain of being on my phone too much. One of the Sanity Saving tips I share with other moms is to put your phone down and focus on the here and now…I was not following my own advice.
After a month of feeling like I was spending a ton of precious time checking Facebook (FB) and Instagram (Insta), curating posts, trying to get the perfect picture, then carrying around the mental debris that gets stuck in your head from all the information consumed, AND starting to feel like I was comparing myself to others constantly, I threw my hands up and took my own advice and put my phone down.
More specifically, I chose to do a 30 day social media detox. I made this declaration public over social media…of course. You can see that video below.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you how my 30 day social media detox went (in a journal like way), and whether or not I went back to including social media in my daily routine after the 30 days were over.
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Some Technicalities Before I Dive In
When I reference social media, I am talking about Facebook and Instagram only. These are the two platforms that I was spending the most time on and became problematic for me. I barely use YouTube and don’t have an account with Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapfish, TikTok or whatever else is out there.
Also, I belong to two Facebook groups that I use for my blog. They are both related to Pinterest (and one is part of a paid membership). Pinterest has been my main focus for blog traffic and I plan to focus even harder on this now. Therefore, I may be popping into these groups once and a while, but I will only use Facebook for that purpose.
My Relationship With Social Media
Let me share with you a little bit about my relationship with social media.
I’ve never loved Facebook. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just haven’t. I’ve dabbled posting on and off. But for the most part, I always feel worse after I’m done using it. However, I have loved Instagram and the relationships I’ve formed with other bloggers through Instagram. But I find that my mind becomes so activated with the scrolling and then thinking all day about what I will or will not post. It’s become really hard for me to refocus after I’m done on Instagram.
And more recently, I noticed that I was starting to do a lot of comparing to what I was seeing on Instagram. For the most part, I started doubting what I had to say or share, thinking it was unoriginal and not important. These are just little thoughts in my head, but they were squashing my creativity.I found myself starting to crave more time to myself to create and work on things that I enjoy and are important to me, like my blog. Time to do stuff like this is so limited when you are a stay-at-home of young kids.
Instead I was spending around 2 hours or more doing an Insta-story or creating a post for Instagram and Facebook, scrolling mindlessly, commenting, and then checking in multiple times a day to see how many likes or comments I received. I was definitely getting dopamine hits each time I saw a like or comment – and it was starting to feel really addictive.
And then I realized I only read two books last month! This was a huge red flag for me. I easily read 4-6 books a months. I knew I was reading less because I was spending so much time on social media instead of reading.
My digression in reading (my favorite hobby and what keeps me somewhat sane), the lack in progress of my blog, and the overall mental residue that was left over after I clicked off of social media, caused me to make a change.
I’m exctied to now put my focus into other things. I’m not going to miss thinking about what I’m going to post, or spending 20 minutes taking a ton of pictures only to not think any of them are post worthy…
I might miss connecting with some friends through social media – but if people really matter to me, I can reach out in different ways to see how they are doing.
The First Day Without Social Media
Yesterday was my first day without social media, and I found myself picking up my phone and looking for ways to get that little dopamine hit. It’s crazy how often I’m doing that without even thinking about it.
On a positive note, I spent quality time with my 5 year old last night playing Paw Patrol. Usually, I would have been thinking about taking pictures and maybe posting something cute about it. But instead, I was totally present with him and soaking up every little bit of his innocent playfulness.
The First Week Of The Social Media Detox
I still find myself picking up my phone randomly for something to look at! So I’m checking my email a little more and I downloaded a Wally Lamb book on my phone through the library. But most of the time I just put my phone down.
I used to spend a lot of time on Instagram while I was putting my son to sleep. Now I am reading, or just laying with him.
I’m definitely reading more, which was one of my goals during this Social Media Detox thing. I finished another Elin Hildebrandt book – I just love her stories! The Winter Series was perfect for Christmas time…
I’ve noticed a huge difference in how centered and focused I feel. I no longer struggle with my mind running a million different places. Without the self-inflicted pressure of posting consistently, drafting and planning posts, and then all the “consuming” on social media, I feel a little more relaxed mentally. This is one of the biggest benefits so far.
I have found myself missing Instagram. Mainly for the stories, people I connected with, and updates on celebrity gossip. I had a friend text me the other day saying she missed my tips I would share through my stories. It got me thinking about how I could re-enter social media with more balance…but then I remembered I don’t have to necessarily worry about that right now! I can spend time figuring this out after my detox is over.
