Tempted to quit social media? Read this first.

by Melanie Chisnall

Are you tired of the digital noise, endless opinions, and “me, me, me” shows? Do you wish you could just quit social media altogether and be done with it? More peace, please.

Trust me – you’re not alone. I was right there, ready to give it all up.

I was fed up with the constant clutter, highlight reels and algorithms.

If you’re suffering from social media anxiety or thinking about quitting, read on. I’m sharing a few things I’ve changed recently to improve my outlook and the way I use these platforms.

It’s time to bring the fun and simplicity of social media BACK.

WHY ARE YOU USING SOCIAL MEDIA?

For marketing? Connection? A sense of community?

Let’s go deeper…

I want to quickly share a story with you to highlight what I’m getting at here.

A few years ago I almost witnessed the murder of a security guard at my local shopping centre. I missed the incident by less than five minutes – I’ve never been that scared. In my shock, and once I got home, I went straight to Facebook and shared my experience in detail. Don’t ask me why, I guess I was emotionally overwhelmed and needed to write to work through it.

I didn’t think anything of it until my parents messaged me afterwards to ask if I was okay.
They were worried, to say the least.

There I was sharing really personal pieces of my life with Facebook connections instead of the people closest to me. And it wasn’t the first time. It wasn’t until we were in lockdown and I was getting ready to quit social media that things started to click into place.

Why was I really using social media?

I found my answer:
I craved more meaningful connections.

As an introvert, it’s an easy way to chat with friends and have conversations with like-minded people, which I love. Maybe this is something you’re feeling, too. Or maybe you use social media to market your business and keep in touch with people in your life.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to get honest about your WHY.

SIMPLIFY BEFORE YOU QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA

Now, let’s talk about those negative feelings and anxiety…

While finding stories of other people who’d quit social media, I started asking myself a few questions:

  • Why am I posting 3 x a week on Instagram like clockwork? Because everyone else is?
  • Why is it so important to share what I’m doing when we’re out?
  • What would happen if I took a social media break?

I realised how much I was doing on auto-pilot. Longer Instagram captions because, well, the algorithm likes that. 30 Minutes a day actively engaging with people, because how else will you build connections?

Mindlessly scrolling and liking.

Like most of us, I got excited each time I saw a new notification. Yay! Someone had commented or engaged with my content. Another hit of dopamine, thanks.

That’s definitely not a healthy way of using social media. No wonder so many of us have negative feelings about it!

So, how do we take our power back and change things?

Simple.
We start small and we purge.

HOW TO SIMPLIFY AND CUT THE DRAMA

If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend taking a bird’s eye view of ALL your social media platforms.

Which one causes you the most anxiety or makes you feel negative?

Next, write up a list of pros and cons.
What would the impact be if you cut it out of your life completely?

I couldn’t think of a single positive benefit of keeping my Twitter account so I deleted it. It felt like I’d pulled a toxic band-aid off and lifted a heavyweight from my shoulders… what a relief! I didn’t feel inspired or happy over there; I found it noisy and negative, regardless of how many people I unfollowed.

Next up was Instagram.

I ruthlessly went through my feed and unfollowed a bunch of people. I muted a couple, too. Then, I went through my content and saved images and words I didn’t want to get rid of before deleting them.

Why not just leave those posts up?

Quick answer? I value my privacy and in the past, I overshared a lot, too much. As a creative or solopreneur, we’re encouraged to share parts of our lives so that people get to know us better and we build rapport.

I’m all for that, but…

There’s a thin line between how much we choose to share with the world.

I stripped Facebook to the bones. I unfriended a LOT of people. And, I unliked every page and most of the groups I’d joined over the years to free up my feed. What a difference! I also went into my settings and changed a few things about my privacy and preferences.

Take a proper look at why and HOW you’re using each platform.

Then, shrink things down and/or delete what you feel comfortable with. You can’t improve or grow anything when you don’t have space for it, or you’ve got things weighing you down.

IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Let’s go back to the big question – WHY are you using these platforms?

If it’s to market your business, the majority of your focus should be on your client or customer — not yourself. It’s not about the ego, it’s about serving and solving a problem. On the same wavelength, if you’re using social media to connect with friends and family, how are you doing that? By sharing photos of everything you’re doing?

No judgement here – believe me, I’ve been there.

I used to share everything from making coffee to what I was watching on TV. I didn’t do this to brag, I just thought this was the way to create connection – like most of us are led to believe.

But then, while I was digging deep and asking all these questions, I realised what the disconnect was.

My inner circle. Somewhere along the way, I prioritised my social media friends and connections over family and close friends. Once I stepped away from social media for a bit, I had the time to focus on those relationships.

I made more of an effort to check in, respond to messages, and actively be in their lives.

Connection.

It’s amazing how easy it is to let these fizzle away. We see how people are doing on social media and we don’t feel the need to check-in. But, we forget – that’s just the highlight reel; it’s often not even reality.

Here are a few more questions worth thinking about:

  • Who’s really important to you right now?
  • What relationships do you want to improve?
  • What relationships feel one-sided, drain you or feel toxic?

How would you like to connect with the people you love and value in your life – beyond social media?

Texting is great. But you know what’s better? Phone calls and voice notes.
Yup, right back to basics.

WHAT I’VE CHANGED

I decided to hang onto Instagram and Facebook – so much has changed in the way I view and use these platforms.

And you know what’s great about this?

It feels fun and simple again.
I no longer feel this pressure to “perform” on social media.

Instead of spending hours creating content or engaging for awareness, I intentionally and actively spend it on growing my business. Now I have more time to write blog posts, grow my email list, research, coach and invest in my personal relationships.

The stress and anxiety I felt over social media is GONE.
I go on when I want to, if I want to.

We’re all different and I’m by no means telling you what to do.

I just thought I’d share my experience so you can see that there’s a bit of middle ground here.
YOU get to choose how you use social media – or don’t.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR OUTLOOK

On the fence (or just feeling really gross about the platforms you’re on right now)?

Here are a few things I suggest starting with:

  1. Take a break from posting – a few days, or a couple of weeks or months
  2. Get clear on WHY you’re using these platforms
  3. Take an honest look at the people you’re following – why are you following / friends with them?
  4. Update your privacy settings
  5. Limit your time on social media – Facebook has a cool setting called Quiet Mode that I’ve started using
  6. Explore other options for marketing if you use it for business
  7. Delete the apps off your phone – this is a game-changer!

There’s actually a lot you can do to ease social media anxiety and cut the drama or negativity.

But it goes beyond a quick filter here or unfollow there.

You need to dig DEEP. Heart over highlight reel deep. What matters to you right now? What’s really causing some frustrations or stress?

Give yourself permission to change the rules.

You don’t have to quit social media altogether, but you also don’t have to do things a certain way just because it’s considered the “norm.”

Don’t let social media consume you or control the way you feel.

Switch things up, simplify, cut down, and make it work for YOU.

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