WHY I DECIDED TO TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK
I talked about my year of yes in my coffee chat post a little bit ago, and in the spirit of taking care of myself this year, I decided to take a little break from social media. Now…for a blogger who desires to grow her audience, breaking from social media is probably the stupidest decision that I could make, but I truly don’t care. In a nutshell, I’ve been blogging for almost 3.5 years now (crazy isn’t it?!), and at the end of the day, I’m proud of the content I create whether 10 or 10,000 people see it. A few months ago I had to ask myself, ‘why are you stressing yourself out over numbers’? Don’t get me wrong, social media and content creation requires you to pay close attention to the data. But..wasn’t the whole point of me starting this blog to get away from all of that and just have fun?
You see, I work in social media as my day job. My whole life revolves around copywriting, analyzing data, developing content marketing strategies and closely monitoring how other brands are utilizing the social space. In a strange way, my personal social media usage has turned into the same thing: heavily monitoring my insights, constantly developing new content and closely monitoring fellow content creators. I started blogging back in 2015 because I genuinely just had a passion for writing, photography and the lifestyle space, and I wanted to have a creative outlet. Over a course of three years, I’ve gone through ups and downs in my blogging career (can I even call it that…?) due to lack of inspiration and vision, confusion and frustration.
During these periods of ups and downs, I’ve changed my blog design, changed the content and even changed the name. While I’m happy with all of the changes that have come about, I see more clearly now than ever why I truly have been in a blogging rut. Social media has taken all the fun out of creating content that I love. I’ve become so obsessed with the stats and posting content that I feel will “get likes”, instead of just taking a f*ck it approach and posting whatever the hell I want. My excessive use of social media has caused me to have anxiety at a level that I never could have imagined possible. Scrolling through my IG feed all day has made me envious of people that I’ve never even met before. It’s quickly made me forget that social media is not real, and that people tend to show their best and hide the rest.
Social media has oftentimes made me feel like my content isn’t “good enough” (whatever that even means). If I could be real for a second, the reality is that I’m never going to be a dedicated fashion or beauty blogger. While those are two things I’m passionate about, those aren’t the only things that make up who I am. My blog is and always will be a platform that talks about the real things of life like faith, love, love lost, friendships, heartbreak, joy, lessons learned and everything in between. To some people, that can be considered to be “too broad”, but to me it’s a reflection of real life. More often than not, we as women are always forced into these stereotypical boxes, and the reality is that we are multi-dimensional human beings who have a multitude of interests…and that’s completely okay. So, if you’re one of those people who like super cohesive, niche blogs, I’ve become okay with the fact that mine may not be for you…and that’s okay too
Being so distracted on social media has made me neglect the real things that are happening around me. Life is meant to be experienced, not just posted about. I won’t lie, my attention span is pretty short, and that has caused me to not be as present in many of my relationships. I’m so focused on scrolling or capturing the perfect moment for IG, that I don’t take time to just be in the moment. On the flip side of that, while there were real things happening around me, there were also real things happening within me. My anxiety and depression is not something that I’ve talked about on here before, but I want to try and be as open and transparent as possible (more on this coming soon!). I can say from experience that mixing excessive social media usage with a person who has anxiety and depression is a recipe for disaster. When I felt things becoming worse over the last few months, I knew I needed to make a change. Being offline has given me the opportunity to deal with a lot of issues that I had been pretending were not there.
More importantly, I am growing so much in my faith, and I believe breaking from social media is giving God the proper space to work in me and through me. When Jesus’ disciples asked him which of the commandments were the greatest, Jesus responded with two things: love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). That’s it, that’s all. The old testament seems like a never-ending novel of people falling short of God’s glory, but then along comes Jesus who makes something that’s so complicated, so simple.
My faith is so important to me, and I know that I have been making my relationship with the Lord a secondary priority in my life. During my mornings, I try wake up about 10 minutes before my alarm goes off so that I can have some time to read my bible and set my intentions for the day. I wake up wholeheartedly with the intention of digging into God’s word, but I get easily distracted by scrolling through the IG or Twitter feeds. I’m a firm believer that you can’t worship two Gods. At the end of the day, whatever is keeping us from progressing in our relationship with Him is something that we are idolizing, but we can get to that another time!
You see, most Christians love part one of this scripture because we feel like we already love God…but it’s this second part that can be a little tricky. Jesus speaks clearly and says love your neighbor as yourself. Now…some people may even argue that they love people, but there’s more to this scripture than that. This verse in Matthew clearly tells me that I can’t fully love people the way God intended if I don’t fully love myself first. In complete honesty, if I could rank the love I have for myself on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d say I’m sitting at a 5.5/6 on a good day. I am always my biggest critic, and I can always find something that I don’t like about myself. For this reason alone, a break from social media was extremelyyyyy necessary. How often do we find ourselves scrolling through our feeds, and instantly we feel like we’re less than and can’t measure up? Until I get to a point where scrolling doesn’t affect me personally, I need to work on my real life without the distraction of social media.
So…why are you still blogging?
Blogging is something that is and always has been a creative outlet for me. Using this time off of social media is allowing me to just write for fun without the pressure of marketing my content or worrying about how many views I’ll get. I want to use this time to find my passion for writing and photography again, and simply just enjoy the time that I have to myself. In a way, this time has been a blessing in disguise because I’ve wanted to build up my SEO for a while now, and this will allow me to do that without all of the unnecessary pressures!
Will you be returning to social media at all?
Yes! I’ve had my Facebook, Twitter and IG accounts deactivated for the past month now, and I’ve been having conversations with myself on when I may want to come back. I’ve still been very active on my Pinterest and Tumblr accounts so that I could stay inspired throughout this period. During my break, I’ve realized that I don’t have to be active on every social media platform. Going forward, the only app I’ll have on my phone is probably Instagram, and I can go on Facebook and Twitter from my laptop when necessary. I think the point of this hiatus was to address the unhealthy habits that I’ve had, and create some balance in my life. I love photography, so I’ll be getting back on Instagram very soon. As for my other accounts, I’m thinking I’ll log back on before the holidays, but we’ll see!
Have any of you ever taken a social media hiatus? I’d love to hear about what you gave up!