I recently took a much needed break from social media. During the month of December, we closed down our businesses and I took a month-long hiatus from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Here’s what I learned:
- The FOMO was real! As someone who doesn’t have a fear of missing out in real life, the feeling of missing something that was shared or announced on social media was hard to ignore – especially the first few days of my detox. What if someone is trying to reach me? What if I miss a friend request or message and that person thinks I’m ignoring them? How will I know what has been going on in my (real) friends’ lives? Will we lose potential clients if they reach out through social media and don’t see our away messages? What if Tom Ellis posts a story and I don’t get to see it? LOL! Calm down, Alicia! The good news is: the FOMO only lasted a couple of days until my logical brain took over and I realized that the phone still works. I was able to connect with people in a more meaningful way rather than with just a few likes or hearts. And I could always get caught up in January on anything (or with anyone) I missed.
- You can pick and choose. About 10 days into my detox, I attended a huge celebrity event. If you’ve read our “about” page, you know I’m an unashamed Hallmark fan. My sister and I attended the mother of all Hallmark events in early December – Christmas Con. Imagine all your favorite Hallmark stars accessible for meet and greets, photo ops and genuine interaction… and it was posted allll over their social media accounts. Even though I was just starting to hit my stride with this detox, I gave myself permission to peek at a few fav celeb accounts (Instagram only) to enjoy the full experience that weekend. In doing so, I taught myself a valuable lesson: I can pick and choose what content I view rather than mindlessly scrolling through my feed and getting bombarded with everything and anything every time.
- There is peace to be found. FOMO and Christmas Con aside, I began to feel a sense of peace. Instead of waking up and immediately checking social media, I read a daily reflection. Instead of my mind being filled with something I saw on social media, I had the space to think about (and focus on) things that really mattered to me. Instead of feeling envy over someone else’s “perfect” life (as if that actually exists), I found reasons to be happy and content with my life… and had the headspace and clarity to think about what was next.
- There are ways to get information without using social media. Does anyone else go to Instagram to research people and places first? No? Just me?! About halfway through the month it dawned on me that I could use this new thing called the internet to do some research during my social media fast. And it actually helped me get the information I wanted without being distracted by a million other things along the way. Hmmm, who even knew?
- Things need to change moving forward. After 30+ days living outside of the 24/7 social media experience, I know I can’t return to how things were. Yes, I know I need to resume managing my business accounts and my VIP group. I know I need to take advantage of all the marketing benefits this necessary evil provides. But I also know I need to find a way to make it work for me without getting sucked back into the rat race. Balance. Upon my return, I “unfollowed” and “muted” accounts that were not adding value to my daily life and highlighted those that were. I culled through my Facebook groups and removed myself from some and set up notifications for the ones I really want to be a part of. And I’m working on some ideas to help make the process of scheduling business posts less time-consuming. This will be a work in progress and I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m committed to trying to maintain some of the peace I’ve found this month… all while reintroducing a healthy dose of business and of course, Tom Ellis. 😉
If you’ve been thinking about taking a step back from social media but have been hesitant, I hope this gives you some encouragement to take the leap. It was such a positive experience for me and I wish the same for anyone who wants to do it! Feel free to drop me some questions in the comments. And if you’ve done this, I’d love to hear any advice on what has worked well for you! Xo -A