Burnt Out

I Stopped Posting My Entire Life On Social Media & I’m So Much Happier

I was experiencing my life again instead of curating it for my followers.

I stopped posting my entire life on social media. This is what happened next.
Stephen Zeigler/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Like so many of us, I started using social media about 10 years ago to share my life and work. But nearly a year ago, after my youngest son told me I was on my phone too much, I took a break from social media for a week. I started by keeping my phone in my purse when we went to restaurants. I stopped taking a photo of my dog first thing in the morning; instead, I kneeled down and pet him. I stopped posting my workouts and OOD. And pretty quickly, everything shifted.

I became more present and happier. I was experiencing my life again instead of curating it for my followers.

I had no idea how much I’d like the break. And I also had no idea how much calmer I’d feel. Instead of just a break from social media, it turned into a huge break from my phone. For an entire week, I didn’t scroll or surf the web or pull out my phone to look up some unnecessary things while I was having dinner.

That week I read a lot — something I hadn’t done in years. It felt so good to really push through a book and get caught up in it. When my teenagers went out, I left it on so they could get in touch with me. But I kept it on the kitchen counter, away from me, knowing I’d be able to hear it if I got a text or an email.

It was like a cleanse I didn’t know I needed. And guess what? I haven’t been able to fall back in love with social media since. My whole focus has shifted for the better.

There was a time I really enjoyed posting: funny things my kids said, a picture of brownies I made, the first snowfall, what I was wearing. But it began to lose its luster. It wasn’t fun anymore and started to feel like a chore, another thing I had to do and keep track of. And then when I took a break from posting, I realized how little I enjoyed it.

For a few months prior, I slogged through posting thinking the spark would come back. Because I work for myself, I felt like I had to follow all the rules people give entrepreneurs when it comes to their accounts: post every day, post several times a day, make sure it’s a mix of business and personal life.

But I’ve since realized I just don’t want to post about my personal life very much. My kids don’t want their picture taken, nor do they want their personal life on my social media. When I’m having a meal with them or a friend, I’m so much happier enjoying it without taking out my phone and snapping a photo of meals. When I’m shopping, I don’t want to make a little video of what’s in the store. I want to browse, be off my phone, maybe make small talk with the sales associate.

It’s been a few months since my media cleanse and I’ll post a few things a few days a week for work stuff, but I don’t want to share any personal stuff right now. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it’s because I need space from my phone. It’s freeing to throw my phone in my purse and forget about it. It’s there for emergencies but otherwise I don’t need it. I lived many years without a phone. I remember feeling happier then, and not as anxious.

At first, this felt so strange, like I was doing myself a disservice and I was going to miss out and fall behind, total FOMO. I'm not exactly sure. But when you do something for a long time, religiously, then you stop, it can take some getting used to.

I’m certainly not shaming anyone who posts regularly, nor do I think they should do what I’m doing unless they want to. For a really long time I loved waking up and scrolling Instagram and Facebook and sharing something. But there’s not even a small part of me that wants to get back into that right now.

Maybe the desire will come back, and maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m not the only one feeling burnt out from social media. And maybe it’s just one of those things that I’m completely over, and I realize my mental health is better when I’m not on social media very much.

Katie lives in Maine with her three kids, two ducks, and a Goldendoodle. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, at the gym, redecorating her home, or spending too much money online.