I recently left social media. I signed off Instagram, deleted the app, and said goodbye – and hello to a more quiet, less distracted life. You can read about the 6 reasons why I left social media here.
Since then, I have noticed some new things happening.
Many of you shared with me that you have had the same tug in your heart, the same whispers in your ear, that intuitive feeling calling you to make a change by reducing or removing social media from your daily life. Because of that, I wanted to share with you what happened after I left social media. There can be a lot of trepidation and fear around making a shift like this in your life. So I want to “report back” from the other side, so to speak, to share at least what I have experienced so far!
Here are a few of the things that happened in the week after I left social media :
My mornings improved
I’m ALL about a good morning routine (I teach a course on it, after all!) But removing the constant distraction of social media has definitely improved the quality of my mornings.
Here are a few of the things I did on one morning this past week :
- Reese and I choreographed a dance. We made it to about 12 8-counts and I have to say, it’s pretty good.
- I baked a lemon loaf and gluten-free banana muffins.
- I pulled out puzzles and I convinced Maddix to do one with Paige – and she got really into it. Then Maddix and Reese completed another puzzle together.
- I pulled out blocks and watched Paige create a “fairy house.”
- I watched Reese read her new Babysitters Club book on the couch.
- I created a new station on Pandora for our home automation/music system called “morning worship” and put it on.
- I wrote a page in a notebook of just stream-of-conscious thinking, and had simple moment of clarity around some anxious feelings I had that morning, which I found was based on a need for control. I have never written like that before.
- I helped Reese come up with her own club – we named it The Helping Club and we brainstormed who would be in it, what everyone’s roles would be, and what they could do.
- I added to my prayer journal.
- I read a few chapters of a book.
- I did some laundry.
This all took place between 8:30 – 10 am. I know without a doubt that I typically would have spent half of that time on my phone. Probably on social media.
Also, I noticed less of hurried feeling and felt more patience with my kids. I looked at the scene of us in the kitchen – Maddix and Paige quietly and cooperatively working on a Disney Princess puzzle together , Reese with her nose in a book, me baking in the kitchen with worship music on in the background, and no screens in sight – and it was beautiful. And also, rare. I couldn’t remember the last time seeing anything like it, and couldn’t help but think “…is this real right now? Is this what I have been missing the whole time??”
I felt really present and happy.
One of my favorite authors wrote about me
In an equally awe-stuck moment, I found out that Cal Newport, author of Deep Work and Digital Minimalism (and one of my favorites) posted an article on his website about my blog post on why I left social media, which he called “an interesting essay.” Ok, so one of my favorite authors, writing about and quoting me by name , and calling my blog post an interesting essay?
My jaw literally dropped!
My blog traffic spiked and email subscribers went up
Because of that article and because of the general interest in why I would leave social from my followers, my blog traffic and page views spiked like crazy. My email list also grew by about 1,000 new subscribers in just a few days. Email and blog are my two platforms of content creation now. So it’s great to see that kind of healthy growth.
I made a giant to-do list for the home
Here’s something I have been putting off : taking inventory of what in our home needed some deep cleaning and organizing. I walked around one night with a big notebook and wrote down each thing I saw that needed to be cleaned or decluttered or reorganized. For example, ” get pod lid holder, wash window screens and tracks, label the waterbottle shelf, wash the acrylic dividers in my bathroom drawers.” It ended up being a really detailed and thorough list. Having it all written down (instead of swimming around in my head – or completely forgotten!) makes it much less overwhelming and makes me excited to tackle it.
I spent time with friends
I went on a walk with one of my best friends. We have been friends for 16 years and we have lived in the same neighborhood for the last 3 years. This was the first time we have ever been on a walk together.
I also went to a social-distanced “courtyard night” with my 4 immediate neighbors. It’s something we do periodically after we put the kids down for bed and we just hang out and talk in one of our courtyards or backyards. We hadn’t done this for a while now, and finally got together.
One of my 6 reasons why I quit social media was to use that time to nurture more of my in-person, real life relationships – many which I have let fall to the wayside as motherhood, work, and busyness took its place instead.
My phone use changed
After logging off of social media, my time “screen time” data totally changed. I went down about 75% in usage in hours. And the categories went from mostly “social media” to (yesterday’s data) : “reading & reference” 1.5 hrs, “creativity”45 min and “games” 32 min (that was Paige 😉 )
We went swimming. A lot.
Our community pool opened up, so we went swimming for about 10 hours total in a week! What I noticed most about this was not how much we were swimming as a family – but what I was doing while the kids were swimming. I wasn’t scrolling on my phone, I only took about 3 photos (one of them being the one above) and I was in the pool with them. This made me think not only from a presence perspective – but from a safety perspective having small kids.
There was a time when Paige struggling in the deeper end while she was playing with Reese and I jumped in to grab her. I saw it because I was watching them swim – not just passively watching, but WATCHING watching. Had I been on my phone, I don’t know if I would have seen that (because it happened quietly.)
Being off of social media as a parent could have a significant role in the safety of our kids.
I recognize that this is probably the “honeymoon stage” of this social media exit experience. It’s when you are acutely aware of all the good and wonderful things and it’s super exciting.
In a marriage, the honeymoon stage is a celebration of a great decision. Which is then followed by the deepening and strengthening of the relationship – through the ups and downs, the thrilling and mudane days, the challenges and the joys.
Similarly, my hope is that removing social media’s distraction will give me the space to create a deeper and stronger relationship with my life.