I finally took a social media break

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Mona Lisa t-shirt, sunglasses, bershka, meme, social commentary
The last photo I posted before my social media break. Fitting.

About a week before Ramadan, coming off a trip with my family and a slew of posts, I deactivated my Instagram account.

I don’t mean deleted my app, I mean, I googled how to temporarily deactivate my Instagram account and followed the instructions.

I haven’t done that, ever? Not since I’ve been on Instagram, which is for several years now (I’ve done a few clean sweeps on my account so the earliest post I can find in my archives is from 2012).

I was, not coincidentally, sick at the time, and (this hurts my ego to admit) I was definitely feeling like nazr/evil eye was a looming factor, but not from others – my own.

For a while now, I’ve struggled with my relationship with my own work. It’s a toxic one. I am no fan and not proud of what I do or have ever done. If I have had moments of joy, they were singular dots bridged by long periods of darkness and self-hate.

The last year has been a lot about redeeming and rewriting my own story in my own head, and the last few years have been about tackling a whole bunch of other shit.

I also find myself getting more protective of my headspace. The things that enter my mind everyday, the things I give time to, that influence how I see the actual reality of my life.

By that I mean… the actual reality of my life is that I wake up, have a cup of delicious chai, watch my favorite TV show, and go about my day with a smattering of loved ones. The pseudo-reality/brain vortex version is the one I live online where there are hundreds and thousands of people yanking my brain with the things they’ve chosen to post that day.

For several years now (I can remember conversations I’ve had in 2012, 2013, 2015… and so on) I’ve struggled with my relationship with online social media stuff.

I remember confessing to friends that I was experiencing negative impacts from the way we collectively use social media. When I was depressed, it was like this huge dissonance where people are posting just these peak moments of life & love & friendship. When I was struggling with imposter syndrome and in the people-insulting-me earlier phases of building my “career”, all I was seeing was achievement olympics games unfold.

My friends were confused about my experience. Why do you let it affect you so much? I felt embarrassed about my weakness and continued on my way.

I wish I could say I was smart enough to pull the plug on my social media use, but I can not.

For one, social media marketing has been a big part of my job / part of sharing my work / a platform for my creative expression for many years, whether it was writing cheesy jokes on Facebook, drawing 1,000 attendees to buy tickets to Fashion Fighting Famine shows or getting an international audience of 10,000 to participate in our #Eidstyle campaign, or in launching and promoting Stranger Magic Productions and driving viewership and support for our shows like Unfair & Ugly and #TodayIMet. And of course, me writing on this blog.

Our Unfair & Ugly LA Premiere!

Social media and the online world have quite literally changed and been the breeding ground for new media careers like my own. All the things I care about – access to media creation, diverse representation in content across various industries, and the humanization of our stories – have been transformed by web / social media. I watched the digital media unfold throughout my life, from email and online poker portals to AIM chat and Xanga to Facebook and Instagram. And it’s what I have been studying and building my work in and through for over a decade.

So I am deeply connected to, have even formed myself through, social media.

Second, and this one took a lot longer to fully admit, is that I came to realize and accept over time that I have a social media addiction.

My turning point was a pivotal conversation with a dear friend who makes a living in studying human behavior when it comes to media use, and devising new ways to make money off it.

This person gave me the gift of telling me, Yeah, of course you’re addicted. It’s designed to be addictive.

Cut to me motioning to my brain explosions and making pkhfooo pkhfoooo sound effects.

For many years leading up to that, I blamed only myself for my countless hours spent in the scroll hole. But I never stopped to think that the platforms I was engaging in were carefully and cleverly designed around human psychology to make it addictive. So of course I was addicted and of course no one around me was stopping to admit they were, too, because that kind of stigma isn’t associated with cellphones + social media just yet. We’re only beginning to make those connections. (Plus, if one of us admits we’re addicted, we kind of force everyone to ask if they are, too, which is you know, the stuff blame-the-messenger is made of).

An example of my extremely important social media presence.

I think making this connection helped me see that yes, I was addicted to social media, and yes, the apps are designed to further my addiction. There’s slews of notifications and “like” and “follower” counts and comments and algorithms and endless fresh content that can keep my attention for hours and draw me in to validation central.

That realization was freeing, and in the months leading up to me deactivating Instagram, I had already been taking steps towards it.

I started turning off notifications and doing things like hiding my phone out of sight when I was with people or even sitting on the couch watching TV by myself. I acknowledged which social media accounts I was most troubled by (for various reasons having to do with myself) and began muting them to limit my daily exposure (I had done this before a few times, but found myself doing it again).

