I Quit Social Media for a Weekend—Here’s What I Learned

I’m addicted to social media. There, I said it. And I know I’m not the only one.

As much as I love to scroll Instagram and see what everyone is up to (real friends and strangers alike), I told myself I’d curb my addiction by the time my baby was born. I wouldn’t be one of those moms who was always on her phone.

Then, my baby was born, and my social media consumption didn’t slow down. If anything, I found myself mindlessly scrolling more than ever before. I was spending hours breastfeeding or stuck on the couch with a sleeping baby on my chest that I wouldn’t dare move and wake up. With my phone as the only quiet item within reach, I’d pass the time scrolling.

During the infant stage, I could get away with being on my phone and my baby not noticing. Now my baby isn’t a newborn, and she definitely notices my phone. At 6 months, she’s still young, but there’s no doubt that she sees the phone and she wants it. She’s starting to crawl and will put all of her effort into crawling towards my phone before I lift it beyond her reach.

It’s important to me to set a good example for my daughter. I don’t want her addicted to screens, too focused on what’s happening in a phone instead of what’s happening in her world. I want to live in the present and appreciate what’s happening in my life, and I want her to do the same.

By constantly scrolling social media not only do we miss the small moments happening around us, we see other people’s highlight reel and can get stuck in a comparison trap. The combination of these two things is enough to want to quit social media altogether.

 

It’s important to me to set a good example for my daughter. I don’t want her addicted to screens, too focused on what’s happening in a phone instead of what’s happening in her world. I want to live in the present and appreciate what’s happening in my life, and I want her to do the same.

 

I made the promise to myself that I’d cut back on social media when she was born, and I let that goal slide. But now it’s really time to take action.

If you’re like me, tapping the Instagram app is like a subconscious act. I open my phone and my finger clicks the icon before I even realize what I’m doing. And then I start scrolling and barely pay attention to the content.

I wanted to break this pattern and challenged myself to stay off of social media for a weekend. I’d love to say the title of this story is: I quit social media for a month. Or even a week. But I am who I am, and a weekend was a good starting point.

 

Source: @hikarimurakami via #sharetheeverymom

 

Honestly, getting off of social media wasn’t so hard. In fact, it was a relief to have the apps closed and know that I couldn’t open them. I became more focused on whatever I was doing instead of lending a portion of my attention to my phone. I was more engaged in conversations, and I even finished the book I’d been reading (the time suck of scrolling before bed is real!).

Here are the five lessons I learned from my social media-less weekend and where I’m going from here.

 

1. There will always be endless content

I could spend all day scrolling through posts and stories and never get to the end. There truly is an endless amount of content to consume, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or blogs. Remember this and don’t feel like you’re missing out on something important if you aren’t scrolling. Seek out the content that you care about, follow the people that inspire you, and leave the rest behind.

 

2. It’s helpful to set limits

I found myself checking social media first thing in the morning, various moments throughout the day, and then for way too long at night when I should have been sleeping. This was not serving me. By checking feeds in the morning, it started my day focused on other people, not myself. I realized that I needed to cut social media out of my mornings, as well as many of the unnecessary check-ins throughout the day.

We’re so used to having our phones at our fingertips that whenever we have a moment of quiet or stillness, we scroll. Sometimes it’s nice to sit in the quietness.

I set a one-hour time limit for social media apps (which you can do on your iPhone by clicking Settings>Screen Time>App Limits). An hour is still a lot of time, but it’s a great place to start.

 

3. Cultivate your community to maintain balance

I’ve focused a lot on the negatives of social media. But there is also a positive side. I’ve found a really supportive and wonderful community of women on Instagramsome that have even become friends in real life. It’s a great way to connect with and get advice from other moms, to learn new things, and to broaden your horizons. Make sure you focus on a community that helps you grow and makes you feel good.

 

4. It’s important to connect beyond the apps

I live far from many of my friends, and social media is a simple way to feel connected. It’s easy to feel like we’re up-to-date on our friend’s lives when we see their updates on social media. And while it’s nice to feel connected in that way, it’s even better to actually check in with your friends and truly connect.

 

Source: @josephineacreativelife via #sharetheeverymom

 

5. Lead by example

My daughter is still very interested in my phone. It is a bright and shiny object after all. And one weekend of limited social media didn’t change that. But I do know that, over time, this will impact my daughter. There are so many rules around screen time for our children; how can we expect them to stay off screens if we’re so stuck in ours?

I also would never want my daughter to think whatever is happening on my phone is more important than what she is doing or saying. Because of this, my motivation is high to step away from my phone and lead with a good example.

 

Even though I only gave up social media for a weekend, it is a step in the right direction. My mini-hiatus reminded me to focus on living my own life instead of observing the lives of other people online. While watching other people live their lives, I’m not fully living mine. I’m not paying attention to the fresh air, the bright blue sky, the conversations around me, or the sweet giggles from my baby girl.

By stepping away from social media, I was able to put all my energy into living in the moment, not thinking about capturing it for my story, or losing focus because I was curious what other people were doing.

I still love social media and how it helps us feel connected. But I also know there are necessary limits to maintaining a healthy relationship with it. I look forward to implementing a healthier relationship with social media, making sure it doesn’t get in the way of living and enjoying my real life.

 

Read More: 5 Ways to Create Healthy Social Media Boundaries

 

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