Think about the last time you posted a tweet or shared a post or updated your feed. Was it just five minutes ago? Now, think about the last time you willingly took a break from obsessively checking and keeping posted on your social media.
For most internet geeks like myself, the common answer would be never or forever ago. When you’re always connected online, it’s really hard to break away and stay offline for awhile. Recently, I decided to take on that challenge and distance myself from the internet community. I wasn’t completely disconnected per se since I had to do research and collaboration for my academics online, but I stayed away from my usual social media time suck aka Twitter, Instagram and my blog for a whole week.
The week of social media silence has now passed and I’m finally back. Did I learn anything from my short internet retreat? Sure. That’s what I’m here to talk about after all.
You don’t have to be connected online to connect with people.
Obviously, you’ll miss your internet friends but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone through your social media vacation. One thing I found really hard last week was not being able to converse with people online about share-worthy moments and thoughts. I craved that connection. Since I couldn’t talk to Twitter about it, I found people offline to discuss them with. Like after watching Paper Towns last week, I wanted to post about how I enjoyed it and since I couldn’t, I rambled to my mom (who I watched it with, along with my sister) instead and she shared her favourite moments from the movie as well as the changes from the story she wished they’d retained (yep, she read the book). It was nice.
Anxiety that you’re missing out is normal- you’ll live through it.
Weird how we think about how we’re missing out with what’s going on in the world when we’re offline, when in actuality, we also could miss out a lot in life when we’re online. I must admit- it was tough, not being updated with the latest happenings in the bookish community, since I loved my daily routine of reading bookish blog posts, watching out for awesome cover reveals and book news and scrolling my Instagram feed for awesome bookstagram photos. I would be so close to opening my social media apps and I’d have to remind myself of my promise to stay away. I told myself that I’d just have to catch up when I’m back online and the temptation to check in online slowly went away.
Put your focus elsewhere.
One of the reasons I actually went offline was because I really wanted to not be distracted by social media so I could work on few things, specifically school work and writing. Truth be told, I still wasn’t as productive with those as I’d hoped I’d be but retreating from the internet sure helped me focus on them. Not being sucked in by social media left more time to concentrate on other things and in the last week, I was able to keep up my reading, put my energy into academics, bond with my family and move forward with WIP revisions.
Enjoy the quietude.
Being online sometimes feels like being in a middle of a busy street- there’s so much coming and going and noise. It’s not a bad thing exactly. I love how the internet community is so dynamic. But it’s nice to take a break from the usual hustle, embrace the calm and be able to sort out my thoughts off the record.
Look forward to reconnecting.
After a week of disconnecting from the internet, there’s a sense of rejuvenation and I feel very much ready to get back on track with the online community. More importantly, I’m really excited to return to blogging.
How have y’all been while I was away? Have you ever taken a social media break before?
My phone recently got stolen so I haven’t had a phone for a week or two. Therefore there was no replying to sms’s, Instagram etc. And I actually felt really refreshed, it was really nice having break from most of the social media, it even got me out of my blogging slump! Although it wasn’t a full on social media break it was still really refreshing. So glad you’re back though, missed you around the blogosphere. :)
So sorry to hear your phone got stolen- that sucks! But yay for feeling refreshed from social media and getting out of your blogging slump! I’m happy to be back as well. :D
I’m so happy you’re back online, Hazel! But I think it’s great that you decided to take a break from social media. It’s always nice to immerse yourself in the real world around you, and important to remember that not everything happens online. Thanks for sharing! <3
Me too- this means I can finally catch up with all the awesome posts I missed from you. ;) I totally agree, Alexa! Thanks also for the welcome back comment! <3
Last week I was like why isn’t Hazel posting new things on her blog :'( But I totally understand! School comes first and I think taking a break from social media is a good and healthy thing to do. I didn’t realize that while I’m online, I could also be missing out outside of the internet. I think I’m going to take a small break from blogging when school starts. I already scheduled posts all the way to September anyways so that will give me time to catch up on real life stuff :D
Have to admit it’s kinda nice to be missed haha! Sorry for not posting anything- I’ll make it up to you! ;) I’m glad I’ll still be able to read posts from your blog up to September. :D
Oooh, I love all these tips. Makes me want to try something of the sort. In the same way social media connects us to people we necessarily wouldn’t be talking to elsewhere, it also separates us from the people we’ve got on deck, y’know. So this seems like a grand idea!
