What I learned during my 4 month Social Media Sabbatical + What I’m doing differently as I dive back
Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Social Media is an incredible tool. It can be used to connect friends near and far, grow a platform, generate business, and share updates in your life. Out of hand though, social media can have a crazy effect on your personal life and your emotional wellness.
When my daughter Millie was born, I decided to take 4 months away from all social media in an effort to refocus, reprioritize, and rest. Those 4 months are coming to an end and I thought I would share my thoughts and the lessons I learned these last few months as well as what I plan to do moving forward with social media to keep boundaries.
What this time away taught me
I spend too much time on my phone. It is a hard realization to come to and an even harder fact to admit out loud, but it is the honest truth. Initially I would find myself reaching for my phone any time I had a free moment or a moment of awkwardness only to remember that my social media apps were deleted and I had to find something else to do.
I don’t need to know everything about everyone and they don’t need to know everything about me. There were times that I would think- man I wish I could post this cute photo or video on Instagram, and then I would sit in those thoughts and start to wonder why it was so important to post online. Why did it matter if my followers saw that particular photo of my kids? Sometimes just living in the moment and not feeling the need or pressure to post about it is a great way to live.
Along those same lines social media is not the place to release every single emotion or frustration. I would find myself turning to instagram when having a particularly challenging day as a mother. In return, I would be met with photo after photo of perfectly clean homes, children who were well dressed and I’m sure just as well behaved. Social media began to become a place where I would find unhealthy comparison and unnecessary enemies because of “perfection”.
I want my children to see me live life without a phone in my hand. This “hands-free mama” approach is something I will continue to fight for as I rejoin the social world next month- more on that in a moment.
As much as I missed out on hearing other people’s birth announcements, stories of buying new homes, and other milestones, I learned that those grocery store run-ins where you can catch up in person are so much more valuable and special. I learned that picking up the phone and texting or calling a friend to check in and exchange photos of your new babies is so much sweeter.
What I will be doing differently as I dive back in
I am excited to get back to Instagram and share what I’ve been up to the last few months, but I am also going to try to be really rigid about boundaries this time. Here are a few boundaries I am holding myself to going forward:
Schedule all of my feed posts in advance. Something I have dabbled with in the past, but that I want to really be intentional about moving forward. Posting leads to business growth and reaching more potential clients, but it is not worth the expense of spending so much time each day picking the perfect image and writing the perfect caption. Instead I plan to spend one work day batching my Instagram work so that I can buy back a little more time each day.
Not downloading the apps on my phone. This will be the biggest adjustment for me. I have decided not to re-download the app on my phone again. Instead my viewing and posting will be done from my computer so that I am not tempted to scroll endlessly in front of my kids.
Take one day a week and one week a month away to continue to refocus and rest from social media and spend time with my family and friends in person.
Don't feel the pressure to share everything. Before, I thought the more I shared the more potential for followers > clients > profit. Now my mentality is that it’s totally not necessary. One of the biggest fears I had walking into this time was that my business would fail without social media. Although it was a challenge to not be able to use that avenue for marketing, I found that my business did just fine without it. There are other avenues to share my work than social media and the disillusion that I had to post multiple times a day/week in order to grow and be successful was debunked.
Social media should be fun and not stressful. Anytime that I feel stressed or overwhelmed or anxious, it will come down again. Having Instagram is not worth anyone’s mental and emotional wellness, and if it leads to unhealthy lifestyle choices then it should be deleted.
Overall I have really enjoyed my time away, and although I am excited to get back online I am going to use the lessons I learned the last 4 months to put social media in its proper place in my life, business, and family.