Why Taking a Break from Facebook Was What I Needed

facebook app

If you read my last post, you know of my life-changing epiphany. I decided to make the effort to start living more intentionally and purposefully in order to lead a life that's fuller of the things that matter and more empty of the things that don't.

One of the most immediate changes I made was the vow to take a break from Facebook. While I was thinking of an intentional use of my time, I couldn't deny that Facebook oftentimes is quite the time-suck. I mean...my tribe is there, my virtual support systems, the people I connect with most are at my fingertips, people I used to know and love watching growth, family members whom I don't see often. This was the reason I could justify spending so much time there. I NEED PEOPLE. Duh. BUT, I had to be brutally honest with myself. 90% of my time spent in the app was scrolling, hearting, laughing, liking, and random commenting. Sure I offered commiseration, solidarity, and supports to mamas and other friends who needed it...and they did the same for me, but when I consider the amount of time I spent being useful and purposeful...Facebook seemed like a complete waste of time!

Not a waste of time in a bad way, but in the literal sense of the phrase. It fills a void and time I could (should?) be doing other things, more than half the time not resulting in anything constructive or beneficial. Don't want to fold the laundry? Browse Facebook. Tired of doing homework? Read juicy mom gossip, instead--on Facebook, of course! Need to cook dinner? "Oh, I remember there was a video on Facebook of a recipe I wanted to try!" **gets lost on Facebook for fiddy-lem years and dinner is forgotten. <---this never actually happened, fyi. Just sayin'.

I don't know how bad y'all perceive this to be...but for me, whooooo boyyyy...it looks BAD! Daily, I found myself finding tons of things that needed to be done, but instead of doing them, I'd post in my mama group about all these things. I WASN'T THE ONLY ONE!! Mamas everyday were posting about hiding in the bathroom on Facebook, photos of piles of laundry and forgotten household crap are everywhere. WE ARE OBSESSED!!! I decided that enough was enough. I needed to break up with Facebook for a bit. I headed over to my account settings. I hovered over "deactivate account" for like...forever. I was nervous. I was reluctant. What was I going to miss? (Ugh, was this admitting I suffer from FOMO, too? Gosh darn millenials.) I clicked it, expected to be logged out and done. WRONG.

Let me tell ya...if you're trying to leave, it's the new-age equivalent of "Baby it's Cold Outside." Lots of mildy convincing arguments to stick around, "please don't go," popups galore, and intent to guilt trip you into still staying. You select the reason you're deactivating. Mine was something along the lines of "chill, bruh...this is a temp thing and I'll be back." Facebook then says "hey, don't ya wanna just logout instead?" I was like "ummm...nah, I am trying to regain self control, so I need to not be able to login rn." I was prompted to choose how many days to deactivate between 1-7. I chose 7. Facebook then says "but WAIT!" and pathetically shows you a lineup of your friends while letting you know "these people will really miss you." I chuckled. "If they miss me enough, they'll find alternate means of contacting me." They're trying to emotionally hold you. They're trying to tell you how much you need them! Let none of that stop you. I didn't.

So I started a one week Facebook detox.

The first two days were weird. I had been so used to picking up my phone, always looking for notifcations or something to respond to, that I absentmindedly clicked the app logo more times than I can bear to admit. Each time, I was greeted with that unfamiliar (to me) login screen...which was a jolt back to reality to remind me that being on Facebook was a no-no. By day three, I was only doing it every so often...probably three times in the course of the day. But I REAAAAALLLLY wanted to videochat with my sister and couldn't. I decided to start reading Sophie Kinsella's My (not so) Perfect Life for a book club I joined (on Facebook, of all places)...and y'all won't believe this. I finished the entire 434 page novel in 2.5 days!! I had griped so much last year about how I never had time to read with a small child, and here I was showing that I could. Who knew I only needed to prioritize my want to read books over my want to read statuses?!?!

Days five and six, I contemplated reactivating my account so many times over...for practicality reasons! In the past, I'd used Facebook to ask maintenance questions, find recommendations for local services, and get mom help. Quite a bit of that arose over the weekend. We have a squirrel in between our floors and I wanted to find out if anyone knew a place to recommend calling. I ended up just googling and calling a couple places that turned up (many of the numbers no longer working, unfortunately). HOPEFULLY this issue will soon be handled by our landlord. My husband and I also started discussing some big life changes, and I wanted to post in my mom groups asking if anyone had done some things similar. I'm so used to running to them for input on everything. Alas, I couldn't and didn't. I had promised myself seven full days off. Not there yet.

Day seven was pretty easy. I spoke with my best friend that morning and she actually told me that her cousin asked about me! She's in one of the (best) mom groups (of all TIME) that I'm in and apparently people thought something happened to me or they weren't sure if I was okay. I guess considering some of my posts in the pasts couple weeks-month about family stuff that's been going on, I could see their concern. This final day was also a breeze and nothing noteworthy occurred. I started getting antsy to go back though. I really, really missed all my people. The next morning, I awoke to texts from a couple ladies from my other mom group checking on me. NOTE TO SELF: when leaving Facebook for a bit, tell the people you care about so that they don't freak out!

In the end, taking a break from Facebook was good for me. It reminded me to keep my priorities in line and stop devoting so much time to sitting on my screen. There are so many other things I'd love to be able to do and I've proven to myself that I can do them, if I just step away a little! This being said, Facebook isn't allllll bad. There is a practical use to it that I think is beneficial: having so many contacts readily available for polling, recommendations, questions, help easing concerns. It's also the best for having supportive people around whenever you need them, and I think that's the kind of thing that could easily be taken for granted and one that doesn't really exist outside the cyber realm (for me, anyway). So, while I'm not leaving the platform, I do know that I need to be better at limit setting versus mindless scrolling. I need to exercise self control, know when enough is enough and put the phone down. Whenever I feel myself falling back into the time-suck, I'll probably be taking a one-week-reset. However many times I need to do so to get my behind in order, I'll do! To make it even easier on myself, I've deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps from my phone so that I will need to login on my computer anytime I wish to chat or catchup. I truly believe that this will be beneficial for my day-to-day levels of productivity!

I honestly encourage EVERYONE to take a week off from the social media you spend most of your time on every so often and see how clarifying it is for your life, your priorities, and how you spend your time. It'll be different, maybe a little tough, but I promise it'll be worth it!

Sincerely, Shantelle
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