Thanks, Mawa! And yeah, you’re totally right with how it separates us sometimes from people IRL. To be honest, I’m guilty of pulling away from real people because I find it easier to talk to people online and I guess that’s why I decided to stay offline for awhile, to be able to reconnect with the people around me. :)
Great share! I have taken a social media break before, I actually do that once every few months. I swear it is so refreshing, my focus is way better when I’m offline (obviously) and it’s just a nice thing to do once in a while
Thank you, Hannie! I think I’ll also be taking social media breaks every few months too since this particular break helped me sort out a few things offline. :)
I was actually wondering why you never returned my DM… But glad that you’re back! And with a fantastic post besides. I’m just thinking about my own impending hiatus and so this article couldn’t be more timely. And yaaay your mom! She’s awesome in my book for reading PT and seeing AND discussing it with her girls. Hope school is less a mess and that you’re moving forward with your WIP. :)
Sorry about that, Miel! You’ll be missed during your hiatus but I know exciting adventures are waiting for you so I guess I’ll just wait until you’re back to hear all about them. Yeah, I’m pretty lucky my mom’s very cool and understands my love for reading. School’s gotten even crazier with my community immersion so I haven’t had the time to work on my WIP again sadly.
Great perspective. When on vacation (out of country), I generally disconnect and just enjoy my experiences. When it’s a staycation, I generally use social media less, but this might be easier for me as I’ve already slowed down on things like Twitter and I haven’t felt like I was missing out at all. I’m sure that I should have a little more of a social media presence like I did a few years ago, but I need time away from everything to feel balanced.
Love this post and your tips!
Thanks, Chrystal! I usually still stay connected even on vacation just because I want to share my quick updates but I do go on hiatus on my blog because I want to focus on sightseeing and doing some exploring. That’s great that you’ve slowed down and I think that takes a lot of self-control to be able to find that balance. :D
Love, love, love this post, Hazel. My family and I were on a roadtrip last week, and a lot of the time we were without service. I thought I wouldn’t mind, but I was surprised when I found myself gravitating towards my phone to check Twitter or something instead of looking outside at the pretty views. It’s definitely surprising how much we feel the need to be connected. I think social media can be a good thing- so many of my close bloggy friends now I ‘met’ on Twitter- but I think I’ve personally gotten waaay too attached to it. I definitely want to try a week off like you did, and see all those awesome benefits. :D
Fantastic post, Hazel! <33
I think time offline would DEFINITELY make me appreciate it extra more…buuut….hehe, I don’t think I would be in a rush to do so. GOOD ON YOU FOR DOING IT THO. And sticking to it. ;-) A few years ago I went offline for a month and, well, the world didn’t explode or anything, but I did feel very out of the loop when I came back. STILL. It was an excellent time just to read for the enjoyment of reading and not worry about reviews or updates or promoting things. ^_^
Hi Hazel! I don’t know how you did it, just thinking about it makes me miss the online community already, but a social media break sounds so nice and I’d like to try it out for myself because I want to get some work done. :)) Thank you for sharing your experience! ♥
I went offline for 24 hours once and that was painful, but I don’t think I’m ‘online’ all the time. I check it every so often and things, but generally, I’m blogging more than anything, not actually on social media, which can be seen as good or bad. I commend your experiment and I’m glad it was good for you! :)
As a self-proclaimed internet gal, I don’t think I could last as long as you did! I tried once but succumbed after just (a measly) 3 days haha :) Glad you’re back around, Hazel! And wow! You have a cool mom and sibs! I can’t fangirl with mine so I tend to look for other people to discuss my bookish obsessions with haha :)
PS. Looking forward to finally seeing your finished WIP :D
It’s nice to be back! I actually think I caught the love for reading through my mom, who’s also a wide reader, and I’m really glad that she’s willing to read my recommendations then treat us to watch the movie adaptations later on.
