Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go off social media for a week?
Are you guilty of checking into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or all three several times a day, or hour even?
I hold my hands up – I’m guilty of this.
Last Friday I jetted off to sunny Corfu and for the first time in 12 years I came off social media for my entire holiday.
Social media is a big part of my job as a journalist, something I use in my business and it’s how I built up a successful pet blog which started as a hobby then kind of evolved into a business.
So switching it off for a week was a bit daunting.
There is actually a thing called ’nomophobia’ and it’s where you have an irrational fear of being without your mobile phone.
Again, I think I am a little bit guilty of this too.
But I quit anyway and this is what happened when I had a week off social media:
I was much more relaxed
Reading a book on the beach is way better for you than staring at a phone. I immersed myself in some Jane Fallon chick lit (nothing high brow for me!) and ignored the world for a few days.
I also read Brene Brown The Gifts of Imperfection which is a brilliant business and personal development book. Bye Imposter Syndrome!
I felt less anxious
Do you find you predict drama when you see a post on Facebook or send an e mail? I get around 300 e mails a day.
Mainly stuff from PRs about subjects I have never covered like nappies.
But I also get messages about mundane things like whether our landlord is willing to clear the garden waste bags (we paid to have the garden cleared) or not.
Instead, I checked my e mail twice a day, in the morning and the evening and let stupid annoying things go.
I appreciated the surroundings
Admittedly I did spend half the week in a water park, but for the first part we were in a little place called Glyfada which is one of those lovely beach resorts you stumble across when you explore an island.
We hired an apartment there for the first three nights, and by day there was lots of people watching to enjoy, and I went swimming and saw hundreds of different types of fish.
Another day we went to Canal D’amour beach which was just stunning, and we visited Kassiopi harbour and had a wander around the shops, again, without staring at my phone once.
I was more present with the people I was with
It really annoys Tommy that I’m on my phone so much. Admittedly a lot of it is work, but still, he sees how stressed I get and that I struggle to switch off.
We were away with his two daughters and it was good to be able to chuck myself down waterslides and have a laugh with them.
So what did I learn in my week off social media?
No-one died, my business didn’t go under and the world didn’t end because I left social media alone and barely used my phone for a week.
Before I went, I told my Facebook group I was taking a break for a week, and scheduled one post about an awareness day.
When I checked my page when I returned, one lovely lady had told me off for working on my hols!
I learned that having a break and being in the moment really is good for the soul and I came back brimming with ideas.
Not having notifications did wonders for my stress levels. I have worked really hard this year trying to build up a coaching business and I needed a proper rest.
I’ve put my social media apps into one folder on my home screen and it means you don’t go on them as much.
And I’ve stopped scrolling mindlessly and am trying to check e mails at set times in the day rather than opening every one as it drops.
Should you take a week off social media?
Oh my God yes! As well as the benefits I’ve listed, I feel like people in my network have kind of given me their approval to have a break.
Since coming home I’ve seen a few other people post on social media asking whether they should take time off and I’ve told them absolutely.
I’ve had more engagement on my posts since returning too.
Being self employed is tough, and you feel like you always need to be ‘on.’
Even after 13 years I felt like my business would suffer if I wasn’t.
It’s not like you can hand over your work to anyone else or just sack it off like when you have a job.
But I can honestly say that giving myself permission to have a break has been the best thing I have done for a long time, and if you’re thinking of doing the same, go for it!
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