Is Social Media Serving You?

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Hi friends!  A few months back I wrote this post about my relationship with social media, and my suspicions that it may be making us more lonely.  And then in December I took a little break from it, a sort of experiment to see what it felt like to not know what everyone is up to every given minute.  And what I found was a HUGE eye opener!  The first thing I realized- I had a tendency to fill up blank spaces with my phone.  Meaning, anytime I was waiting for ANYTHING- in line at the grocery store, waiting for a friend or any appointment, waiting for water to boil in the kitchen: my hand instinctively grabbed for my phone to scroll through a feed- Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and when I felt like I could tolerate it, The Huffington Post for a bit of “reality”.  I thought I wasn’t one of “those people” but the second I started to be conscious of my habits I realized I 1000% was.  Eeeeek!

With this newfound awareness I made the decision to continue with my break and begin filling space with something that would serve me more- my mindfulness practice.  So instead of the relentless scroll, I started using those moments to take a pause, notice my breath and be present.  Slowly the habit shifted and I found myself losing my phone for hours, reverting to my former ways of life pre-iphone.  And it felt GOOD!  So I continued.

After a couple of weeks of very limited social media use I realized I felt happier.  NOTICEABLY HAPPIER.  That’s crazy, right?!  I’ve since shifted to some social media use, and it feels ok.  I check in every once in awhile, but I don’t scroll with abandon and fill up all of the empty space with it.  I’ve found a more balanced relationship, and I pay attention to how often I’m “checking in”.  The world seems better somehow when I am living in it rather than observing it from my phone.  I feel more grounded, more present, happier.

What are your thoughts on this?  Could you imagine doing a social media cleanse?  Do you think that’s just crazy ridiculous?  I’m so curious to know if you have had similar experiences or think I’m a wackadoodle!!  xx- Sarah

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Reader Comments

  1. Melanie|

    I would love to do a social media cleanse. I get so stressed out when I look at my facebook scroll. A mini break is definitely in the cards for me!

    Reply
  2. Leslie @ flora foodie|

    Oh my gosh, this is so TRUE and such a nice reminder. I am the same way, I really like to think I’m not obsessed with my phone (and maintain I’m not as bad as “most” people), but I can’t believe how often I catch myself reaching for my phone the second I’m just a little bored. It’s awful! I would love to try a social media cleanse. I know it would be so much harder than I’d like to admit.

    Reply
  3. Jessica|

    For quite some time I have been obsessed with Twitter and someday I decide to cut it short. I was spending way too much time on it. Right now, looking back at how I was feeling when I was constantly checking my feed and looking at how I’m feeling right now, only checking my mentions once a day, I feel much better :) x

    http://jessicawoods.fr

    Reply
  4. Richelle|

    I look at Instagram once or twice a day – it’s a nice few-minutes mental break from work. I follow a few friends, but I’m mostly looking at four-legged critters (including one very cute bunny!) and a few of the bloggers I read regularly. No to Twitter – personally, I don’t get it (but I do get a kick out of the mean tweets Jimmy Kimmel thing even though I am opposed to meanness in general) and I occasionally get on Facebook (sometimes once every day or so day, sometimes, like now, I’ll go for a few weeks without looking at it). I’m pretty introverted and really enjoy quiet – social media feels like a lot of mental noise. I’m quite a bit older than you (and likely most of your readers) so I’m likely an outlier here.

    Reply
  5. Whitney|

    I got off everything a few months ago and have noticed a pretty big difference, I am generally much more content:) You are definitely not a wackadoodle!