My WIP is unfortunately far from finished but it makes me really happy to hear you’re excited for it!
I’m glad you are back! I experience being offline for a week or so and it is actually good! I got to appreciate a lot of things. Wonderful article you have here! Thank you for sharing! :)
I was thinking of doing this next week, but I’m going to college soon, and that would be my social media detox. China isn’t the best place for social media, after all, and I’d like to enjoy all the social media freedom that I can. But then, I’m not really active on social media, and it wouldn’t make much of a difference, for me.
Ok, now that I think of it, I have to take a break, I have plans ad stuff to do, and I need to just turn the Wi-fi off for some time next week. >.<
This sounds so liberating! I should do this experiment once a month! Thanks for sharing this Hazel! You are awesome as usual! :D
Liberating- that’s exactly what it was. It’s a nice, refreshing experiment. Thanks for dropping by and for being sweet, Kevin!
Great post, Hazel! I think I’m kind of middle of the road… I love getting online, I enjoy blog, Instagram, email. I text some. But I’m not one who is totally addicted to social media. Even so, I still think it’s a good idea to step back sometimes. I love how instead of Tweeting about the movie you shared your thoughts with your Mom. That’s so great! My favorite thing you said was “Weird how we think about how we’re missing out with what’s going on in the world when we’re offline, when in actuality, we also could miss out a lot in life when we’re online.” YES!! This is so true!! I need to remember this more.
I don’t go offline very often, but I can definitely see where you’re coming from. A reprieve from social media can be so refreshing when you have other things to surround yourself with. I often find that when I pull my phone out it’s usually because I’m BORED. If I get busy, social media and the internet take a backseat. And I sometimes don’t even realize it until the next time I’m “logging in.” I really should just get busy and take more breaks from my computer!
I admire your willpower so much!:) I would’ve died – and I am not joking when I say that – if I tried to be offline for a week. I am a pretty social person, and I’ve been spoiled by the constant conversations I have in twitter, so much so that, a few minutes or hours away from twitter and the internet, makes me feel as I am totally lost and left out. I don’t know how vain this makes me sound, but I like to be always in the center of things.
But I do think that I need to distance myself away from twitter a little. I think I am getting too attached, and it might be a problem when my Advanced Levels officially start this September.
This was such a well-needed reminder! I’ve just started blogging and have already felt myself getting sucked in to the internet world – lately all I’ve been thinking about is my number of followers, following other blogs, and possible blog content. Stepping out of online worlds is so refreshing!
That being said, I love your blog! You have such interesting content and your blog design is so refreshing and creative. I’m looking forward to reading more from you!
*nods* I think being a blogger requires us to spend a lot of time on the internet- connecting with our readers and our community on almost every social media platform and it’s really easy to get sucked into that. It’s good to take a break from time to time.
Thank you so much for the sweet compliment! So glad to hear you enjoyed my little blog! :D
Spot on about the anxiety! Before I became a freelance writer, I didn’t care much about FB, twitter, blogs, etc. But when my job depended on my expertise in navigating the online world, I started to become anxious every time I was offline! Grrr. It’s pretty frustrating, so this post is a good reminder to take it easy!
I think that’s totally understandable since your job requires you to keep up with the internet community but I do hope you’ll feel less frustrated about it. Thanks so much for checking out the post, Jee Ann!
Oh goodness, I’m not even sure how much I would succeed at going 24 hours without being online in some capacity, much less a week! I have no doubt I’d feel the same anxieties. Makes me wonder how I went so long without being connected before – I didn’t have internet myself until High School and I didn’t have a smart phone until 2 years ago! Glad you were able to make your goal time!
I had three weeks of almost complete social media silence and I really could use it. The first week gave me a little ‘I AM MISSING OUT’ feelings, but soon that went away and it was quite nice to have some time off :) I certainly didn’t miss all the drama I often see. I did miss talking with my friend, but I definitely had more time for others things. I read so many books :D