What would you do with an extra two and a half hours each day? That’s quite a lot of time!
Think about it for a minute. Would you work out, call your mom, read, take a nap, crochet… Ok, so that’s my list but what’s yours?
Well, people spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes on social media every day (source). And even if you’re well below average, we’re still talking about a decent chunk of time that could probably be used on other activities.
My friend Erin who blogs over at The Tannehill Homestead just did a full social media detox to break her social media habit and I was super curious to ask her all about it. I’m so excited to have her on the blog today to share all about her social media detox. It might inspire you to do one too!
Hey Erin! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Erin Tannehill. I’ve been married to a very ambitious man for 9 years, momma to two dogs, Chevy and Harley, as well as a small flock of chickens, and most recently became a full-time online entrepreneur.
I teach women [and some men] how to live their best life by removing clutter, decluttering their mind, and living with intention. I’ve designed my dream life and my goal is to teach other people how to do the same.
What made you want to give up social media for a month? Is this your first time doing a social media detox?
I try to do a social media detox once a year for a minimum of two weeks. This allows me to reset my mind and focus on what is truly important in my life – family and friends, my business, but most importantly, living in the present.
My most recent social media detox was due to having a constant feeling of overwhelm and never having enough time to do the things on my action list. I was consistently picking up my phone to check what was happening on Instagram, comparing my stress of being on social media to those who enjoy being on social media, and just fed up with it all.
I was honestly to the point of wanting to delete my Instagram and Facebook accounts altogether. I knew taking a step back would be the only way to reset my thoughts about social media and remove the overwhelming pressure I put on myself.
Why did you choose to give up just social media and not all screen time?
I have an online business, so giving up all screen time isn’t an option currently. However, I have set up boundaries to keep me from working until 9pm at night.
What kinds of rules did you set for yourself or things did you do to make sure you stuck with it?
My main rule was to stay logged out of social media. This meant no social media apps on my phone and blocking these websites from my computer browser.
I still needed to access Facebook for business purposes, so I installed a news feed blocker on my browser. This prevented me from using it for anything besides business.
After a week, I realized my need to scroll on my phone moved from social media to YouTube and Pinterest, so I decided to extend my social media detox to include a full smartphone detox. I have the essentials on my phone, and that is it.
Was it tempting to cheat?!
Yes and no… For me, Facebook is a business necessity due to Facebook Groups. I’ve had a newsfeed blocker on Facebook for several months, so it is easy for me to stay on track with it.
However, staying off of Instagram was difficult. I had to access it a couple of times in the first week for business reasons, and almost got lost in scrolling the feed. Luckily, I caught myself and signed off immediately. Since then, I haven’t felt the need to check it.
What did you do instead? I think to be successful myself I would need to decide what I want to do instead every time I feel the urge to grab my phone.
Before I fully committed to my social media break, I created a plan. This helped me focus on why the break was important and to keep me off of social media.
I’ve made the mistake of not planning out my breaks, and it made things more difficult than it really needed to be.
This November was a busy one. I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish, such as participating in NaNoWriMo and taking a course for my business (which is why I had to access a couple of things on Instagram).
Outside of my goals, I had a list of activities to reference if I found myself bored. They included going for a walk, journaling, reading books, cooking, etc.
I still had urges to check my phone, and allowed myself to pick up my phone. However, with limited features, the urges quickly subsided and my focus has improved significantly.
How hard was it really?
When you plan your social media break and set up proper boundaries to help the initial withdrawal, it isn’t hard. In fact, I have found that it is very freeing and enjoyable to step away from social media.
Did you have any big epiphanies or little things you have learned through your social media detox?
Oh yes! My wedding anniversary occurred during the first week of my social media break. At first, I felt like a terrible wife for not posting about it and letting everyone know it was our anniversary. I mean, if it isn’t posted on social media, did it really happen?
By the end of the day, I was so thankful I was on a social media break, because I was able to focus on celebrating my marriage without photographing it or worrying who was telling us “Happy Anniversary”. After all, our wedding anniversary is about us, not everyone else.
What really surprised me is how little I missed social media. It didn’t stop me from connecting with anyone that I normally talk with, because there are many different avenues to connect with people outside of social media. Realizing that I don’t have to have social media to be social was an eye opening experience.
Did you notice any changes in yourself (like your mood, activities, energy, bedtime, etc)?
Yes, there were definitely some changes that occurred during my social media detox. The overall quality of my life improved significantly because I was able to give my full attention to the things I was doing.
My mood was more stable over the break. I didn’t get aggravated with things as quickly. I took longer walks without my phone and spent more time journaling. My sleep was more peaceful, because I wasn’t wondering about the things I would miss while sleeping.
The biggest change I noticed in myself was my ability to focus on things. Whether it was my work, a conversation with a friend, or doing some kind of self-care, I was able to fully focus and be present with it.
Are you going back on social media again when the month is up?
No, I decided to extend my social media break, because I don’t really know what I want from social media. Before my break, I felt so much pressure to show up, even when there was nothing to say. I honestly never want to feel that pressure again.
I am enjoying the separation, and as long as I am enjoying it, I’m not going to force myself to sign in again.
How do you think you’ll use social media differently after this experience?
I’m still working through a few ideas, but I know it will be less often and with more intention.
What are your tips for me if I decide to do a social media detox? Like, give me a step-by-step of what to do, and what not to do (if anything).
First, you want to make a plan for your social media detox. What is your intention with the break and why is it important to you? Plan a few activities that you can do instead of checking social media, such as going for a walk, reading a book, cooking a nice meal from scratch, etc.
Second, set up any and every boundary you can think of to help you stay off of social media. This includes:
- Log out and uninstall all social media apps from your phone
- Blocking your browser on your phone or just certain websites.
- Turn off notifications, badges, banners, etc. for all of your apps except phone calls and text messages.
- Setting up browser website blocks so that if you accidentally try to get on Facebook you can’t. I use the free addon Block Site – Website Blocker for Chrome.
- This is optional. If you don’t trust yourself to stay off of social media, have someone you trust change your passwords so that you cannot access your social media accounts even if you try. Also, make sure they change the email address associated with the account so that you cannot click the ‘forgot password’ and change it yourself.
One thing I do advise you to do before the detox is declutter who you follow. I’ve found that decluttering a few days before a detox provides a sense of relief and shows you that you won’t miss out on as many things as you think.
The fear of missing out is strong right before you start your detox, so doing this a few days before you sign out of your social media accounts will make it a little easier.
Snooze or mute anyone who posts on social media leading up to the start of your detox to decrease your fears of missing out, because you won’t see any new posts before signing out. You can unmute them once you return and the snoozing automatically adds them back into your feed after the 30 days.
Lastly and most importantly, consider how you will reintroduce yourself to social media once your detox period comes to an end. Do NOT end your detox without a plan.
Will you set up new boundaries, use it as a reward system, install time blocking apps to ensure you are intentional with your use, and/or prevent it from entering into certain rooms of your home?
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Where can everyone find you online?
Take a Look at These Related Posts:
- 5 Strategies for Adults to Reduce Screen Time
- 17 Cheap Self Care Ideas
- 9 Ways to Increase Your Work-at-Home Productivity
I really hope that hearing from Erin has made you think a little harder about how you use social media, or screens in general — maybe you’ll even try your own social media detox! It has definitely given me a lot to think about with how I use technology.