Last January, I wrote a post explaining why I was quitting Instagram for 2020, but today, I’m sharing why I quit social media for good.
Not just for a month.
Not just for a year.
But why I made the decision to quit social media for good.
What I have to say may or may not surprise you. In fact, it may be the reason you participate in social media detoxes from time to time, which is always a great thing to do.
Disclaimer: I’m not here to judge anyone who finds social media useful or fun. I’m just here to explain why it isn’t for me.
Backstory: What led us to this point?
While I don’t want to go into the full history of my social media experience. I do want to say that diving deep into the minimalist lifestyle is what inevitably led me to this point.
If it weren’t for the entire journey I’ve been on since starting this blog, I wouldn’t be where I am today and sharing why I quit social media.
By this I mean that while my blog did increase my usage of social media [because bloggers are encouraged to be active on social media as “the” way to grow and have a “successful” business], pursuing minimalism and learning what exactly it means to live intentionally helped me see that I could create my dream life without following social norms.
I went on a crazy rollercoaster ride with social media and I’m so grateful for all that it has taught me and the people I’ve met through it, but what it has provided me since letting it go is far more valuable.
Why I Quit Social Media for Good
On December 30, 2020, I decided it was time to delete social media for good.
The previous five months were spent debating if social media had a place in my life any longer, and I realized that debate had gone on for far too long. I mean, I hadn’t even used social media in all of that time, so why was I allowing myself to think about it still?
I analyzed what value social media did and did not have on my life and ended that debate once and for all.
Immediately following that decision, a wave of peace came over me like I had never experienced before in my life.
I knew that why I quit social media was just as important and deciding it, so let me explain.
1 // I needed to stop seeking external validation.
It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized the lack of trust I have within myself. A large part of that is sharing my thought process on social media and allowing feedback from others to influence my next steps.
I don’t fault the people offering feedback. I really appreciated it at the time.
However, I do fault myself for not listening to myself before listening to other people. In the long run, it hurt my self-confidence, and rebuilding it has taken a lot of effort.
2020 was a great lesson in learning how to trust myself and stop asking for approval from other people.
2 // I needed to increase my productivity.
It’s no secret that social media is very distracting. Social media is said to be as addictive as gambling, and I was definitely addicted to the distraction.
With each social media detox, I realized that my ability to focus and get things done improved tremendously, and I was tired of the back and forth with this.
I am very ambitious, but I had allowed myself to become so distracted with social media that I got stuck and stopped trying new things.
I found myself only able to complete the bare necessities to keep my business in check, and it about killed it.
You’re probably thinking that I shouldn’t give so much power to social media. But I have to be honest about it because I know I’m not alone. I want you to know there is hope if you’ve found yourself realizing the same thing.
3 // I wanted my life back!
One day during a social media detox in 2019, I realized that I hadn’t been living life to the fullest. The goals and dreams I had a few years ago were no longer being pursued, and I couldn’t believe I had gotten so off track.
You see many online business owners on social media the majority of the day and offering the advice to keep pushing and hustling because you never know when you’ll “catch a break” or “make it big”.
Well, I took that advice as if I should be on social media all the time so that I could be “successful” as a blogger.
I didn’t see how awful that advice was until I took a step back and focused on things that actually moved my business forward.
Worrying about follower counts growing and how many likes a photo would get wasn’t living! It was grasping for something I never wanted in the first place, because experts told me I should focus on it.
My idea of success isn’t being on social media all of the time, and it never will be.
Life doesn’t happen on a screen. It’s what happens when you turn off the screen and live present with those around you.
4 // I wanted to stop stressing so much!
My struggle with depression and anxiety is no joke, and stressing over social media makes it even more difficult.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to not stress over something I have zero control over and that also doesn’t help me move towards living my dream life.
5 // I wanted to live what I preach by living even slower.
I love accomplishing things, big or small. However, this summer I reached a point where I had to live slower by necessity.
I was so overwhelmed with many things and figuring out how to live even slower was the only way I could take the necessary time to figure out things.
It was an eye opening experience to slow down and focus on the present moment. I realized that I don’t mind being bored and actually needed it to thrive.
6 // I wanted real connection.
Social media is great to connect the world together, but it doesn’t replace real, in-person connections.
As humans, we need this to thrive. We are social beings after all.
Once logged off of Instagram, I realized that I had been sacrificing real, in-person connections with people I cherish deeply, and I didn’t want to do that anymore.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the people I met through social media, but it just isn’t the same.
7 // The social media platforms took the fun out of it!
With social media platforms caring more about how to make a dollar than the people that use them, it isn’t fun anymore!
They want us to believe they are improving our experience, but the truth is that they are just filling their pockets more and more with each update.
I get needing to make money to afford the upkeep of the platform, but I don’t understand why they have gone as far as they have.
Was it hard to quit social media?
A friend asked how I felt afterward, and honestly, I felt like deleting that account aligned with where I was mentally, so it was really peaceful. I knew that it was complete.
This decision to quit social media entirely wasn’t like taking a social media detox where I knew that I would return at the end of it. I knew there wasn’t anything to go back to and, if I did decide to return, I would be starting over completely.
