I Took A Month Off Social Media And This Is What I Gained
The end of 2022 left me feeling burnt out. I had nothing left to give. It was a wonderful, crazy, exciting, stressful, draining, beautiful rollercoaster of a year (PHEW) that I am so grateful for…but it was a lot! In the days after Christmas, looking toward 2023, I felt lost and exhausted. I didn’t know where I was going, what I wanted or how I was going to muster up enough energy to just do the necessities of daily life. My instinct was to turn inward, decompress and just BE. So, I did. I listened to my body and decided to take a break from the noise: stay off social media, pause my blog and focus on me and my family. It was the best decision I made all year.
If you’re a fellow blogger or creator I know the idea of shutting it all down sounds anxiety-inducing. How do you do that when your career (and income) is online? Wouldn’t you lose a ton of followers or get left behind in the rat race? Was it worth it? I’m answering all of these questions and more in this blog post about why and how I took a month off social media platforms.
Looking back on 2022 I am so proud of all that we accomplished. We moved in with my mom, bought a fixer upper, renovated and put 14,000 miles on our car going back and forth between where we were living, Olivia’s nanny and the house. We got so much amazing quality time with my mom as a result! Olivia grew by leaps and bounds. She went from just starting to walk to running this whole show, going to preschool and amazing us each day with her sweet, happy self (don’t worry, there were plenty of tantrums an attitude, too). Trent reclaimed our over-grown yard, managed the contractor handling our renovation, worked on projects throughout the house and he built a freakin’ screened-in deck! I had my best year of blogging to-date. I met my goal of doubling my income, got signed to a modeling agency…shoot, I modeled for Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line, Draper James! We finally moved into our home and after a lot of sweat and tears we were unpacked. We slowly started making our way toward being a more organized family and settling in. We decorated for the holidays, traveled and hosted love ones. Seeing the magic of Christmas through Olivia’s eyes will forever be a core memory and I would change a thing!
I’m smiling as I write this because it was SUCH a good year! But it was also incredibly stressful, hard on our bodies and minds, and I can honestly say it makes sense that I felt depleted by the end of it. Instead of fighting it I gave in. But not in a “I give up” kind of way – I just decided to lean into the overwhelming need for a break and hit “pause” on sources of outside pressure. I needed to mute the noise, rebuild and refocus.
I absolutely love social media and sharing my life on this little piece of the internet. It brings me so much joy to connect with you and build a community who chooses to empower themselves and those around them. That being said, I was feeling a lot of pressure from that part of my life. I was feeling defeated. My posts on Instagram (my bread-and-butter) were absolutely bombing, I felt like I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends and if I wasn’t connected I was failing. While the year overall was great, I had my slowest holiday season in years. As a result, I got trapped in the infamous comparison game and it was brutal to my self-confidence.
If you watch my Instagram stories then you know I was also working through some personal health stuff, which was challenging my eating disorder recovery. So being that I was in a hyper-sensitive place the last month or two of the year I didn’t really feel like I could show up as myself. It became very obvious that I had some healing to do and for the sake of my health I need to focus inward.
Taking a break from social media and my blog was an easy decision. I just did it. I didn’t announce it, didn’t overthink it…I just listened to my gut. I tuned out the noise so I could finally listen to myself.
What I GAINED from my break:
- I was able to work through my recovery challenges, understand my triggers and re-establish what works best for me when it comes to my relationship with food and exercise. You can read more about my past experiences in Punished to Empowered Part I and Part II.
- I feel grounded in who I am, what I want and what I need to let go of that no longer serves me.
- Self-confidence!!! UGH the comparison game is soooo easy to slip into and this break break was the shoulder shake I need to get out of it.
- TONS of beautiful, amazing quality time with my little love bug Olivia, Trent and our families. BE PRESENT IN YOUR LIFE! It will bring you so much joy. This continues to come up in my life and I’m finding new ways to put it into practice.
- Rest. I slept so well during this time period. After the day was done and Olivia was tucked in bed I let myself be a couch potato when I needed to just be a couch potato. If the day called for a nap I found a way to take one. Even just closing my eyes and having quiet time made a difference. I know I have the privilege of working from home, but when I was working in an office a few years ago I would take a lunch break just so I could take this quiet time in my car. You do what you gotta do!
- I reset my space after the end of year craziness and it is fresh and ready for the new year! All the laundry is caught up, I finally got my office organized and set-up properly…the list goes on. It could honestly be it’s own blog post hah!
What I DIDN’T LOSE during my break:
- Followers. I actually GAINED followers when I look at the numbers. My jaded mind automatically thinks IG & TikTok are probably just trying to lure me back in…but I’ll take it. If you ask any influencer/blogger/creator what their biggest fear of taking a break is I would bet money it will be losing followers and losing momentum. Neither of those things happened.
- Momentum. I am so excited about the content I’ll be sharing with you this year and I KNOW it will feel so much more focused and clear than if I had just pushed through my burn out. Trends come and go….there will be plenty for us to utilize when we return. (Note: I said utilize and not catch up. I’m doing my best to resist playing into the stressful rat-race mindset.)
- Inspiration. This break gave me time to get back to the core of what I’m doing and re-ignite the spark I had lost.
One thing I did want to address: income. I have a remote job that supplements my blog and social media income, so if you’re a full time self-employed girly then make sure you plan for a break so you aren’t stressed financially when you come out of it. When I was feeling the urge to press pause, I took a look at my income plan, new I had some payouts from previous brand partnerships that would be coming through during this time and that I had passive income from blog posts with strong SEO and affiliate links. Yes, I may have missed out on some initial brand deals in January by not pitching the last 4 weeks, but I knew that may be a sacrificing that going in. Just take a moment to make a plan when you need to step away so you can fully enjoy it.
This is all to say: if you’re contemplating taking a break from social media and/or your blog, if you’re heart and mind are crying out for it, please do it. You have some much to gain from a little break and the loss, if it happens at all, may very well be worth it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health below are some helpful resources:
For 24/7 suicide and crisis support call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.