Let’s Chat:: A week off social media!

Happy Monday friends! I’m back today with a new post after taking the week off to share what I learned about myself during a week off social media. A few days off Instagram and Twitter might not seem like a long time, but it was more eye opening than I had anticipated. It felt amazing and I feel so lucky that I was able to take this time off without any major consequences in my work.

So let’s chat about how it felt being a week off social media and what it did for my mental health…


A WEEK OFF SOCIAL MEDIA


Last week, I wrote about the things you should never post on Instagram and it had such a great response it put me into serious thoughts about social media and how they affect out life and behaviour (some studies claim, Instagram has even influenced the way we eat..!). As I am managing Natbee’s social media and also have a personal Instagram account, on top of working for a PR agency, I spend the majority of my time online. I research seasonal trends, I create colour palettes for upcoming photoshoots, do bloggers outreach which translates only into one thing; winding down whilst constantly bombarding my brain with images and captions is inevitable!

To get into a better headspace after some serious weeks of anxiety at work, that led to *almost* a panic attack, I had to remove myself from social media. To be honest with you, the thought of taking time away from Natbee’s and social media seriously stressed me out at first. Would we lose followers? Would Natbee’s team be mad at me? Would our sponsors judge that our pageviews went down for the week because I wasn’t producing new content?

Clearly I’m not good at taking breaks. Before I even finished my MSc thesis I sat exams to be accepted to another University to study for my second Bachelors. I have been working on two jobs since I left my parents house and I don’t know what to do with myself if there is nothing to do.

Relaxing, however, and taking time for myself was something I was (thankfully) forced to do after having anxiety attacks in the office. So last Monday I went back home, deleted the Instagram and Twitter applications from my phone and focused on reading more books, listening to music, making Youtube playlists (avoiding at all costs to watch any new vlogs), and went out with friends on multiple coffee dates.

On Thursday evening, I found myself sitting at Starbucks looking at people leaving their offices, and it all of the sudden hit me that I was so much happier spending this week off social media and the fake, online world, and focusing on the real world that was happening there, right now!

This past week definitely gave me some clarity into the damage social media can do to one’s mental state. Here are some of the lessons I learned:

Your life is awesome: Friday night I tend to spend it at home with a glass of wine in hand and the TV remote control on the other. During ad breaks I reach for my phone and check what everyone else is doing on their lives through Instagram stories, and every single time it gets me! People are out having fun, travelling to awesome places, wearing the most amazing outfits, and even though I realise Instagram is not necessarily an accurate representation of their lives, I feel that I am missing out on life. Removing myself from social media for a week made me realise that my life is awesome, and so is yours! I am healthy, I have a job, good education, my family and friends are healthy and always there for me and I have a place to stay. I can afford to spend money on brunches and eat out (mostly thanks to Natbee’s restaurant reviews) almost every weekend! So, really, is there anything I am missing out?

Learn to say no: The first thing I realised is that time wasn’t flying as quickly as I thought. BUT when you agree to go on every event and instagram every second of it and respond to comments and engage with your followers (to promote the said event), and, and….and, then time slips through your fingers like sand. Learn to say no and give your time only to the things that matter.

Be kind to myself: I haven’t taken any days off my studies since I started University back in 2007, (if you are new here I got my first Bachelors Hons in 2013, then got my Msc in 2017 and I am currently studying for my second Bachelors, all that while working full-time), so I feel like I’m worth ten years of holidays. Getting a week off social media (which totally felt like a holiday!), I focused on the important things and I realised that by being kinder to myself I was happier with what I had and more present in the moment. I attended yoga classes and even ordered buckwheat flour and vanilla flavoured protein powder to make healthy pancake breakfasts at home. There’s something magical knowing that you are taking steps to a better you and a better future. The minute I stopped comparing myself to others and stopped scrolling down my Instagram feed, I felt that I was more in control of my life!

All in all, taking a week of social media to gather myself, and focus on the things that matter in life, reseted my thoughts and my attitude. I’m starting this week feeling on top of my game and ready for whatever comes my way!

Have you ever done a social media detox? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Joanne

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18 Comments
  • Lindsay
    September 3, 2018

    I am obsessed with Instagram (And love all of your posts about Edinburgh too!). It helps me connect with others and mentally travel to places I have never been before but I totally get it that sometimes I am addictive to it!
    There is definitely room for improvement and I am hoping to manage my time online more one day!
    Thank you for sharing Joanne, I love your posts xx

    • Anastasia
      September 3, 2018

      So true, that’s exactly what I love about Instagram too! Thanks for your comment Lindsay x

    • Joanne
      September 4, 2018

      Hi Lindsay, Thank you so much for following me on Instagram, I love exploring Edinburgh and posting about it. One of the best aspects of the platform!

