I Went Off Social Media For 2 Weeks And This Is What Happened
I don’t think most of us want to admit how handcuffed we are to social media.
Since 2007, social media has been my lifeline. I had just moved back to Canada from my first stint in the Cayman Islands where I made a huge career shift from accounting to entering the health & fitness industry. Facebook enabled me to share my journey, build my community, and generate revenue through my passion for helping others.
Although I owe much of my success in online fitness and nutrition coaching to social media, I was also experiencing an increasing desire to take a break from it. A year ago I gave myself a goal to take a digital detox; however, I felt that in order to do so, it had to be the ‘right time’. I thought I needed a strategic plan to calculate the risks versus the reward, determine the best timing, and work out how I was going to communicate it to my following while still being there for my clients, etc. When, in reality, I was burnt out (and had been for a while) and just needed to allow myself a break. But, being beyond exhausted and knowing that my business was driven via social media, I pushed through the only way I knew how — continuing to use social media to promote what I do, who I am, and tell the stories of those who work with me. And in doing so, I continued to burn out.
In 2017 it finally caught up with me and I felt I needed to step away, take a break and re-focus on why I was online in the first place — to educate women and help them transform their lives while finding balance through health and wellness; inspiring and teaching others, and encouraging them to share their stories. Somewhere along the way I lost this.
My two week digital detox.
I logged off my social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook), however my LinkedIn account was still active. And although I scheduled posts to be released on my Facebook page to promote my Mind-Body Nutrition course, I still felt I was taking a huge gamble by going off social media this time of year since it is the highest demand season for health & fitness coaching. However, I recognized that in addition to needing this break for myself, it was also needed so that I could give clients my full attention and highest level of coaching once I returned. Taking a digital detox didn’t mean I would stop working, it just meant I wasn’t focused on promoting my business in the social realms. It merely allowed me to focus my energies on coaching clients, attend meetings, work on projects, blog and send out my latest newsletters (which if you haven’t signed up for already, you can do right here).
So, what happened over the two weeks?
Although two weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, in the social media world, it’s hours of scrolling, creating Instagram stories, posting, thinking up witty tag lines and relevant hashtags to go with that one perfect photo out of the 35 taken.
During the first few days I found myself reaching for my phone as soon as I had a gap of silence or a moment when I would see something and think to myself “Oh, I need to put that on my IG stories”. Luckily I don’t have FOMO so the urge to constantly check other peoples pages to see what they were up to or what I was missing didn’t bother me. I do have friends and family who I missed interacting with and I would send more texts asking how they were rather than finding out on their social media and not engaging in an actual conversation. In the first few days I experienced a bit of anxiety. Funny enough the anxiety was because I didn’t think I set aside enough time for the digital detox and I wanted to make sure I ‘got the full experience’ but after a few days I just let that go and LOVED every moment of it.
I thought maybe I would journal my days away but to be honest, I really didn’t have much to report other than how much it was needed. There were a few things I found:
- My phone NEVER died, or got anywhere close to it!
- I only took a handful of photos and spent more time enjoying the moments.
- I became much more productive!
- Facebook can answer your questions a lot faster than driving around town trying to figure out who sells birdhouses. (*all my son wanted to buy my mom for Christmas was a birdhouse and I had no idea where to find one). A quick post to the moms’ group I’m in would have solved that issue real fast instead of driving around like a crazy woman.
- I felt pretty disconnected. More often than not, businesses will update their social media more than their websites so I had to get someone else to pull up info for me that I needed.
- I thought for sure I would have lost business but it ended up being the opposite. This time off allowed me to make sure all of my other business avenues were working effectively where engagement is much higher. If you are a business owner, don’t ever forget that your email list is gold.
- I became more present.
- Lastly, because I live so far away from home a lot of my family missed out on what I had been up to, particularly things that had to do with my son since I share so much of that on my social media for them to see.
Moving forward, I won’t cut social media out completely, this is a great source for me both personally and professionally (especially given that I live in the Caribbean) but instead of hopping back on like I had, my usage and posts will change. It is now critical for me to maintain my own balance. It’s like my Mind-Body Nutrition coaching and how I coach my clients. Most of us have experienced extremes with dieting. A strict plan that limits and restricts us and then the exact opposite where we eat anything and everything in sight. Both don’t work and its the same as being on social media. You can’t fully (or it’s not recommended) go off all social media, and being fully immersed in it doesn’t do much for us either, so where do we find that balance? This is where we learn how to find that happy place, that balance and where it compliments our lives. This is where we see success.
Overall, I found what I was looking for. Clarity, focus and finally some balance. I truly enjoyed it and I encourage everyone do it at some point. In fact, I just found out a few of my clients became inspired by what I did and went off as well. Whether it’s for a weekend, a week or a month, learn what it’s like to not be constantly stimulated, allow yourself to be bored and feel what it’s like to be lonely and silence the noise; it’s a powerful feeling.