I checked my phone less frequently, but… I was still scrolling social media apps for almost an hour each morning and night – first thing when I woke up and last thing when I went to bed. I knew this is where the bulk of my problem was, but I wasn’t ready to tackle this.

IRL, I started detoxifying the actual physical places I was attending. Who was I surrounding myself with? What were they presenting to me and what kind of person was I around them? I was starting to see that although I am already a hermit, I was reaching a point that I no longer wanted to even remotely be around people I was experiencing toxicity with (who might be super healthy towards themselves and other people but for a variety of reasons including my own need for self-work, I found that wasn’t my experience around them).

I am an old lady at heart and I don’t have the peace of mind for spaces and places where I’m constantly playing the prove-your-worth Olympics. I did it for over a decade, dealt with the blows, met some gems, pursued opportunities through it, but like… also I just need to go focus on doing my damn work.

All that to say that when I did hit that deactivate button, it wasn’t out of nowhere, but I was still surprised when I did it.

And I was even more surprised at how long I stayed off. Two months in, I deactivated Facebook, which I had literally never done since college (except for a few times to get myself to write a paper or meet a deadline).

And three months in, I was like… wow. Clarity (is beginning to unfold).

I found myself:

  • Lonelier. I mean, I felt alone before, but it was more of an alienation. I felt alienated. Being online all the time made me feel like… I really just don’t belong in this world, that I can find few examples of people who are like me and a kafrillion examples of people who are not like me, etc. But getting offline… I was like… sitting there and realizing that being online made me feel a pseudo version of friendship. Like I was with people all the time but I was never actually with them? And being offline made me realize how little I am actually with people. And I found myself starting to open up to 1. longing 2. connection 3. taking advantage of opportunities to meet my friends 4. reflecting on what kind of connection I’d like to have in my life (IRL). I haven’t figured it all out overnight, but I have all this room in my head to have this conversation and figure it out.
  • Clearer and less sad (in some ways). I am tired of seeing photoshopped pores and impossibly trimmed waists. I thought growing up with fashion magazines in the 90s was bad, but now I can watch people I actually know shaving inches off their face, making their pupils bigger, and posing in the same five ways day in and day out. All of that body dysmorphia exposure messes with my head. And constantly watching a parade of accomplishments does not help me appreciate people. I find myself liking people more when I’m not watching their stuff everyday. I find myself wondering what I actually care about and what I actually want to accomplish (rather than worrying what I should be doing to keep up with the Jones’ in various creative fields).
  • More open to finding solutions for myself. Forcing myself out of these social media usage patterns has opened up space in my head and emotions (which aren’t busy reacting to stuff online). When I was online so much I would tell myself it was my fault I was reacting to people’s posts in the way that I was and shut myself down with self-hate. Now, when I’m having emotional reactions and/or triggers to things, I’ve been able to be less blamey on myself and ask where it’s coming from and acknowledge the validity of my experience. Which in turn helps me actually look for solutions and move past things instead of being locked into stunting emotional patterns.

There’s a host of other things weaving through my brain, but here I am… three months later, actually back on social media, sharing this post with you.

Look at me in my radically changed life of which you should all be jealous. JK these photos were taken in the exact same moment.

In my newfound clarity, I talked through (with trusted friends) the way I want to be online and how I’d like to use the platforms for myself.

Because at the bottom of all of this, of my social media break, of me coming back online on my own terms (and with firm rules for myself to help me control my addiction) is this:

I finally believe I deserve to feel good. And by that, I mean, I don’t need to be online in ways that cause me damage and harm. And by need, let’s capitalize and underscore that word, because for many years, I felt that I needed to be online the way that I was, that my work depended on it, that it was just like… the way things were, those were the rules, and any negative reactions I was having to it were solely my fault and my weakness.

And the difference today is that I am saying no, I don’t need that, and I don’t deserve that. I deserve to have a healthy relationship with social media. And I’m working on it.

Here is something I wrote in my notes in November 2017:

Just because you’re not famous on Instagram doesn’t mean your not having the IMPACT you want to have in life.

The two don’t correlate. 

What is the impact you want to have? 

Going down the instagram spiral today… (Well actually I haven’t. I’ve been trying to be mindful and healthy in my social media engagement and consumption… but today was different):

I asked myself, I feel a little… compare-ey, less than, turn-offy. 

And something I wrote last month:

I don’t like seeing a consistent timeline of the artifacts of people’s success, or that I contribute to that idea even when I don’t want to. So no I do not miss Instagram, or Facebook, or any social media of that sort. 

