Last year, toward the start of COVID, I did something crazy: I crawled further into my quarantine cave and took a social media break. Not only was I not seeing friend regularly in-real-life (no IRL hangs for me!), I was also not seeing friends on social media. To be honest? It was the most refreshing break, and I can’t wait to tell you about it today, perhaps to inspire your own social media break.
The Rise of Instagram During COVID
Here’s how it went: Quarantine started in March – we were all told to stay home and see no one. So what did we do? We pulled out our phones. We spent more time on social than ever before. At first, it was great. We’d never felt so grateful for the internet to keep us connected, right?
Well, after a while, it became too much. While there was still inspiring and meaningful content on the ‘gram, what it mostly felt like (at least to me) was that Instagram was the place to go and shout at the top of your internet-thumbs. I started to feel like people were no longer having conversations with the people in their life, but were hopping online to share strong opinion posts. And while that’s not bad, it was opinion-overload for me.
I wanted to slow down, come back to myself, learn quietly and have deep, meaningful conversations with the people in my life. In order to do that, I needed to quiet the outside world.
At the same time, I had just found out I was pregnant, which meant I wanted to sleep ALL the time. Those first-trimester-tired’s are no joke. I would wake up around 6:30, eat, run/walk with Abby, come home and shower, and go back to bed until my first client, nap between clients, and go to bed early. I *needed* all of my downtime to nap, not to scroll. I also wanted to have a very calm pregnancy. Logging off IG seemed like it would help.
My Time Off Social Media
At first, I vowed to take two weeks off the ‘gram. I worried it would be bad for business (“How many of my clients find me through Instagram?” I thought), but decided that two weeks was short enough that if it were doing damage, at least it wouldn’t be too much damage.
The First Two Weeks
My first two weeks off-the-social-line were bliss. I deleted the app from my phone, so the temptation was completely removed. I’d wake up, pour a cup of (decaf) coffee, turn on worship music and sit down for quiet time. Picture this: a candle lit, soft music playing, my Bible open, devotional, prayer time, and journalling.
I’d finish my quiet time then open up a blank doc on my computer and start writing. I vowed that if I was going to take a break from creating content for Instagram, I would experiment with what creative content I could come up with for my blog and emails (you can sign-up for those weekly emails of encouragement at the bottom of this post). I ended up writing some of the most fun pieces (this was when I talked about “the story of NOT waking up at 5 AM“).
After writing I’d get ready for a run with Abby, plug in my headphones and my favorite “today’s hits” playlist, and take off. With my soul filled from quiet time, my creativity firing from writing, and the endorphins pumping from running, this felt like a GREAT start to the day. I was loving the offline life.
I’d come in the door from my run, drink a glass of cold water and sit outside with Abby overlooking the vineyard (we were living on a friends vineyard at the time) to cool down. SO refreshing. Once we cooled off I’d head inside to shower and get dressed for the day, then make breakfast.
The Joy in Taking a Social Media Break
It was a JOY. At the start of my workday I’d already done so much for myself, and because I wasn’t on Instagram I had exactly zero thoughts of comparison, lack, or any other feelings that come with a scroll through IG. I was FILLED. Going into my workday from that place, I felt amazing pouring into my clients.
Continuing the workday, I’d take a nap if I needed one between sessions, and rest in my downtime. At the end of the day, I’d close up shop, put everything away, make dinner and read a book or watch a favorite show. Often, Abby and I would stroll around the vineyard. It was the be way to decompress after a long time.
The best part of taking my social media break was the JOY that came with it. Instead of scrolling, I rested and cared for myself. Rather than relying on social to hear what my friends were up to, I called them. Without feeling exhaustion from NOT taking the time to rest (by scrolling instead), I felt continuously refreshed.
How did I start? How did it stretch to three full months offline?
I started by posting to my feed that I’d be gone for two weeks. Because I own an online Intuitive Eating Coaching business, I had my assistant Abigail manage my DM’s. She would let anyone who messaged me know they could email me if they wanted to get in touch.
Once those first two weeks passed, I wanted to keep it going. I had Abigail update the date in my caption to two more weeks out. And two more weeks. And two more weeks. All the way up until I hit a total Instagram break of THREE months. Have I told you yet how good that felt?
I did this by only committing to two weeks at a time. After the two weeks were up, I’d ask myself “Do I feel ready to hop back online?” and if the answer was “no” I’d continue to stay off another two weeks.
How My Business Managed the Break
As worried as I felt that being of Instagram would have a negative impact on my business, it didn’t. In fact, there was a period of time where I was starting with MORE new clients than before. I wondered why and ran it by a friend in marketing. She shared “I think it’s because you teach so much on Instagram, people feel like they’re getting what they need from you there. Now, they’re missing that side of you so they’re signing-up with you for coaching.” Whether that is true or not, even amidst the crisis-of-COVID, my business stayed strong through this break.
If you feel worried that taking a social media break will impact your business, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is there someone I can pay to post the content live for me? (You’d plan, they’d post)
- Is there someone who can manage my DM’s and direct people to email me?
- Can I start with a small break – like 3-days – to test run how this will impact my business?
- If I’m off Instagram, how might my business or creative energy IMPROVE?
- What else might be possible for me and my business, if I were to take an Instagram break?
Ready to take your own break?
Here’s a short list to get you started:
- Decide what date your break will start and how long you will commit to taking a break
- Share a post in your feed saying you’re going to be hanging out IRL and offline for a bit
- In the caption, write the date you plan to return (you can always have someone adjust this for you if you decide to go longer!)
- If you need to have someone manage your DM’s, set that up
- ENJOY the time you’ve committed to offline, delete the app from your phone, and use this time as a way to disengage from your phone all together (try leaving it in another room for chunks of time!)
- Decide what you’ll do instead, with all of the energy that will be freed up from this break:
- Will you rest more?
- Read more?
- Wake up early to have creative/quiet time?
- Will you be more present with your kids?
- More intimate with your spouse?
- How will you shift your energy in your business, if you have one?
Get intentional about this time and VOW to make it the best it can be.
My belief? You’re going to LOVE this time offline.
Get even more on the podcast
If you want to hear the full story of my Instagram break, and if you enjoy listening to podcasts, make sure to check out this weeks episode where I talk all about The Joy of Taking a Social Media Break (episode #24 on the Aligned with Paige Schmidt Podcast). Listen on Apple, Spotify, or Google.
If you listen and love it, will you text the episode to a friend who could use it? (Maybe even invite a friend to take a break with you?)
Send me an email if you choose to take your own IG break, I’d love to hear how it benefits you!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I’ll see you back here next week with more on stepping into the YOU, you want to become. If you’d like even more encouragement and coaching, be sure to pop on over to join us in Aligned Coaching – THE coaching program that will support you in becoming the YOU you want to become (you, fully aligned).