8 Important Lessons from a Month off Social Media

In the beginning of January, I was wiped.

I’ll talk more in the future about the burn-out I experienced this year. As for now, I’ll say that it wasn’t pretty. The New Year started and I was not in an awesome place. Something needed to change.

While watching Hannah Brencher’s Year of The Book course, I was taking deep inventory of my own life when it comes to writing. She talks about writing “crappy words” in order to get to the good ones. She also spoke about the distraction that social media can be.

That’s when I got an idea…

Why not work on both those areas at the same time? 

I figured that if I took the hour (if not more) I spent on social media every day and put it into writing more, I would probably be able to write a whole lot more words. Maybe some of them would even be good!

So I signed off for the month, created a document, and let life happen.

Confession 1: I didn’t hit my word count. Confession 2: that didn’t really matter.

What I found in the challenge was that writing more was the true goal. It was still the most words I’d written in 1 month (around 18,000) and still benefitted me as a person and writer. Most importantly, digging into writing this last month has been a huge part of my healing and self-discovery.

God has been using this tool to transform me into the kind of woman I want to be: kinder (to myself especially), more disciplined, more confident and strong, less noisy, and a woman with a clearer vision and purpose.

This has been worth it. 

Now I want to invite you back into my life after this time away – starting off by sharing what I learned from this month.

8 Important Lessons from a Month off Social Media

1. If something is not bringing you joy (or is distracting your from chasing your dreams), you have the ability to say no.

This is so much bigger than social media. We have more power over our lives than we realize. Rather than spending time complaining or feeling trapped, we can actually change. I’ve made the excuse for a long time that I can’t go off of social media because of running my own business. While that is partially true, the occasional unplug and reset are totally accessible.

Take ownership of your life. Don’t let yourself be dictated by negative things that you can actually control.

2. You won’t miss as much as you think you will.

Okay, yes, I did almost forget about one friend’s birthday party and totally forgot another. And yes, I did get back on and go, “OMG so&so got engaged/had their baby/is doing a new cool thing!” But those were about 5 instances from an entire month.

The reality is that I felt more connected to the people that mattered. I celebrated the engagements of 2 friends in person this month. We spent lots of time with people face to face. I started getting a little better at texting people back (one of my weaknesses). I couldn’t rely on social stalking – I had to actually be a friend.

3. Travel because you love it, not because it makes you look cool on social.

We spent a fun week in January going to Texas and Florida. We did a 2-day HeartSync training at Gold Monarch Healing Center, got business coaching and shot content for Hello Lindsay Joy, and surprised/captured the proposal of one of my best friends. It was different not engaging on social while traveling, especially with so many cool, insta-worthy moments.

It made me heart check – what do I love about travel? Does it just make me feel cool on the internet? Or do I actually become a better person through the process of putting myself in new situations and cities? This was just for me. That was enough.

4. Comparison is a sneaky beast. Fight back.

I didn’t realize I had a problem with comparison until I went off social. While working on lots of soul searching and rebranding, I kept being tempted in to look up social profiles as “research.” What is everyone else doing? What do I like and dislike? How did they get so many followers? Do I need to change how I present myself?

The time off social media gave me room to analyze my behaviors. What I found felt icky. I saw that there were some major comparison issues hanging around my heart. While I don’t have all the answers on how to fight the beast, I learned 3 tools:

  1. If you’re looking at others and starting to feel bad about yourself, exit out of the tab/app and take some time to dig into your feelings.
  2. Process through those feelings and the truth you know if your head. On paper, out loud, internally. Whatever. Just keep pushing through.
  3. Remind yourself of your worth and identity. Know who you are and stick to that. It doesn’t have to look like everyone else.

5. Social media isn’t evil. It’s simply a tool. We determine it’s purpose.

As I soul searched, I kept asking myself: what is the point of posting? What are you trying to do here? What do you not want to do?

I tend to underestimate my impact. Stepping back reminded me that I do have a unique voice that resonates with the right people. Hopefully that leads to improved lives. No matter if it’s big and small, we shouldn’t underestimate the power we wield with our thumbs.

I got a message from a girl whose parents are going through a divorce. She said that she remembered me talking about my family’s story and was encouraged by digging through old posts. Those “me too” moments are what has me coming back online. Someone needs what I have to say. (P.S. Someone needs what you have to say too!)

6. You don’t have to take the fastest route. You can choose scenic if you want.

I was nervous about going off of social because of the way algorithms work, they reward people who frequently post and engage. To say “peace out” for a month makes it harder to regain traction upon returning. I had to ask myself: what is more important – growing a big social media following or having a rested body, mind, heart, and spirit? I chose the 2nd, knowing it might set me back.

It’s okay to go slow. It’s okay to value yourself above your business. One month is not going to ruin you forever. There’s time to catch up. You can choose to go slow in your life – for a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade. That doesn’t mean it’s forever. Or it can be. Your choice.

7. God actually does provide when we rest.

I sensed the nudge on my heart in June to slow down and trust God. In the midst of busy season, God was trying to tell me to rest and let him carry things. I politely declined the invitation because I did not trust him.

January came and my rest could not be delayed any longer. Do you know what happened?

My business had a great month in sales. Caleb said this is the most alive and me-like he’s seen me in 6+ months. It was a win-win. Finally, I wasn’t trying to keep everything together on my own strength, but was forced to rely on God. The results? A healthier Olivia who still has money in her bank account.

8. Sitting down to create is 90% of the battle.

The removal of the distraction of social media was for the purpose of sitting down and writing more. It worked. I found myself showing up. Sometimes, I’d write about not knowing what to write about. Eventually, words came out that needed space in the world. Not everyone needed to see it, but I needed to say it.

This month taught me to just stop the excuses, show up, and make something.

 …

Now that I’ve shared, it’s your turn:

Do you want to unplug?

What’s stopping you? Have you done a social media detox before? What did YOU learn?

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