Because I did get tired of feeling like I was close to people when I was terribly alone in my life friends wise. Like… how can I be surrounded by hundreds of people that make me feel more alone? More less than? More crowded, diluted, unsuccessful? And above all, measured and constantly judged? 

I love being out of the spotlight social media creates. 

This is an ongoing conversation I’m having with myself, and I’m glad to be able to share it. Thanks to social media.

In taking a cue from one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Marie Forleo, I’d love to hear from you. What’s your relationship with social media been like, and how have you tried to create a balance?

84 responses to “I finally took a social media break”

  1. Thank you. I’m a lot older and probably live quite a different life, but I am aware of the need to limit time on and exposure to social media to keep it fun/useful.
    I mainly do WordPress which has a more thoughtful slow quality. I write and read and have reciprocal relationships on there. No Facebook. Instagram a bit.
    All the best and thanks for a great post.

    1. Ok but you will come back. We are waiting for you.

  2. Aïcha Sebaa – @drsebaa

    I just wrote out the longest comment ever only to have the page reload and it’s gone — poof!
    In short. Your words. I miss them. I was hiding in a corner while Leia was playing independently for longer than 3 mins with a room temp cup of coffee soaking in your words. Thank you for this. So relatable. Addiction and all. Grey area. Defining what the black and whites are–the rims of what’s okay and not–while continuing with this ongoing conversation (as you noted) has been incredibly important for me mental health while navigating this over-world that is masking as reality. Or is it really-real? I’m not sure. Things have gotten sticky, tricky, even trippy. The mental space you noted. It’s a treasure. That space between what I’m observing and engaging so that I can understand the impact–crucial. Working on this. Loneliness is an epidemic in an ever-connected world. Doesn’t that say something about the source of “connecting”? I feel like going back to basics. Love you.

  3. I am proud of you. Thank you for sharing your story! It’s a good one. We all need a social media break sometimes as it’s not good for our mental health. I totally feel you here. Social media can be cruel.

  4. I recently came across this post because it was featured on Discover and I was so excited and eager to read through to understand what it is could have caused someone to leave social media for sometime. Because I also, I’m on an indefinite social media break. Even as I type the word “Indefinite”, I find it hard to believe that I actually have left social media and the only grounds to returning is when I feel better on the inside and not when I hit a jackpot or finish serving a penance because really this penance is indefinite. I have always known that I am really addicted to social media that it worries the heck out of me, I am always so excited to go check out what the latest is on my feed, what people are sharing;scrolling and liking and dropping random comments here and there, searching a page on explore and automatically not realizing the page I first sought for because I’d have travelled from a page to lots of others. It was a struggle which I only was able to identify because of introspection. If there’s any metrics through which we get to understand why certain things happen to us, then it is through introspection. Introspection is quite hard but very necessary for an individual. I was able to narrow down the source of 80% of my anxiety issues, and they all came from social media. I still find it hard to explain to friends when the call asking about my absence, I find it cringy to tell someone that I was having explosive anxiety issues due to social media because, well I might he considered ridiculous or weird. Reading through your post have made me realize that I’m not weird after all, realizing that social media by it’s very nature is design to be addictive. Addiction is a terrible thing, you feel it’s all you need,all that can soothe you,yet it cause you the most harm. Everyday on social media, I kept being around thousands of people, engaging with as many as I could but I never felt the level of loneliness I felt during those moments. One morning roughly 3weeks ago, I was scrolling through my WhatsApp feed and instantaneously I found myself uninstalling the app automatically, in the same spirit, I did equally same to my Twitter and Instagram (though I’ve been binge visiting Twitter and Instagram sporadically -now I’m thinking of deactivating both accounts indefinitely). As someone who suffers from incessant anxiety issues, I’m not in denial of how social media could add up to the stress which we are trying to handle, I often worry that not too many have had the opportunity to realize this presently so it’s not really a very widespread discussion to have. I took the step to uninstalling my social media accounts and I’m sticking by it. #Relateable content.

  5. I can relate to what you are saying. You might take a look at the blog for Cal Newport, and his latest book “Digital Minimalism”. You might be surprised much of what you experienced is not uncommon, and your response to it. I am with you! http://www.calnewport.com

    1. Frank, thank you for the book recommendation! I’ll definitely check it out! In general, whenever I write and share, I find it creates a connection to experiences and thoughts that someone, somewhere is also having – if not many of us. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great share. Some of our darkest moments come from our detailed view of the world. Sometimes it is good to unplug and recharge.

