I’m a huge fan of social media, it gets a bad rep but a lot of the connotations associated with the digital era I think are flawed. I wrote about that already though.
There is one problem without a doubt about it. It’s addictive. I’d personally became very addicted. I felt I was constantly chasing my tail, feeling behind on everything and utterly overwhelmed. I had no focus. I was always just having a quick check on Facebook. The problem being it never would end up being a quick check.
Getting over social media addiction isn’t easy, but I knew, where there’s a will there’s a way and all that.
Being a blogger doesn’t help. Social media becomes your job. A job you love, but none the less a job. It also warrants an excuse to always be on social media and a very good one at that.
Most bloggers wouldn’t have a career without social media so I used that to my advantage. I ran with it and justified how much time I spent looking at my phone. I convinced myself why I couldn’t quit the habit, telling myself I needed it to grow my career.
Truthfully it was just an excuse. Sure if I was to quit permanently then I’d have no blogging career, but to cut back would probably actually help my career. I’d have more focus. I also knew I should be able to take a week off every now and then. Just as you would take a week off from work if you were employed.
To take a week off social media is always doable. If you can’t take a week off work you really have no life. I blog because I love it, but also to create the life I want. If I can’t have any time off then that’s no life I’m creating.
I knew deep down I could take a week away if I really wanted to. If I couldn’t find a way to have a short break, then I knew that was just the social media addiction finding an excuse. Another justified reason to be permanently hooked to my phone.
I’d become addicted to looking at views and stats. Constantly checking them. If I wasn’t checking stats then I was posting either on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If I wasn’t doing this I was browsing and seeing what others were up too and if I wasn’t doing that I was having a Twitter or Facebook group conversation.
The problem was I wasn’t getting anything done. I was constantly feeling the pressure of having a hundred jobs to do and forever feeling there weren’t enough hours in the day. Truthfully though, I knew deep down I was wasting a lot of time on social media whilst complaining I didn’t have enough time. I dread to think the countless hours I wasted on social media.
It started to take its toll on me. No matter the blogging stats, I’d always wanted to beat it. Constantly in competition with myself. If I had a great month then I’d want the next month to be even better or at least match it.
If I had a month that wasn’t as good as the one before I’d start feeling pretty pants about it. I always forgot to look at the bigger picture, that overall everything was always growing. I had an appalling month of views on YouTube and rather than just see it as a blip and learning curve I got addicted to checking the views.
When they didn’t get better I started to tell myself I sucked. Then I went into comparison mode. Looking at all the people who I thought were better than me at blogging and YouTube. Soon I started to feel really low. Everything and everyone seemed to upset me.
Not because anyone had done anything wrong, but because I was irritable and in the wrong frame of mind. Topped off by femininity issues, a bad week with the kids and the car breaking down I felt broken. Emotionally exhausted and lost, not knowing what to do next.
Financially we’d had a bad week and I just felt like we were drowning and I couldn’t see a way out. I knew we were blessed and abundant in many ways, but it’s crazy how a bad week with money can leave you feeling in a panic. Ironically I’d only done a video on ‘Abundance VS Wealth’ the week before. So now I was feeling silly too for daring to discuss the subject.
It was just one of the weeks where everything feels heavy and so I numbed the pain with social media. The worst I felt the more time I spent online. The more I spent online the worst I felt. A vicious circle going round and round.
I knew I had to do something. I made the drastic decision to take a week off unplanned. In the scheme of things, that probably doesn’t sound drastic. When you’re a blogger and your career feels as it weighs on your presence online it certainly feels that way, especially if you’re quite addicted to social media.
I didn’t know how I was gonna pull it off, wouldn’t my stats suffer massively if I did? It doesn’t sound a big deal, but it’s my career, after all, so to me, that was a big deal. I knew that in my current frame of mind it was necessary, but the timing was less than ideal. In fact, the timing sucked.
I was doing an Instagram challenge which I’d need to quit and although it was no biggie, after all, it is only Instagram my ego hates to quit things. It feels like a failure, especially when it’s done so publically too. I’d recently only just committed to blogging every Wednesday by starting Wellness Wednesday (as well trying to create the habit of posting every Friday), but I knew if I wanted to promote wellness that I needed to actually feel well myself.
So I announced on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that I was taking a break. Got another admin to take care of the UK blogger/YouTuber group I run and scheduled a post mid-week on Facebook and various ones on Twitter. I deleted the social media apps on my phone (all except YouTube as my phone wouldn’t allow me to delete that one), so I wasn’t lured back in and hey presto before I knew it the week was up.
It turns out I did the right thing coming off for a week. I received some less than brilliant news and had I still been on social media, I know I wouldn’t have dealt with it. I’d of just allowed myself to numb out on YouTube rather than deal with the pain. The problem is when we do this we just prolong it.
I had to deal with it as I didn’t have social media distracting me and for that, I’m so grateful. It also taught me that even though I love being a blogger and social media that I must not be dependent on it.
I need to create clear boundaries between what actually is work and what is a pleasure. It’s important to work and it’s important to have pleasure, but I just have to be honest when I’m passing pleasure off as work. I also need to be aware when pleasure becomes an addiction and I’m just unfocused and it’s no longer pleasurable.
I also need to stop numbing myself online rather than work through problems. There are no answers on your phone unless you’re watching a Ted Ex Talk perhaps. So going forward I’m going to try to work out a system where I’m keeping my social media to a healthy level.
I have to admit it’s so good to be back and I really missed it. On several occasions when using my desktop I would autopilot onto Facebook, but as soon as I realised I’d come straight off without scrolling or checking notifications. My views are down on my blog understandably, but that’s to be expected.
My Twitter followers actually went up so I’ll definitely use the scheduled feature more. It’s not something I’ve ever really done before because there is quite a conflict of opinions on scheduled posts.
Bloggers seem divided on it. Some think it’s the way forward and others think it’s a big no-no. I have to say I’m sold now that it works for Twitter. It’s the same with everything, you have to write your own rules.
It felt so healthy to have a social media break and a huge act of self-care. So if you’re ever struggling and find yourself not in the moment or simply on your phone a lot, then try a social media detox. It’s rather liberating.
It Did Do Harm – An open Letter to Grandparents & Those With Adult Children
(Blog post on generational trauma)