My 7-Day Break from Social Media

I never considered myself to be a big social media person.

That’s important. Because everything I’m about to share with you is coming from someone who’s not a scroller, and whose primary purpose for social media is in promoting my business.

So when I decided to take a 7-day Social Media Vacation, I didn’t think that I would see too much of a change. I was doing it more to support the youth that I work with in their own endeavor to take a “7-day break from fake.”

To prepare myself for my fast from social media I took the following two steps:

  1. I removed all social media apps from my phone.
  2. I made a list of things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time for. After all, if I’m taking a “vacation” from social media, I figured I should have some fun things to look forward to. They included getting my hair colored (finally!), finishing a book, completing a course, and making cake batter ice-cream with the kids.

Then, I posted that I’d be away for a week, deleted Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook from my phone (I’m not a Snapchat or Twitter person) and my vacation began. I actually almost didn’t delete them since I figured it was going to be such a hassle remembering my passwords when I went to reinstall them. But ultimately I decided I should do this thoroughly. So off they went.

On day one, I was already glad I had deleted the apps because I caught myself mindlessly going to where that little Instagram square is usually waiting for me. That was close. I almost cheated in less than 12 hours without even realizing I was doing it.

As the days went on, I noticed significant changes in how I felt, what I was accomplishing, and in my relationship with my kiddos and my hubby.

Life felt easier!

I couldn’t believe it. Was this really because I wasn’t on social media?

As my “vacation week” came to an end, possibly the most surprising reaction of all was the dread I began to feel toward jumping back into social media.

I felt happier, more engaged in my life, and more inspired. I didn’t want to risk losing that!

Social media can be a gift. I’ve seen/experienced it connect old friends, faraway family, and help us get the word out when someone needs support.  Social media has in many ways connected us and helped us become a global community—that’s incredible!

But in all the “community” that’s been built, are we losing connection with the people who stand in the same rooms we do?

Are we acting for ourselves? Are we sure about that?

When my 7 days came to an end, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t jump back in yet. I needed to form a plan and better understand everything I was learning about myself. So I extended my vacation one more week and then another week after that.

In the end, I learned that social media comes at a cost and that it’s a cost we may not even realize we are paying.

Walking away from social media for a time was eye-opening. I was more connected and engaged in my life, more productive, and I was happier!

During my Social Media Vacation, I read and/or finished 4 books, colored my hair, called and talked to old friends, had more meaningful conversations with my kids, and got fresh inspiration that formed clear action steps (that I even had time to start on) for two major projects I’ve been playing around with for months.

When is the last time a vacation did all of that? For me… never.

It’s been 4 months since that vacation and the way I approach social media is forever changed. I want to fill my life with things that encourage, support, and inspire me to live with more joy! This meant taking a serious look at social media and where or how my feed fits in.

Leah Stimmel
P.S. The inspiration for The 7-Day Social Media Detox came from a devotional by President Russell M. Nelson, who challenged all youth from 12 to 18 to take a 7-day “break from the fake”

P.P.S. Since my initial Social Media Vacation, a dear friend and I co-created The Social Media Detox, a website dedicated to studying the effects of Social Media and how to better balance our approach with our Social Squares.