  7. LOVE this! It is so easy to get sucked into the social media vortex. (whether it be Instagram or something else) It has so much good, but equally so much bad. Like anything in life (or maybe just because I am a Gemini) it is about balance. Thank you for sharing his! <3

    1. I love how you put it K! “It has so much good, but equally so much bad.” When I was writing this post, for the first time, I was able to speak with clarity about both the good and not just the bad. All of that is important towards understanding my relationship with social media, because if it was all bad, I would have left a long time ago. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and for reading my post!

  8. Social media break lets ‘peace’ step into your life…

  9. love your content, its pretty amazing

    1. Thank you Ananya for reading and your kind words!

  10. This, is a beautiful post, and I can tell you you aren’t alone. I’m a guitarist and teacher, but for years felt worthless and unskilled in my art due to collaring myself to others. Recently (within the last two years) I’ve been very consciously mindful, specifically aided by Buddhism, and my realisations have been profound. Social media – at least in my life – created this endless self fulfilling prophesy vortex, and sometimes I get sucked back into it, and it isn’t pretty. My amygdala is hijacked and before I know it my day is f**ked.

    Your thoughts and views of attachment to social media are very pertinent, and VERY insightful.

    Thank you.


    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts Jay! You put it so thoughtfully – a “self fulfilling prophesy vortex” and the hijacked amygdala. I relate so much. I’m glad to hear what worked/is in the process is working for you. And can I get an amen on comparing our art to others and feeling worthless. It diminishes our intrinsic value.

  11. I tried a social media break once. I lasted five whole hours.

    1. 😂 before this break my “breaks” usually lasted a whole 5 minutes so you’re winning

      1. 😂😂😂

  12. I deleted my own account last year. I felt at peace as a 23 year old. I did what 80% of my age bracket wouldn’t do but I focused more on my academics and many other useful things. Social media is overwhelming. The desire to keep up and all made me feel like I was running faster than myself or I wasn’t up to the other people. I needed to breath. I am happy today and I pray and hope other things I have paid attention to yields result. You did a great job by the way. I love the write up.

  13. Such an awesome read! Thanks! ❤️ We can all definitely benefit from that much needed PAUSE ….. it puts social media and the rest of life in much deeper clearer perspective. I once shut down my Facebook account ….. and felt the sweetest freedom …… although a week after, I received some calls from good well-meaning friends (they got worried since they missed my sunny vibrant presence online) …. I laughed and teased them, “Wouldn’t you rather enjoy my presence in the flesh? Let’s do coffee ☕️ haha!” After recalibration, I resumed my FB interaction on my own terms ….. I only posted when I truly wanted to and viewed the newsfeed only when I chose too (not a daily “chore” or item on my To Do List) .,…. social media is pretty much like the gift of communication and connection ….. ultimately, it’s how we use it (and not how it “uses” us) . ❤️

  14. It is excellent.

  15. I truly relate to this topic. I went on a social media break last year, unintentionally though, for couple of months I never used a smart phone and I started hanging out with people that have no clue what social media is. In those months I realized all the points in this post. Now I’m back on social media, I post frequently but I don’t compare myself to others, I unfollowEd every one that made me like I was a looser or very imperfect or gave me negative thoughts.. Now I can rock a no make up face, because that’s my true self. I am actually learning more…
    Nice post Nida, people rarely admit to things like this.

  16. Thanks a lot..limit is a real deal

  17. Suddenly I felt this was me when I decided to deactivate my Facebook account for a year. We are ghosts, loners, and intruders! Thank you for sharing your experience with us and hopefully you feel better emotionally and physically!

  18. Really great insight on a serious topic. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you feel better and can enjoy some off time.
    Sarah 😊

  19. I hope no one ever feels bad or embarrassed for admitting they are addicted to social media! You’re absolutely right that social media is designed to be addictive, especially now more than ever as social media has transformed marketing as well.

    It took me YEARS to break my habits and addiction. I started slowly by deactivating my Facebook every Lent, and it was just earlier this week that I took the plunge to fully delete my Facebook. No more deactivating. I feel absolutely better to not be “tied” to 500 friends I no longer care about. It feels great not seeing my peers rub their curated life in my face, nor see any political or cringy memes.

    I still keep Instagram but now that I recognize social media for what it is, I don’t find myself fully addicted to Instagram or as harmful as other platforms have been. I’m so happy to hear that you’re breaking off social media and found that freedom you feel.

