Guest post from Girl Unfinished
It seems like the answer is obvious but it took me a long time to fully understand how powerful quitting social media would be for me. After 8 years of living my entire life on social media as a network marketer turned influencer turned life coach, I found myself burnt out, feeling like a total imposter, and like I’d never reach the success I dreamed of. The worst part was that I couldn’t understand how I even got to this point. I tried so hard to make it work, I gave it my all even spending more time on my phone than I did with my own children. A lot of opportunities and experiences came my way, I made some decent money, created lots of new friendships, and even changed a few lives, but still here I was feeling angry, lost, and like a total failure once again.
Even with all the good things, I couldn’t stop focusing on all the ways the social media world had let me down. The constantly changing algorithms, the roller coaster analytics, the required daily content with absolutely no guarantee of return. Not to mention the stress, the anxiety, all the times I compared myself to other women, the endless feeling of not being good enough, and my constant need for external validation. It all had become way too much for me and turned me into someone my soul no longer knew.
"I couldn’t stop focusing on all the ways the social media world had let me down ... the stress, the anxiety, all the times I compared myself to other women, the endless feeling of not being good enough ..."
It was becoming very clear that the bad was out weighing the good by far, and that's when I knew it was time to throw in the towel on social media. I’d had enough, my mental health was failing, and I’d never felt worse about myself. But still I was a bit hesitant to rip the bandaid off. Who would I be without social media? What would I do with all that extra time? Will everyone forget about me? Many questions crossed my mind but my gut was telling me that stepping away from social media was the right thing to do.
So on a sunny Sunday morning I made my farewell post and signed off for the last time. I ripped the bandaid completely off and deleted all the apps from my phone while I was at it. I felt liberated and free and happy that I was finally choosing me. I also felt relief and like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Even my family noticed a difference and within a week I was already spending more time with them than I’d had in a really long time. It was amazing to finally be living life for me, experiencing all the things with my own eyes instead of sharing every moment on my phone. I was deeply mindful of every moment that was happening all around me and it felt amazing.
But the pleasantries didn’t last long. After about 3 weeks reality set in and once again I was in a mental health slump. Without social media it felt like there was this gaping hole in my life and I felt really lost. I had put so much of my self worth into a world that was not reality and now that it was gone I felt worthless. I even questioned my identity, who was I without social media?? And since I relied on these apps for income I didn’t know what was next for my career. As a long time entrepreneur who essentially walked away from her business, that was really scary for me.
The transition phase was really setting in and I was starting to see the big picture of how different life was going to be now. I had all this extra time on my hands to figure things out but instead of putting things into a positive perspective all I could think about was the bad. I was so blinded by loss and unproductivity that all the good parts of this new way of life felt very out of reach for me. I was also no longer creating or sharing my positivity with the online world and that was tough because those things were my outlets and now they were gone.
Major FOMO (fear of missing out) had also set in and the struggle of it all was getting very real. I started to regret my decision and wonder if I did the right thing. My self care routine was also nonexistent and I found myself stuck in bed most of the time. That all too familiar feeling of depression was making its way in and I knew I had to do something about it or else. So I grabbed my journal, a long time tool I’d used in my self care journey, and began letting it all out.
I started out with the root cause of my feelings, the best place to start any healing journey. I knew that because my creative outlets were gone I needed something new to focus my energy on. I needed a new way to share my positivity with the world and I needed to get back to creating. Because I felt so stuck and stagnant I also knew that I needed to first give myself some grace for this huge step I was taking in support of my mental health, and second I needed to get back to taking care of myself. So I jumped right back into my self care routine, which was always a daily non negotiable for me but had somehow fallen onto the back burner.
Once I got back on track with my self care and I started to feel better, I was ready to start creating again. For me that meant writing and I already had the vehicle for that which was my blog girlunfinished.com. So I opened up my computer and started writing again. I also took some time to figure out what I wanted for myself now that I had this new normal. I think this was the most important step I could’ve taken because without clarity of what you want how can you know what direction to move forward in. This clarity was so helpful for me and the fact that I was writing and creating again was even better.
I learned that I needed to be productive to feel good and I needed to create to feel like I was a contributing member of society. I learned that I always need something to focus my abundant energy on and most importantly, I learned that I do have an identity outside of social media.
And after learning so much about myself through journaling and self care, I was determined to put it into action without having to sign back on to social media. And that's exactly what I did.
It’s been 3 months now that I’ve been living life social media free (probably longer by the time you read this) and I feel like a brand new person. I’ve gotten to know myself in all new ways without the influence and comparison to others on social media. The funny thing is that I’ve found myself going back to my roots and the person that I was before social media was a thing, yes I lived through that time. The stress and anxiety in my life is basically non-existent and the peace that I have found through living mindfully has been a godsend.
"It’s been 3 months now that I’ve been living life social media free ... and I feel like a brand new person ... and the peace that I have found through living mindfully has been a godsend."
I’ve realized that my life didn’t stop because I no longer share it with the world. In fact it's been busier than ever and I am more fulfilled than I have been in years. My biggest fear was that my life would have no meaning without social media but as it turns out who I am and what I am meant to do in this life has never been more clear. I no longer fear missing out on things inside social media apps because one thing I’ve realized about social media is that it's all still the same. Sure the algorithms change but the people and content are basically all the same, just humans trying to feel accepted and liked by society.
Nowadays the only FOMO I have is FOMO of the present moment and I find myself really embracing every experience life sends my way. So to answer the question “is quitting social media the ultimate form of self care?” I’d say hell yes! Will it be easy? Hell no! But will it be worth it? Totally.
Stepping away from social media has been a gift that keeps on giving because I’ve learned how to live mindfully, enjoying every second of life in the present moment. And isn’t that what this whole human experience is supposed to be all about? Only time will tell and since time is something I have a lot of now, I’m looking forward to finding out the answer...