Why I (Desperately) Need a Detox from Social Media
I love social media. Anyone who knows me well knows that. Honestly, anyone who doesn’t know me well knows that. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in five different states and want to stay in touch with the friends I’ve made in each one. Maybe it’s because I’m sappy and like to document every special moment (and not-so-special moment) that happens to me. Maybe it’s really just because I want attention and validation. Whatever the case may be, I love social media.
But I need a break. For a lot of different reasons. And deleting or disabling social media accounts probably doesn’t seem like a big deal or some earth-shattering move to some, but it was a big deal to me. I have virtually no friends in Albuquerque. I’m a first-time mom who works from home. Social media was my main source of communication and interaction with the outside world, so getting rid of it leaves me continually wondering, “What now?” But honestly, that’s one of the reasons it has to temporarily go.
There are probably more little reasons and motivations for taking a social media detox than I can list on here, but these are some of the main reasons why I’m taking a breather from feeds, posts, shares, comments, and likes. (The irony, of course, is that virtually no one will actually read this post, considering I don’t have a Facebook page or Instagram story to blast the link on. Oh well.)
I want to reevaluate how I use social media.
If you ask my husband at any given moment if he’s see someone’s post on social media, there’s a 99% chance he’ll say no. He will hop on Instagram or Facebook when he has a photo he really wants to share with his friends, or if he has five minutes to spare as he waits for our takeout, but he’s not mindlessly scrolling through feeds all day. I am.
That sounds crazy, right? But I was literally on social media all day. I’d wake up, and check the apps before getting the baby. As she nursed, I’d scroll through my feeds. While she napped, I’d alternate between getting work done, showering, tidying the house, and, yes, looking at social media. I’d scroll as I walked the dogs. All day I’d post pictures and videos to my story. It’s fun, and I (usually) enjoy it, but the amount of time I actually spent on it was insane.
After I deleted my accounts, I find myself tapping on their old spots when I unlock my iPhone. It’s literally an unconscious instinct to go on social media. Isn’t that wild? I hope that by detoxing from social media for a month or so, I can use the time to reevaluate how I use it, and ultimately break the habit of checking it so mindlessly.
I want to be fully present as we wrap up 2019.
2019 was a huge year. We bought a house. We welcomed our daughter. I am smack dab in the middle of a chapter that I will remember and cherish until the day I die. I don’t want to spend the tail end of this year with my eyes on my phone screen, liking posts from the guy I took chemistry with in high school. What is the point? I want to spend this December with my eyes locked on my giggling baby, or with my phone cast aside as I snuggle with my husband. I want to travel to see family without feeling compelled to share every fun activity we do. It sounds cliché, but I don’t want to miss a single precious moment with my family because I was too consumed with documenting it for the ‘gram.
I want to be more intentional with my relationships.
One of the best gifts social media has given me is the ability to maintain friendships with people all over the country (and, in some cases, all over the world). There are women I speak to from high school and college that I honestly hardly knew back in the day, but now we bond over things we post about, from children to veganism to marriage to home renovations to puzzling to books.
But there’s another side to that. I think in many ways, social media has made me complacent with other important relationships. I may not check in personally with one of my best friends because, instead, I liked and commented on her recent post. I might not pick up the phone to tell someone my exciting news because, well, why should I? They already saw it on my page.
That makes me sad. I feel like social media has given me an almost false sense of connectedness and intimacy with people I really care about. It’s replaced more meaningful conversations and one-on-one interactions. I want to prioritize the most important people in my life, and find ways to maintain long-distance friendships without social media.
I want to distance myself from negativity.
Let’s be real: people use social media to talk shit. Everything you put out there is open for discussion. In fact, I once had someone I considered a friend send me a screenshot of my own post, alongside a snarky comment about it. It clearly wasn’t meant for me… oops.
Truth be told, I clearly don’t care that much about the impression I give off online. If I did, I wouldn’t be posting about such ~sexy~ topics like sobriety, animal welfare, and baby nap schedules (ha). But while I was in my hometown, someone repeated to me a rude comment another person had made about me a boring mom. No big deal, right? After all, I am a boring mom. But suddenly I felt inexplicably protective. I’m using my social media to share special photos of my innocent baby, the person I care most about in the world. While I know the comment wasn’t remotely an attack on her, it made me take a step back. Why am I sharing these special moments with people who view them negatively?
It’s hard to explain, but the interaction gave me the heebie jeebies. I’m just keeping her to myself for a little bit, and after my little social media detox, I’m going to be pruning down my friends lists dramatically.
I want to make time for other things.
For all of the time I’ve spent watching Instagram stories, scrolling through my feed, sharing articles on Facebook, and generally wasting time on my phone, I could’ve written 100 blog posts, cooked meals, read novels, exercised, learned a new language, you name it. I’m going to spend this social media hiatus doing more of those things. My goal is to re-fall in love with productivity so that once I re-enter the IG and FB world, social media is only one small hobby among many.
I will say it again: I love social media. I love sharing my life and connecting with others. But as much as I love those things, I hate wasting my time, being too sucked into my phone, comparing myself to others, and, quite frankly, being a person who often has more online interactions than meaningful real ones. While I already know I’ll be itching to come back in a few weeks, I’m excited to use this time to refocus and reprioritize on the here and now.
I was actually looking for your IG the other day because I thought you might’ve had a post about your third trimester and then I thought my pregnancy brain made me forgot your name… Glad you’re taking a break from social media – your mind deserves it! Spend all that extra time snuggling your cute baby and connecting with the people who matter! We’ll still be here if you decide to come back… just please don’t stop writing.
You are the best! Thank you so much for this sweet comment. And thank you for being one of the positive ones on social media! 🙂 I will certainly be back come 2020, and in the meantime I’ll be refilling my cup with uninterrupted family time. (And obviously I need to come back in 2020, because I can’t wait to see pictures of YOUR sweet arrival on the way!!)
The thumb clicking on the spot it used be is too good. I have a time limit on Instagram and I do it all the time.
I have a blog post idea – being vegetarian/vegan when your significant other isn’t. I like to cook and recently went 98 percent vegetarian I’d say :). I live with my boyfriend and he thinks that I am trying to push it on him because I don’t want to cook just for myself. Would love your take on it!