  20. That was a solid type up. Normally, I lose interest in a post of that length.

    I deleted Facebook for two years. I loved every moment of not having social media. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through feed I spent more time reading books and engaged in other activities.

    However, over time I realized although I was not physically with people, I was still kind of connected to them with social media. Once I took social media away… especially for two years, people grew up, people had babies, people broke up, and a lot of changes happened. Does any of it have an impact on my daily life?? Maybe not, but people want to share what’s going on in their life.

    I think it comes down to being disciplined.

    Being disciplined (avoid scrolling aimlessly through feed for two hours) & using it to stay connected versus wasting time.

    I have found myself scrolling aimlessly since I reactivated it. Actually, I did it today :) And I hate myself every time after. But social media… has allowed me to re connect with people, connect with other interesting people, or read about people who have bad habits like myself. :P

    I was lucky enough to not have a phone for 6 months. Now that was a new level of being disconnected from the world. Highly recommend! People may have hate me, but it gave me a lot of time to think & not be distracted from all the madness in the world.

    Stay disciplined & remember what is important.

  21. As an artist I struggle with when to be on Instagram and as a blogger. But I must say that it makes you feel terrible when you find your self up in other people’s business. How can you be living your life and working on you if you wrapped up in nonsense.

  22. Although I am trying so hard to build my audience and enlarge my social media accounts and upset for the slowly to grow up, your post gives me peace and more confidence to live as proper as should!! (At least)

    I love your words specially the positive side of taking that break 💪🏻😻 Thank you 🙏🏻

  23. excellent

  24. I’ve written a similar piece about my social media addiction in the past and the ongoing battles that I am fighting just to curb this addiction. Looking back at my online presence since the past year, I could say I did quite a good job with limiting my access and use of social media, especially Facebook compared to how I was in the past. Although currently, it is a struggle to let go of Instagram because I use it to spread some causes which I am passionate about. So this is where the struggle is hardest. All others were either deleted or completely abandoned. And I did live through without it which kind of surprised me.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Just be the awesome person that you are in and outside of social media! :-)

  25. That’s an awesome challenge :) I’m trying to get courage to took it too 😂👌🏼

  26. Excellent read, and very ins, too. I have toyed with the thought of quitting social media myself quite times now but I haven’t dared to make the jump so far because it seems to be the only way to promote my photography online these days. If it was only for me personally, I think I’d be gone already. After reading your post, however, I feel encouraged to give the idea another deep thought and finally take action.

  27. Great post! I just recently deleted social media apps to give more time to my writing and other hobbies. It does get lonesome, but I find myself much more present around friends and family, and I’m getting better at being good company for myself. Thanks for the good read!

  28. Really loved reading your story and experiences. I too have/had a big love/hate relationship with blogging, social media and all of the irritations and nuances that go with. One of the best and most important things I did was to manage my time and not allow things to become muddled and to blog while my husband is otherwise engaged, thus not digging into our time. I also learned to stop focusing on giving weight to subscriber counts and, like you, focused instead on what I can do to help and inspire people. Yes, there is a loneliness that comes from cutting ourselves free of social media and it can be scary enough to send you scarpering back faster than you had hoped or imagined, but It’s okay to feel that way. You’ve recognised that you were addicted and you did something about it. It takes a very brave person to face their fears head on.

  29. Love this post. I love it because I believe more people need to be aware that this issue of feeling less than because of social media is real and it is hurting a whole lot of people.

    There is value to be found with social media. It’s a great marketing tool for blogs, etc. But it has a very dark side in the same way the internet does. Toxic is an understatement.

    My husband and I have zero social media accounts and we *loved* not having them. Against all of my better judgment, I wound up having to create business accounts for the blogs. For me, it has been a hard adjustment. The issue is that we have been so judged and had people say, “What do you mean you’re not on social media?” We were just as puzzled as they were at their reaction.

    I sincerely believe seeing phoniness everywhere you look is detrimental to one’s mental health. These people don’t have the lives they are projecting 99% of the time. The photos are doctored. The story they’re trying to sell isn’t real. So why waste time paying it any mind?

    Good for you for discovering that there IS life outside of social media and how toxic that world can be when used for the wrong purpose. Blessings to you & yours! I wish you all the very best. Nothing is more beautiful than real and natural. ;)

  30. I can totally relate to this.I remember myself permanently deactivating my instagram account despite the fact that it has got more followers than my new account(which I made last year).I still regret taking that action.Well,I did this for the same reason,evil eye,at that time,I was suffering from depression,anxiety due to so much family drama going on.But It was just a sad phase of my life and I try to get less affected by such depressed thoughts.Though I still end up deactivating my facebook account once in a month but it is only because I feel I have spend too much time using it .