I think being off of social media for most of 2020 helped a lot, because I wasn’t in the cycle of checking, posting, commenting, etc. The need to pick up my phone every 5 minutes to see what I had missed had already dissipated.
Overall, I would say that it was pretty easy once I made the decision, and I don’t regret it.
What life is like since I quit social media
I feel like I’ve gone back in time to a place where social media wasn’t the center of our lives and we didn’t need screens in our faces all of the time to try to find acceptance.
It’s really been a huge breath of fresh air to go for a walk without my phone or enjoy an evening out without having to worry about what’s going on in a virtual world.
I’m able to be 100% present with those around me and that feels so good!
I was worried about FOMO when I first quit Instagram last year, but after some time, you realize that life goes on anyway.
Yes, you do miss some things about people’s lives, but you’ll find that it doesn’t matter so much because y’all weren’t actually close to begin with, and surprisingly that’s okay.
I love having my decision power back and not being advertised to all of the time.
I love being able to create new things and do things that I didn’t think I had time or mental energy to do.
What I love most is feeling like I’m in control of my life again.
My life without social media is closer to what I have dreamed of for many years. It’s felt like a chance to peel back many onion layers rapidly versus over a period of time.
In the month of December, my already minimalist home got more minimal when I realized I could declutter a carload full of things that didn’t align with where I’m headed and it put a decent amount of money in my pocket, which is always helpful!
I started an Etsy shop to bring joy to people in a way that COVID-19 took away and to grow my creative abilities for the joy of it.
I’m also working on becoming a self-publish author, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, as well as a coach to help people one-on-one.
When it comes to self-care, I have found more time to read, go for walks, and just be in rhythm with my body. I’m making more time for God and participating in Bible Study, which I’m loving so much!
This is just one of my months without social media, and I feel like I growing 1,000 times faster than I could have with social media.
My advice to anyone considering quitting social media themselves
GO FOR IT!
Really though, if you’ve been debating whether or not you should quit social media altogether, there are a few things I would suggest you do before deleting your social media accounts.
1 // Make a Pros and Cons List
List out all of the pros and cons for quitting social media. Give yourself some time to really think about it, like a few days or week.
The more reasons you think of to support both sides will help you see what value social media does or doesn’t add to your life.
2 // Do a social media detox
I suggest a trial period of life without social media for at least 30 days. This will allow you to reset your mind and see what life is actually like without social media.
Any shorter than 30 days and you don’t get the full experience.
You can do this two ways:
1 // Log out of your social media accounts and delete the apps from your phone.
2 // Deactivate your accounts. This will allow you to feel like you’ve deleted your accounts, but really it is a limbo stage where you can log back into your account at a later point but it isn’t currently active.
3 // Download any photos you want to keep
Regardless if you decide to delete your account right away or not, downloading your photos will provide you with a sense of peace should you spontaneously decide to delete your accounts for good.
It is far easier to already have them than to finally make the decision then have to do a lot of work to make that happen. You may also second guess your decision.
4 // Let your friends and family know
You don’t necessarily have to create a dramatic post announcing that you’re going to delete your account – unless you want to do that, which I totally support.
A simple conversation via in person, text, or phone call with your friends and family to let them know you no longer use Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media account will help them find different ways to connect with you.
5 // Find other ways to do things
If you use social media for your news updates, find another way to do this that doesn’t involve you logging into social media.
If you have a group message with friends, try a different app like GroupMe or Google Hangouts.
Whatever ways you utilize social media needs to be found in a different way so that you won’t miss it once you quit.
6 // Create a list of all the things you get to do with your free time
As I mentioned with some of the benefits I gained once quitting social media, having a list of things you want to try, learn, or what have you will make your free time far more enjoyable.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when detoxing from social media is not having a list of ideas for how they will spend their free time.
It doesn’t matter if these things are bucket list items or things you were already planning on doing. Work to create as long of a list as possible so that you never run out of ideas of things you can do.
I promise this makes it much easier!
7 // Take a smartphone detox
Doing a smartphone detox helps you reset your mind from checking your phone so much. Over time, we can create a habitual reaction that we aren’t even conscious about.
By reducing how distracting your smartphone is through a smartphone detox, you can help you mind realize that you don’t have to pick up your phone just because it is next to you.
Honestly, this detox is just as important and helpful as a social media detox, so I don’t recommend skipping it.
I’ve got all the tips you need in my smartphone detox post to successfully break these habits, so definitely check it out!
8 // Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks
I’ve been there and I know it isn’t easy. But the truth is that if social media isn’t adding value to your life, it is subtracting value from it.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that you live in alignment with what is best for you. If social media is detrimental to your life, let it go!
No one can tell you what is best for you. Only you and God know those things, so quiet the external noise and make the best decision for yourself.
I never thought I would quit social media and be okay with it, but truthfully, I wish I had done this years ago!
At one point, social media did add value to my life, but as the seasons changed, so did that value. I’m just glad that I was able to experience it and learn from it.
I’d love to continue this conversation in the comments or via email [ erin[at]thetannehillhomestead[dot]com ]. Let me know how you feel about social media and if you’d ever consider quitting it.