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  6. Sarah|

    I absolutely love this! I too have recently wondered what happened to me — every single time I have a free moment I also reach for my phone! But as soon as I realize I forgot my phone or know it’s not within reach, I feel a sense of relief — almost like I don’t have to check! A lot of it is the guilt of not getting back to people who text or call, but that’s only part of it (the other part being addiction). I’m definitely going to have to try what you’re doing. I’ve done it before and was much, much happier, so why not continue? Thank you for the reminder!

    x Sarah
    http://www.bohochiccafe.com

    Reply
  7. Lavenderhill|

    We live in times where it’s seems better to look busy with a phone rather than talk to people . People feel awkward socially making small talk with strangers. I only say this as observing people while waiting for a train commute, store aisles, elevators. No one likes to make conv with strangers . I agree with you and do not use phone to pass time. I hate Facebook. I would rather call a friend and see how they are doing than prowl face book to find out what they are up to.

    Reply
  8. thefolia|

    Cute romper and hanging swing…I want two of them facing each other…I think it would make for some fun, funny and even quiet relaxing moments in the nest (without online connection of course). Cheers to checking in less…I’m always off the grid, just recently connected online with my phone only because I’m not at home as much but I don’t reach for it at all…I have to many little ones to watch so unfortunately my present time is not so present with myself but with running from one activity to the next. Happy being in the present moment!

    Reply
  9. AM|

    I gave up Pinterest last year for Lent. It was based on a sermon about the things we put in our lives that keep us from hearing God. What difference! How delightful to generate my OWN thoughts and activities and not just fill my time (and self) with everything EXCEPT me. It made a big enough impact that I no longer have a FB account and only use Pinterest when I need a recipe (or the occasional cute bird picture). I’m fond of Instagram but for me it is a creative outlet to come up with that perfect caption. :) I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve added back to my life. Great post!

    Reply
  10. Sharda|

    I have done a similar thing recently.. it kind of started by accident when I was unwell and not able to handle looking at a screen as it made me feel dizzy… and I felt the same kinda lighter and happier and more content and just happy being in the moment and doing my own thing and more connected in conversation with my husband…. what worries me is I have a 1 year old son and wonder if he will ever know how that feels when he grows up… it’s certainly a different world now… I love you take on things Sarah xxx

    Reply
  11. dot|

    I am awful with Social Media especially in the past months because I moved to NYC and the job I have now I have freedom and more down time. I find myself going between all the sites. I also took a cruise a year ago and realized how much time social media takes away. I didn’t pay to have the internet there and could not use my phone. It was the best vacation ever because I didn’t have to worry about looking at my phone every second.

    Reply
  12. Kirstie|

    I took a month break from all social media and LOVED loved loved it! In that month I learned to sew, made pom poms, wrote letters to loved ones. I was surprised at how much time I had when it wasn’t filled up with social media. I signed back into instagram and INSTANTLY regretted it. I could feel anxiety creep in almost immediately. I’ve started and quit instagram 4 times…it’s so challenging for me.

    Reply
  13. Amanda @ A.Co est. 1984|

    What an interesting post–I had to go back and read the one from October, but wow… it’s nice to read that.

    I feel I get Social Media anxiety and sometimes it’s worse than others — like when I have free time and ‘should’ be creating content but am trying to relax instead? ANXIETY! It’s been seriously frustrating and something that’s hard to shake. I feel guilty not posting, but then I know I need a break. It’s a vicious circle.

    All that to say, glad you wrote this and I SO WISH you were coming to Canada to camp so we could have dinner!! Ha, what a cool idea :) Hope you are enjoying your travels!

    Reply
  14. Diana Elizabeth|

    Ahhhhh I love this!! I took a week off from posting on Instagram and it felt good. I had nothing to really report about, I just lived life and was happy. Scrolling, checking in, doing all of that really made me feel crazy. I know for bloggers and photographers we are expected to post daily and share but sometimes I just want to realize no one cares that much what I’m doing, and I should calm down a bit – not everything needs to be shared!

    Reply
  15. Julie|

    I love this! I recently moved my Facebook and Instagram apps to a folder on my phone, where it requires more effort to open them. So instead of mindlessly (truly, mindlessly!) opening and scrolling through my social media sites at every down moment (at a red light!? in line at the grocery!?), I have to make a more conscious decision to open the apps. It also gives me the opportunity to say “Wait, I don’t want/need to open that right now.”

    Reply