What I Learned In A Month-Long Social Media Fast: A Year Of Letting Go
At the start of 2022 I, like many others, took a look at the year ahead and tried to narrow my focus on setting a specific intention. I wasn’t worried about what I had achieved or what I had yet to accomplish but rather the direction I wanted to go.
For me, I wanted this year to be all about breaking away from what was hindering me and breaking through to new levels of my personal and professional life. Simply put, I wanted to get unstuck and since breakthroughs don’t just “happen” to most of us, I knew I needed to take action.
So, to support this shift towards something new, I decided to let go and fast from something different each month in order to interrupt my daily patterns and reveal anything that might be holding me back.
I wanted to turn off auto-pilot, be more aware of my motivations and my hope was that by removing something I was leaning on too heavily, I would get a new perspective on changes I could implement in key areas of my life.
To be clear, the purpose behind each month’s fast was not to deprive myself or to make some big sacrifice to force a desired result.
It wasn’t a new diet or publicity stunt to gain a few followers. Rather, it was to make simple changes that would lead to a bigger impact on my overall health and well-being.
In a world where hustle culture screams we take massive action, I knew there had to be a way to make change a gentle and healing process – and that’s exactly what happened.
The Social Media Fast
Even though I didn’t consider myself much of a scroller, I knew social media would pop up at some point during this year of letting go.
But if it really wasn’t a struggle, then why was I hesitating when it came time to hit “delete?”
While I don’t often connect social media to my identity as a person, I DO use it heavily to support my business.
I took some time to do some soul searching and I realized that I was nervous about stepping away out of fear of missing out on some unknown potential client.
Now, I am NOT about to live and work out of fear, so I knew I had to let go right away.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything profound after I hit submit on my “BRB IG” post letting my community know I was off for the month and how to reach me.
Maybe I would get a bit more time here and there but after all, since I felt “nobody” was seeing my posts thanks to Mr. Algorithm (I call him Al for short), I assumed this social media fast probably wouldn’t make a difference in the end.
Oh, how wrong I was!
Here are a few things I learned when I took a month long social media break
Being more present wasn’t an immediate reaction
Admittedly, I wasn’t instantly more present when deleting my social apps. It took a few days to detox but when I did, it was wonderful. I was able to breathe deeper, get a little more rest in between tasks and be more present in all the ways.
My eyes opened more toward what could be coming my way rather than opportunities I might have missed with a well-timed post or story.
Getting out of the habit of reaching for my phone – even to snap a picture for a later post – allowed me to really see what was in front of me and enjoy the fullness of the moment.
Social media isn’t the only avenue for growth in business
I started the month afraid of missing out on business connections but during my online absence, I celebrated booking my biggest client to date, I created a new program that brings me JOY to offer my community and I brought on a new team member to get the support I needed for the rapid growth.
Because my hands weren’t gripped so tight on what I thought should be the next step, I was ready to receive unexpected opportunities with open arms.
More people see your posts than you think
When I posted about my hiatus, friends and family quickly reached out to make sure I was ok.
Was I being bullied? Was I burnt out or drowning in comparison? I was happy to report this was simply a release rather than a cry for help.
My intention with taking a break wasn’t a test to see how many people truly cared but it became evident that our virtual communities do keep us in the circles with our favorite people.
A social media fast wasn’t life-altering but it was great
Hitting pause on my social media accounts didn’t feel like the huge weight lift I anticipated. You’ve likely seen examples of influencers taking social media breaks and or leaving altogether and if you’re like me, it seemed to result in an all-or-nothing approach.
And if you are also someone who participates on social platforms to build community, create content and grow or be present for your business, you know it can feel like a job at times.
I incorrectly assumed that stepping away would leave a gaping hole in my day.
What I realized was that I had been trying to shove it into pockets of time meant for other tasks so I felt like I was on it all day long.
By removing this task from my stack of multi-tasking, I was able to concentrate better and get other projects done more efficiently.
True community on social media is alive and well
I was shocked at how people continued to reach out during the month saying they noticed my absence and were used to seeing my family and me in my regular posts. When would I come back? Am I gone forever? How are my kids doing? Was I sure I was ok?
The consistent check-ins led me to evaluate how I connect with friends on and offline and solidified my desire to return back to social media after the month ended, but this time with more intentional content.
Have you considered or been nervous about taking time off social media?
I encourage you to examine why that feels so scary and then do a social media fast anyway! I am thankful to come back refreshed, refocused, and realigned and you deserve to have that, too.