  • TERSEY REGAN
    September 3, 2018

    I completely agree with what others have said! I have been reading Natbee’s for years -before the madness of social media- and while I am not obsessed with Instagram, Twitter etc., I still find it shocking when I go out with friends and see them being on their phone all the time!
    I find your thoughts very interesting (even though I’m not a blogger or at the same state of life as you are with University work and a real full time job) and I think you did a fantastic job being off line for a week despite working in the social media business! I bet you were shocked to see how much free time you had in your hands, so please sometimes give yourself a break, you are doing great and have so many followers like me, that will continue to enjoy whatever you post, whenever you decide to post it!
    T.x

    • Anastasia
      September 3, 2018

      Tersey, first of let me say how much I appreciate and love that you have been reading Natbee’s all these years! I love receiving comments from people who have been exploring life in the UK with me all these years! Secondly, You are so right about what Joanne said, it is shocking sometimes to see how much time we spend online answering comments (the irony, hehe), posting on Instagram, editing pictures etc. I think it is really important we all do our effort and spend more time with the people around us, rather the people online far away from us 😉
      Thank you xx

    • Joanne
      September 4, 2018

      Thank you Tersey! I think I realised how much in need I was of this break once I came back to focusing in my breathing, on the meaning behind the story of the book I was reading and other things that I would normally not even notice…

  • VIRGINIA
    September 3, 2018

    I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but I just wanted to add a component that I don’t think has been shared yet. I understand what you’re saying about your career adding to this social media pressure you feel to be perfect and post all the time, but I want to point out that I feel like a lot of that pressure you’re feeling is self-imposed, and the same goes with other bloggers too!
    You spend a lot of time online, comparing yourselves to others and then run around like headless chickens complaining that you work ‘so hard’ and there is no time left to do anything!Above, you talked above about how you never took days off since you started studying and that taking a week off social media was eye-opening and it makes me wonder how did you not think of it before? How did you not think that social media is the thief of joy and that you wouldn’t have panic or anxiety attacks if you would have removed yourself from all this earlier?!
    If I was you, I would feel so happy just to have all the things you mentioned-a house, friends, to be healthy, regardless of how many likes my latest Instagram post received or how many blog posts I wrote. So I think what would make you feel a lot better is focusing on how lucky and privileged you are to have all that you have, rather than what you feel you don’t have or can’t do because of the social media comparisons!

    • Anastasia
      September 3, 2018

      Hi Virginia, thank you for sharing all these interesting thoughts with us.
      I understand what you say about bloggers and influencers about how they are online most of the time and then they ‘complain’ they have no free time. BUT, as some people go in their office to work, similarly, bloggers go online to work! In a way, this digital world is their working environment so they are forced to be online, as much as an office worker is forced to sit on their desk! I don’t think that Joanne was complaining and I strongly believe her writing voice is very humble and down to Earth, she is always honest in her writing essays about life and struggles..the good, the bad and the ugly! As this is not my post I don’t want to add anything else but I am hoping Joanne will read your comment and add anything she has to say soon…
      Best,
      Anastasia

    • Joanne
      September 4, 2018

      Hi Virginia and thank you for your comment. I think you misunderstood my article and I am more than happy to help or discuss further, I never claimed to be a headless chicken and I am sure none of the bloggers in my circles is, despite the fact that they are all very hard working. I merely pointed out how good it was to do a social media detox and how much it made me happier. I do not consider myself priviliged but thank you for thinking I am one; I still work and study and like I said I have NEVER taken a holiday since I started school, so I really don’t get you here…
      I agree what would make me feel better is remove myself from the toxic online world, but like I said, this is my job so for the time being I don’t have much of an option-other than having a few digital detoxes here and there.
      Thank you once again and I hope this solves things…

  • Freja
    September 3, 2018

    I am so sorry to hear that you almost had a panic attack. Social media can be so stressing and taking a break once in a while can be necessary. I can see why you were worried about losing followers but I think that you made the right decision when you decided to take a break. After all your readers want you to feel your best and if that means taking a break that is what you have to do. I think that the things that you learned while taking a break is so interesting and I must say that I am impressed by the fact that you are studying a bachelor while working a full-time job. I can totally relate to the feeling of sitting home while watching all the cool stuff everyone else is doing on social media but as you said yourself: Instagram isn’t an accurate representation of peoples real life. Also, I just want to say that I just found your blog and I am obsessed. I have been looking around here for an hour or something and I am so inspired!

    http://whatmakesmesmileblog.com/

    • Anastasia
      September 4, 2018

      Thank you Freja for your kind words, I love it when people read Natbee’s and like our content as we put so much effort into it. Thank you x

    • Joanne
      September 4, 2018

      Thank you Freja! Unfortunately at the moment I cannot stop working in the agency or stop studying so I will try to do everything but be a bit more considerate about my health. Thanks for your comment x

  • Liz
    September 4, 2018

    We’ve become so accustomed to it! Now I try to majorly reduce my passive social media time. So much time wasted just absentmindedly scrolling on Facebook and it’s not good for our mental health. Self care is SO important. We find it hard to stop sometimes as there is so much that needs to be done but pausing or doing things to look after ourselves ARE things that need to be done. It’s great you took that time out and felt the benefit x

    • Anastasia
      September 4, 2018

      You are so right Liz! These are the things that matter the most rather than the Instagram likes! So happy you liked Joanne’s article xx

    • Joanne
      September 4, 2018

      I feel you! I used to waste hours and hours per day focusing on what others did than what I was doing! No more anymore!x

  • Kelsey Bang
    September 9, 2018

    this is great advice! I turn my phone off by 8pm and it really helps me! I am not super great at doing it all the time, but when I do it helps!
    kelseybang.com
    4allthingsdisney.com

  • Kinga K
    September 10, 2018

    Very cool post ❤

    • Anastasia
      September 11, 2018

      Thank you Kinga I am so glad you liked it!