What's Great (and Hard) about Leaving Social Media... And Why I Came Back

pssssst-- I wrote an article about "What Happens When You Leave Social Media" for EverydayExiles.com -- it's different than what you'll read here, but I'd love for you to join me there too! 

Back in April, I decided to sign off of social media for good for a while. I signed out of my accounts, deleted the apps, and disconnected. It was a long time coming, the pressure had been building, I felt off-balance and overwhelmed, and I just knew I needed a hard reset.

I recently just started tiptoeing back onto the apps again, and I wanted to share a bit more of my experience these last few weeks in case you, like me, find social media to just be a LOT to handle sometimes.

Here are my thoughts about leaving social media:

What's great:

  • Free time!
  • Room for my brain to breathe and think and dream!
  • Actually paying attention to things in the world around me!
  • Feeling more creative!
  • Reading more books!
  • Less noise, more silence!
  • Less distractions!
  • My phone battery lasts for ages!
  • Engaging with what my heart is feeling!
  • Processing things without feeling the need to publish everything!
  • Being fully present!
  • More original ideas instead of just ideas prompted by things I'm seeing online!

What's hard:

  • Staying up to date on current events.
  • Missing out on what friends are up to.
  • Feeling disconnected.
  • Not knowing what greater conversations are going on in the world.
  • Missing baby announcements, engagement announcements, etc.
  • Not having a cohesive record of your life online. (I print my Instagrams to Chatbooks which are AMAZING, so I love having that record, and have missed that.)

Why I decided to come back:

  • I missed the connection of my online community.
  • I missed sharing thoughts about my life, and hopefully sharing encouragement.
  • I missed my blogger friends and being able to keep in touch.
  • I miss being part of the conversations happening online.
  • I missed staying aware and up-to-date on current events on Twitter.
  • I genuinely enjoy taking photos to share on Instagram.
  • I want to have the record of my life all in one place, especially for the sake of my printed Chatbooks.
  • I like being able to comment on others' posts and cheer people on.
  • There was a lot of info (especially about upcoming events and things happening in my church/city) that I missed -- many things are only promoted on Facebook, and I missed quite a few things I just didn't have a way to know about otherwise.
  • I've set better limits for myself when it comes to my online engagement -- keeping all notifications off, keeping do not disturb on from 8 pm to 8 am so I'm not on my apps then, not checking my phone in the mornings so I can read/have my quiet time without distractions, turning cellular data off so I can only use my apps when I have wifi at home/work, not having the Facebook app on my phone at all, purging my following lists even further, unfollowing brands and businesses trying to sell me things, unfollowing people who aren't encouraging or uplifting, etc.
  • I just plain missed it. (Or, most of it, anyway.)

What are your best tips for balancing online and offline life? Have you ever totally detoxed from social media?