  31. Many would agree with you, addiction is what’s wrong. Me too I have friends from all over the world but I feel lonely. However I would have no human interactions whatsoever, if wasn’t for social media, except for going to my local convenient store and attending church on a Sunday. A hermit, I am. Good posts

  32. I really enjoyed reading this post. It’s always good to take a break from social media and recharge!

  33. I totally get you. I am young and I feel like the social media is sometimes too much for me. Couple months ago I turned off my phone for three days and I can say that that three days was probably the best, much healthier for me. In three days I managed to see the world with my own eyes and not just through my phone. I saw some things in my surroundings that I never did. I realized how the past six years had an huge impact on my life. How I got so lost in social media that I forgot how to live my real life and connect with people. This blog helped me realize it even more. Thank you for that!

  34. I believe we all have to take a break from social media and get more from our lives, not just checking our phones and laptops all the time.

  35. Such an inspiring post! Amazing!

  36. Loved this. I am also taking a break from Social Media. I find I am getting more connected to myself and others. I have more time to do things with my life. However, some of these things may require that I share on social media but I will cross that bridge when I get there.
    Your post was very well written and i related completely to it.

  37. Thank you! I’m doing a detox as well… I don’t know I’ll ever go back!

  38. Totally agree with what you are all saying.

  39. Wonderful post. I just posted a blog at http://www.robinslp.wordpress.com on this very issue – how technology affects is and am grateful for your insight!

  40. Quit social media a few years back, deleted FB and never installed Instagram. I don’t think will ever go back to it. Quitting them is really a huge sigh of relief and is much needed for our mental peace. Thank you for the great article..it’s very well written (Y)

    The Random Bangalorean

  41. […] I finally took a social media break — Read on nidachowdhry.com/2019/07/30/i-finally-took-a-social-media-break/ […]

  42. I did the same on Friday. For me, it was about having unrealistic expectations about how people…especially my family chose to respond/not respond to my posts or my reactions to theirs. And it created even more of an isolated feeling with my kids…the empty nest syndrome. I could see they were living great lives which I am happy about but unrealistically I wanted to be a part of it still…and at this age they are young…enjoying life. That’s normal. My reactions were not. Besides I couldn’t sit down anywhere without looking at my phone. And I certainly haven’t been creating or engaging in real, undistracted conversations. It’s been good. Peaceful. Freeing. I know my kids are enjoying their lives. And I am enjoying mine again. Will I go back? Maybe. It is a great way to keep in touch long distance. I don’t have that answer yet.

  43. Thanks for writing! I can really relate to a lot of what you’ve written. In 2016, I actually gave up the Internet (not just social media) for two months because I was struggling with a lot of distraction, information overload and comparison. It really helped with perspective – knowing what you value and what you don’t – but it’s also so hard to maintain that healthy and mindful attitude towards social media in particular. As you say, they’ve been designed to hook us in and so the odds are stacked against us in maintaining this! I really wish you all the best on your journey — it’s an ongoing process.

  44. Awesome. This is a crazy world we live in. Glad you’re finding some balance.

  45. Hehe Nazr and haram police make me tight on social media

  46. Hi Nida,
    I can’t recall how I came across your blog via word press but this post resonates with me. At the end of June I took a blogging break. I have dipped into posts and done a couple of posts pending my ‘official’ comeback.
    As I had social events in July and August this seemed a reasonable time to break.
    My blog is about 18 months old and I am still working my way around it. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with the blog, friend commitments and juggling everyday life at the same time.
    From reading this post I can see that Facebook and my general phone usage may have been a big part of the problem.
    From today I am going to deactivate my account and see how it goes.
    Thank you.

  47. Yes! You are absolutely right, social media is addicting. Not only is it addicting; it’s manipulating, toxic, and the list goes on forever. I have decided to take a break from social media as well. So far, it has been refreshing. I’ve taken up a few hobbies and find myself getting my “chores” done a lot easier.

    When you aren’t constantly checking on everyone else’s lives and posting your life for the entire world to see, the small, devalued, beauties in life become more apparent and much more appreciated.

    – Joyous France <3

  48. I very much enjoyed your fresh thoughts and balanced view on this subject. I am currently looking to find that necessary balance right now myself! Thank you.

  49. Hey!!

    I might be young but I had to look up what Xanga was.

