“Where have you been?”
“We missed you”
“Any big announcement?”
“Yay, she’s back”
These are some of the comments I received on my first Instagram and Facebook post after about 11 months of absence. Surprisingly, I also came back to more followers than I did when I took my break. This was because I always did have the intention of eventually coming back so I used a free instagram follower service to help me gain some more followers. I think it’s fair to say that it worked. Even though I won’t be using it anymore, socialfollow got me more followers and it can do the same for you, someone who actually uses Instagram regularly. So, anyway back to what happened when I returned. Someone actually asked me privately whether I disappeared because I was pregnant and hiding it (lol). I pondered on how to respond on my absence and decide to put it down on the blog. I do not consider myself a writer (I’m sure you would have noticed that with my posts which are always short and straight to the point), so forgive me if you think I’m babbling about here.
So, I quit posting recipes here and uninstalled all my social media platforms…Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (I am not so into the last anyway). I left my WhatsApp on because of family and because I belong to less than 3 groups including my family forum. My decision at that time was not because of any big project I wanted to undertake and I am not writing a cookbook yet. I just woke up one day and decided to quit.
BURNOUT, EXHAUSTION, FATIGUE, TIREDNESS
That’s why I took a break. I was tired of taking food pictures, tired of thinking about what to post and when to make a post to ensure it is seen by at least half of my followers because of the crazy Facebook and Instagram algorithm. I needed to take a break from posting, reading and scrolling which has become a part of my daily life. I also wanted to face other things in my life without the distraction of social media.
At first, it was really difficult as I would pick up my phone idly to take a small glance, only to remember all the apps have been uninstalled. I thought I’ll give up after one month but at the end of that one month, I was getting a bit more comfortable without them and feeling more refreshed. I must tell you that it takes discipline to be able to withstand the urge not to reinstall your apps to check Instagram and Facebook for pictures, comments, likes, juicy stories, gossips, inspirational posts and sundry. Then, I had to also contend with that fear that I am missing important messages, losing my reach, audience, impressions…all that social media jargons. This fear made me give in to check my Facebook messages through my laptop after about 4 or 5 months into my break. I couldn’t do that with Instagram, which is more of a phone app to me, so I let it be. But that’s not to say that I wasn’t thinking about it. It was always on my mind, especially as I was constantly being told about a growth service like nitreo, because my friend uses this service to grow her brand and her followers. So, it was hard to not think about how my profile was getting on in my absence, but I tried my best to persevere with the urge. I tried to visit here once in a while to respond to questions in the comment section because I felt I had an obligation to this website.
My social media break made me realise that Facebook and Instagram are great time-killers and you will never get back that time…lost times they are. It also taught me some lessons, made me focus, engage and achieve things in my life I had ordinarily taken for granted. I have also been able to achieve other things by utilising the time I would have used to be ‘doing’ Facebook and Instagram.
Taking this social media break gave me time to read more books, play and engage with my children. I started putting books in my handbag whenever I am going out and I utilised the time I would have used to be scrolling idly on the phone to reading some inspirational books. At home, when I sit down and pick a book, my children will do the same, picking up their novels to join me on the sofa. I chatted with them more reading out funny stories from their books, we started playing Ludo games together, bought Scrabble which they are learning, and we also took walks together…these are times I would have been huddled over my phone. The best thing during this break was that I was cooking food, creating recipes for my children to enjoy without thinking of taking pictures…those that are into food photography will understand not worrying about the best plate to dish the food, presentation style, the time to take photos in order to get a good shot, the angle to get the best shot, worries about the food getting cold and not looking good in the picture or too hot that you have to wait for it to cool a bit before taking your shot. Oh, it was a welcome relief, and no one was hovering and asking “mummy, have you finished taking the pictures let me have my food” lol.
During the course of this break, I also commenced and completed some personal development courses which I may not have had time to do, and which are mostly for the benefit of this website as well as for my professional career. I have completed some courses in Child Nutrition and Cooking, Allergy: Reducing the Risk in Early Life and also Complementary Feeding and Obesity just to make sure I am giving out the best in this website. I am also progressing in my professional goals due to the time and reflections this break game me to start and conclude my courses in HR, as well as beginning a new chapter in my life.
One thing I learnt from my social media break is that I can be easily forgotten. All the 20k followers and 1000 friends on my social network went about their business without noticing my absence. Even if they did, I am sure they had other important things to think or worry about that they shifted my absence to the end of their ‘worry list’. A few friends and followers actually went out of their way to send emails (including fb messenger which I sneaked into…lol) and chat me up on WhatsApp because they were worried about me or they were just missing my posts. My absence does not change anything, and life goes on for others…no matter how relevant I think I am, I am not indispensable.
My break wasn’t a planned one, but it has really been an amazing experience for me mentally, emotionally and intellectually. Without social media, I can survive and be happy doing other things, create happiness around me and be relevant to people close to me. Will I do it again? I think YES, it is really an experience but maybe not this long again because of you, my dear ones here 😉
Have you ever gone on a social media break? Have you ever thought of leaving social media? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment box.
Note: I am re-learning everything including the new layout of the website editor which are all changed in the course of my absence. Wish me well 🙂