Blog Post

How I Took A One Month Break From Social Media

You know that feeling don’t you? That empty feeling you get when you’ve been mindlessly scrolling social media for 30 minutes. 

Of having just lost a half-hour doing something that has left you feeling unfulfilled. Probably inadequate too, thanks to ‘comparisonitis’.

You don’t even know how it happened – you’d only hopped onto your social media platform to see how many ‘likes’ you had on the recently uploaded photo of your dog.

The subject often comes up – unplugging completely for a day or week. But then real life comes in and challenges us.

How do you fit in a media break, when so much of what you do is reliant on using said technology to earn a living, keep in touch or just switch off?

I decided to take a one month break from social media to see how it would impact my life.

Social media has given us so much – access to information and different views, the ability to connect with people, keeping in touch with family across the world, the opportunity to express oneself creatively, to name but a few.

However, we’re seeing how disruptive it can be in our (and our children’s) lives more and more. There are growing bodies of evidence indicating how it contributes to:

  • Poor mental health – a 2017 study among teens in Ontario showed a significant association between increased social media use and mental health.
  • Lower moods – in 2014, a study found that the more people used Facebook (not the internet), the lower their mood became. This was mainly because they felt it was a waste of time.
  • Compulsive use driven by FOMO – sleep is crucial to our wellbeing, but obsessive checking of social media has been shown to have a detrimental impact on sleep.
  • Feelings of inadequacy – selfie culture is having a huge impact on self-esteem and a Swedish Facebook study showed that women who spent more time on the platform felt less confident.
  • Loneliness – a study amongst 7,000 younger adults showed a correlation between higher social media use and feelings of social isolation and loneliness.

Of course, these tools can also be used for good and there is a lot of new evidence out there supporting this, particularly if used intentionally. Only you can make a judgement on how much of a role social media (and technology, for that matter) plays in your life.


The first thing I did was to assess my reasons for using social media. What would the impact be if I just pulled the plug right now?

By the way, for me, social media involves Facebook and to a lesser extent Instagram and Pinterest. Those are the tools I use. Yours may differ, but the concepts remain the same.

What amazed me was how much Facebook is woven into my every day:

  • Messages – Some of my acquaintances mainly communicate via Facebook messenger, my daughter’s class parent group use this to send reminders about school events, track lost property and for some, it’s a valuable source of moral support. What if I missed something crucial, directly related to school?
  • Business – communicating with my peeps is done mainly via Facebook. Surely I couldn’t just desert them for a month?! 
  • Current affairs – What if something mega happened and I missed it. To be clear, I don’t use FB as a credible news source, but it’s often how I come across big news (I’m not a daily news watcher) after which I then validate it.
  • Connection – By this I mean the (perceived) connection we feel through viewing OPLs (other people’s lives). I mean, what if something happened to a friend or someone I followed and I missed it? (HUGE *gasp* emoji!)
  • Groups – Professionally and personally, a number of institutions I am engaged with communicate through FB groups. How could I manage not tuning in for a month? Would this affect my skills or leave me feeling wobbly, when I needed support?

Whilst the above are all very valid considerations, I was acutely aware that social media had also personally become my time thief and harmer of mental wellbeing.


The day arrived, I said my goodbyes, scheduled my business posts and I was off. 

When I deleted the apps from my phone and scheduled that last post, I already felt a tremendous weight fall from my shoulders.

I knew I would have to pop into my Facebook business page once a week to see if there were any messages or responses to posts I had scheduled automatically. With this in mind, I wanted no distractions while I was there, so I turned off all notifications or updates for most of my Facebook contacts and groups. This left the home screen pretty empty, just showing status updates of a few key groups.

“So, how long before you saw the four horsemen of the apocalypse on the horizon?” I hear you say. Well, the world did not end. Instead…

  • My first discovery was how conditioned I had become to opening Facebook after checking text messages on my phone. My thumb would just automatically go for where the icon used to be – and it still did after four weeks!
  • Time. Wow, did I have time! Not unnecessarily checking every alert, lingering on adverts for things you don’t need and disappearing down rabbit holes, stalking ex-boyfriends’ sisters’ aunts’ brothers! We all know how easy it is to spend excess time on social media, but when you stop you realise how much time one actually loses. The intent to just pop on and check is genuine, but how often does it stop there?
  • A feeling of wellbeing. I felt somehow lighter. I can’t accurately explain it, but not coming across an extreme view and having it ruin my day or not having spent an unproductive 20 minutes mindlessly looking at my screen truly gave me a sense of freedom. It was almost as if I had removed a much-loathed daily chore from my to-do list.
  • My children got more of my attention. A month of not saying “just hold on, love”, as I finished reading a post, or automatically reaching for my phone if I sat down, allowed me to be present for them. This was huge. Even if you’re not conversing with someone, that phone is a barrier.


So, after a month, I (tentatively!) ventured back into the belly of the beast. What did I find?

  • I noticed I had an almost visceral fear of going back into that world. I don’t know why, but it was as if something inside of me was warning me not to fall back down the abyss.
  • I made two purchases within the first hour of being back on Facebook. They were items I had my eye on some time ago, but I’d forgotten about them, so they were obviously not necessary. However, once I logged on, of course there they were, being fed to me by advertisers.
  • I started scrolling. And it didn’t feel good at all, especially since my home screen still wasn’t showing friend updates. 

My month was an eye-opener. I’m not an excessive user, but certain apps are always there, getting in the way and if I’m honest, often leaving me feeling ‘meh’. 


I’m making some changes. Nothing too drastic (well, perhaps a bit) as I recognize there is also immense benefit to be gained, but changes are afoot. Look out for my post on how to manage your social media use for better wellbeing. Until then I urge you to try taking a break. Even if it’s just one day a week.