    As for social media, I was really addicted to scrolling on instagram. And I didn’t care about the people that I followed, it was for the memes ( some were really funny ).

    I deleted that app from my phone and poof its gone. I installed Forest on my phone to prevent me from picking up my phone at work. I reduced my time on Twitter, even deleted when I couldn’t deal with the tons of information I got from there. Now, eventually will end up deleting Reddit.

    I don’t know anymore how to enjoy being online without finding a feed and scrolling forever. Someday I will.

    1. Hi again Nida,
      I did deactivate my account taking the option to return if required. I kept my Facebook messenger account.
      I was going to ask to reblog this post and when looking to see if your site had that option I continued to scroll down people’s comments and I could see that your replies Do not appear but I know you replied on my ‘feeder’. Another word press option or a conundrum?
      I find engaging with other bloggers in a constructive way assists my personal growth and mental health. The absence of Facebook distractions will help make this commitment much easier and I hope to further explore the world of word press.
      Thanks again Nida for giving me this insight.

  50. This is very funny but insightful. I think I am addicted in Instagram. I also did some time deactivating Instagram for 3 days and even in three days it did change my lifestyle. See that’s why it was so much influencing my life! Lol.

  51. I see the three options at the bottom of your post are ‘indoctrinate others via Facebook & twitter’??? or e mail. Does this defeat the object?

  52. That’s the right decision. I have been in a social media break for about 20 days now. I deleted my facebook account and I don’t regret it. I felt that I didn’t have time for a lot of things and I was unaware of the time I spent there. One of my friends took that step and told me how she felt about it and that was my turning point. I took some time before stepping up but I did it and I actually had enough time to read more books learning some crochet exercising more having real conversation and most of it staying away from negative people there. I hope your article encourages others and break free from social media. Thank you so much for this.

  53. I am proud of you, that is amazing story i ever read, thanks for share, i hope you get better and enjoyed your life :)

  54. I can totally relate to your post. I battle within myself about what I’m doing with social media. Sometimes is good to have but mostly I want to just get rid of all of it. I really do have a time frame in my mind when I’ll get off. I hope I have the courage to do it. Thank you for you wonderful article.

  55. Great post and agree with it!

  56. I uninstalled Instagram just a few days back. Feels…different. Started facing what’s actually happening in the mind, instead of being distracted by notifications.
    I started my blog on here after that, where I’m gonna post rap and writings.

  57. Very well written, and I feel that I’m not alone with this. I decided to delete my facebook account last month, it feels really good, and I don’t regret it at all. I still have my instagram account though, because that’s the only platform that I can keep in touch with my friends in different cities and countries, I still need that so I don’t lose them.. when you move to a different country where there’s no one you know about, I think the social media is the only platform that can connect you, well, everyone is in there. I didn’t say that social media is bad, because most of the posts I read are good things, but then when the good things start to make you feel depressed, then I started to ask myself why? Sometimes, I feel what I did was not enough, “they made it there, why I don’t?” .. Since then, I really had a thought that spending too much time on social media is kinda toxic for my own health. After that I started reducing my time scrolling at instagram, I only did it 10-15 minutes at home.. or sometimes I made it even one day without looking at all when I was so busy in real life. How I made it ? Instead of checking instagram, I switch it to play 1-2 hours game or watching Netflix. Thanks for sharing this..

  58. I was on Twitter and recently, Telegram, a lot – engaging with political accounts mainly – this is totally toxic.
    So I’ve started a new Twitter account where I will be just following art accounts (art is political in a way – but usually in an uplifting way).
    Also, new to WordPress – so hopefully won’t take too long to get the hang of it.

  59. Same here i deleted all my social media accounts, I felt suffocated. It feels empty but in a good way

  60. Loved this post! I recently went through a similar thing with Facebook. What a breath of fresh air it is to not be “hooked” anymore!! <3

