August 1st ends my month-long social media blackout. I successfully took a full break from creating any content or outreach via social media or email, and it was an energizing exercise! That part of the break was easy. The harder part was staying off social media altogether. So, honestly, it was a brown out.
I purposely took the social media apps off my phone, so access was not immediate. Nonetheless, the addiction ran deep. I cut my screen time by more than half, but I still found myself taking the extra steps to access the apps and take a look. I posted a few stories on my Instagram just because it was fun.
The reason I took a break, which I shared in my last newsletter, was to recover from caregiver burnout. My body was in constant fight or flight mode, and I did find it very helpful to reduce the adrenaline/dopamine hits that checking in constantly can cause.
What I Learned:
- Less is More: My Instagram grew more in the month I only posted stories (no reels, no posts) and held followers better than the previous month where we were posting almost daily.
- Lost My Ability to Sit Still: Although checking social media on my phone was WAY down, I still did it. It was a constant itch I wanted to scratch, and I’m not happy about that. I regularly meditate and take THAT time, but WOW, was it eye-opening to see how I’m addicted to my phone!
- Social Media is Social: Part of checking in on social media when I said I wouldn’t was because I missed people. Social media has become a way to be up-to-date on people I know and care about (at least the part they share publicly). It is a fact of our society that there just aren’t enough hours in our modern life days to call, write, or spend a lot of time checking in with those we care about. For example, my oldest kid is deep into his new career success, and social media lets me know more than a phone call would yield right now.
What I’ll Change:
- I’m not putting the apps back on my phone. Making it harder to access is working in checking less often and being more present.
- Posting for business can take on a new pace; one that works for me instead of being a slave to the “shoulds” and the algorithms.
- I will pay more attention to burnout signs like constant “fight or flight” states and an inability to stay on task. I’ll take more unapologetic and full breaks BEFORE it becomes a crisis.
Like everything I share, I hope this helps you think about your social media consumption, and the load you are carrying during these incredibly challenging times.
Please know you’re not alone. Here is another article that might interest you on coping with burnout.