The Third Week Of The Social Media Detox
I’m coming upon three weeks without using Facebook or Instagram…I do still hop on Facebook almost daily to check out a paid group I belong to, but I don’t hang out there or scroll through.
I’ve noticed that I don’t take as many pictures now. This is good in the sense that I was spending a lot of time trying to get the perfect picture, but bad in the sense that I haven’t captured as many moments. As frustrated as I would get with spending time taking pictures, it was nice to be able to look back and be reminded of little things.
I’m still continuing to do a lot of reading. I finished an audio book, eBook, and another Elin Hildebrandt book over the last week.
With the start of summer upon us, I’m wondering how I will fit in the time to blog, work my part-time job, and hang with the kids. Since it’s doubtful there will be summer camps, I want to be able to enjoy my time with them. As I think about this, I wonder how I will (or if I will) incorporate social media back into my rotation since I am going to want to be super intentional with my time.
The biggest change overall though, is where my mental energy is being spent. I feel better equipped to focus, and I’m not finding myself thinking about what and when I will post, or carrying around the mental clutter that gets stuck in your head from scrolling social media.
The End Of The Social Media Detox
I completed the 30 day social media detox I put in place for myself. This included staying off Instagram – completely, and only going on Facebook to check in with a group I belong to.
I have to share that I am aware there have been conversations, conflicts, and opinions regarding the horrible murder of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement, taking place primarily on social media. I’ve had friends reach out to me and tell me I picked a good time to be off social media. And though I do feel a sense of relief that I am not engaging on the platform at this moment, I also cannot act like it isn’t going on. That would be me sitting in my white privilege.
I have received emails, listened to podcasts, and had conversations regarding the systematic racism that has been in place for a long time. I have a lot of learning to do around this, especially since I’m raising white males.
I may not personally like social media, but I do wonder if we would be having these conversations as a country without it?
Overview Of What I Learned During The Social Media Detox
Here is what I learned through my detox:
- I don’t miss social media – at all. In fact, after the first few days, I already found that I broke the habit of frequently looking at my phone to check in with FB or Insta.
- I DO miss seeing people I normally wouldn’t see in person, along with the relationships I made through Instagram.
- It can be very easy to get rid of one “addiction” only to replace it with another. Since one of my main goals was to work on Pinterest for my blog, I found myself tapping on the Pinterest app often. However, I never stuck around there long, and it didn’t have the distraction factor that FB and Insta have.
- My mind felt a lot more focused. I was no longer consumed with thoughts about posting or what I was consuming on social media.
- I actually enjoyed the time with my family instead of worrying about getting the perfect photo or thinking about how I could curate the moment into a social media post.
Another goal I had during this time was to read more. I was able to accomplish that goal – finishing about a book a week again.
The Effects On My Blog Traffic During The Social Media Detox
When I set out to do this social media detox, my biggest fear was losing traffic to my site. Even though I was averaging about 100 pageviews a month through FB and Insta combined.
I wanted to focus my energies on increasing my Pinterest traffic. I find that the platform is easier to get traffic through and the traffic converts.
Overall, here are the results of using only Pinterest for my social media over 30 days:
- My user sessions increased from 517 to 994
- My pageviews increased from 940 to 1138 (some could argue that Pinterest traffic doesn’t stick around as long…)
- My subscribers only increased from 16 people to 18 people – but still, that’s a win in my book!
Now would I have increased my FB or Insta traffic if I focused heavily on building up that platform over 30 days? Maybe. Where you put your energy is where you see results. But I think it would have been way more time consuming and used up a ton of mental energy to do so.
Because I am seeing good results with Pinterest using Pinteresting Pins On Autopilot, and I still have more to learn (the course I’m working on was just updated to reflect the changes in the platform), my plan is to stick to Pinterest for now.
To Go Back To Social Media Or To Not Go Back To Social Media?
Now for the big question! Will I be resurfacing on social media? At this very moment, the answer is no. I just don’t feel like it’s a big enough void right now to put time and energy into it. I don’t want to spend the limited time I have in the summer (without my kids around) posting and scrolling on social media. I may reconsider this in the Fall, if and when my boys resume some sort of normal school schedule.
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