  61. mishoonthego

    The SOCIAL MEDIA Monster
    This literally spoke to my soul! I got rid of (weLL deactivated) my FB Page in 2013/14 ish … it was a huge source of anxiety and mental discomfort. I say this to ppl and they look at me like I have 2 heads. I can recall co workers and bosses drilling me about not having an FB Page, odd but true. I got rid of FB and held onto my IG Page. I felt more at ease with scrolling and looking at ppl’s pictures. Pictures of their wonderful cars, clothes, shoes, jewelry, bodies, relationships, homes, diets, meal preps, work outs, recipes, vacations, parties, children, careers…………. After constantly viewing and inundating myself around the clock with these images and rhetoric about life, style, body images “relationship & career goals”… I realized that constantly viewing all of these partial truths was damaging to my well being. Initially I turned off notifications as these can be a huge distraction and then I made a pact with myself that January 1 of every new year I’d take 30 days off. 30 days to get centered, aligned, focused & in tune. I’ve now learned that the 30 days isn’t enough (for me) I now take as much time as I need whenever I need it. I especially do this when I have a lot of things going on in my “real life” that require me to be present as the BEST VERSION of me. Not the confused frustrated me bc I’m following someone with 6 kids killer abs and an amazing 6 day a week workout routine. Meanwhile I can barely roll out of
    bed in time for spin class consistently. I now tell myself enough Is enough when things mentally get foggy and I’m missing out on real life due to mentally comparing how I too can get those abs with 4 kids and a pizza n wine night every Friday evening. Impossible and totally unfair of me to torture myself with such scrutiny. I no longer allow it to escalate to this. I now pull back whenever I feel that my way of thinking and showing up for myself and my family is being altered. To hell with social media if it’s going to effect me at a magnitude that borders on signs of depression. I’m now trying to focus on helping my 11 year old daughter navigate through social media unscathed by the unreasonable life and body persona / expectations. I worry about her more than myself.

  62. This was a great read! I am also currently on an indefinite break from Youtube where I spent too much time watching other people live their lives on vlogs. Its been really hard though! Glad to see you experienced some real benefits in taking a break e.g taking time to connect with your real friends. I’ll think of those benefits as I detox. Hope you find a good balance with social media!

  63. This was so nice to read, so reassuring to hear a common opinion. I’ve never signed up for instagram because I didn’t see what the point is of just sharing and scrolling through pictures. I genuinely want to tell and show the people who care and have them show me about their life as well… in person! Where we can actually talk and interact and enjoy life together instead of shoving certain parts of it in each others face. But sometimes it is isolating. Sometimes it hurts to think that people can’t bother to message me becuase I don’t have instagram or bother to go on snapchat. I just have to keep reminding myself that if they cant bother to even use a different way of messaging to contact me then they probably weren’t good friends anyways

  64. I like the idea of guarding your headspace. I need to do more of that. And I think it’s about time people start admitting how addictive social media is.

  65. It’s really necessary to take social media breaks once in a while. You get that peace and calm!

    Also check out

  66. I felt this on a NO JOKE spiritual level as I debate whether or not to get rid of the never ending ‘scroll hole’ ( best description ever btw). It has become a popularity contest that I find myself an audience member to and I am so done. So thank you for writing this and artuculating what I have been feeling for a while.

  67. good idea of social media break. i am also on social media break thanks to you.

  68. I’m on a social media break right now and it is the best , it really clears your mind & thoughts .. love your post !

  69. It is important to take away your mobile away for while and use that time for your hobbies it really helps to be more fresh and mentally refreshing. Your post is Encouraging to those people who have same problem.

  70. Inspired by your writing, I am taking a social media fast for one hour right now and reading a book. Might connect with a colleague. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of connection.

  71. Me llamó la atención tu articulo, me alegro que hayas hecho la pausa de tus redes y concentrarte en otros aspectos que habías dejado por un lado. El hacer esas pausas una buena oportunidad para la salud del alma y dedicarle tiempo a lo que en realidad importa, o sea a tì mismo. Felicidades por compartir y por darte tiempo!!

  72. While I do enjoy social media and love to make creative and appealing photos, I’m starting to distance myself little by little from it to set boundaries. Even as a Christian blogger, it can become overwhelming: perfect pictures all the time projecting a oh-so perfect life (when really life is nowhere like that at all). I’m all for being positive and expressing my faith but I can’t maintain the illusion of perfection. This post was EVERYTHING!!! I LOVED IT!!! Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you 💛

  73. Gabriele Hemmant

    I absolutely love this! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in social media, I had 3 separate Instagram accounts once because I kept having ideas on how I could ‘present’ my life and ended up deleting them and just being me on my own personal account! It wasn’t a complete disconnection but wow it made me feel so much better! Great post, great read, really refreshing.

  74. I too have taken a long social media break. I can’t begin to describe how freeing it feels not feeling the need to keep up with everything and everyone. I really enjoyed this post!

  75. i also

  76. Thanks for sharing. I can echo your feelings. I usually take a month off every year and don’t usually look forward to going back. I don’t think we are designed to know so much of what other people are doing. It’s a negative distraction when you’re working towards something.

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