Beyond Social Media

Will It Always Feel This Easy? One Week Off Social Media

It’s officially been 7 days—one week off social media. Here’s what’s happened with my mental and physical dependencies on social media and what I’ve replaced them with.

I hesitate to type this out, for fear that it will come back to haunt me. But for those wondering, my first full week of no social media wasn’t too difficult.

I’m not sure if this means I’m stubborn or calloused or indifferent. (Probably a little of each.) But I honestly think it means that I was ready. Beyond ready.

one week off social media. here's what happened

For most of us in this stage of life raising kids, life is busy. All the time. And being the final month of the school year, May is super busy between final sports games, end of year school activities and tons of outside events.

If I would have quit social media in winter, when the pace of life is typically slower and I’m huddled inside more, it might have been more difficult. For me, this timing of the year aligned perfectly with the timing of my heart. And for that, I am grateful.

>> Read More About What Pushed Me Over the Edge to Quit Social Media <<

Here’s look back at the past week of no social media, chronic behaviorism that continued, how I refocused my time off social media and what’s changed after 7 days of no scroll.

Chronic Behaviorism

Despite knowing that I had deleted social media from my phone, I still found myself reaching for my phone unnecessarily during downtime.

I can’t tell you how many times I checked the weather app each day because I realized there wasn’t much else for me to do on my phone!!!

It’s a bit scary how much our ingrained habits will lead our bodies to move in a certain way even when our minds know better. Most of the time, I had my phone in my hands before even realizing what was happening.

As useful as phones have become to daily life, it was very interesting to realize how tethered I had been to my phone for so long. This idea extends beyond social media, but I truly think that social media app developers have perfected the art of creating dopamine triggers, which keep us on social apps longer and keep us coming back more often.

Two years ago, just before I turned 40 and was yet again trying to find the right balance with social media in my life, I read (actually, I listened to the audio books of) Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again (here’s my husband’s critique). These books take a deep dive into the strategies that companies use to keep you on social media and were super helpful as I began to build a framework for my own thoughts on the subject.

Related: 6 Healthy Habits for Women in their Forties

Retrain the Mind; Retrain the Body

I’m not going to pretend I’ve retrained my mind after one week off social media. They say habits take 21 days to create or break, and I have a feeling that technology habits may take even longer simply because of the effort developers put in to keeping you on technology. It’s quite scary.

At any rate, I’m on a mission to retrain my mind to stay away from the noise and distractions and instead appreciate the quiet and downtimes.

As of April 2024, users spend an average of 143 minutes on social media each day. Amazingly, this is down from the average of 151 minutes per day they spent in 2023. The fact remains that roughly 2.5 hours a day scrolling social media is simply too much time.

I’m actually not exactly sure how much time I spent on social media per day, because my phone was counting any internet usage and GroupMe (for kids sports) as social usage. But I do know that if 143 minutes is the daily average for social media, simple math tells us:

The average user spends 1,001 minutes a week on social media.

Mind blown. Conscience guilty. Heart humbled.

How I Replaced My Time on Social Media

So what did I do with my newfound free time or pockets of downtime during that first week off social media?

  • Embraced the waiting. There were moments of waiting, such as school car line, where I embraced the quiet moment of solitude. I would notice the nuances of creation and take deep breaths before loading up four kids in my car. Other times, I would use downtime to be more social in person. Before my son’s baseball game, I found myself chatting more with other parents instead of scrolling to pass the time.
  • Prayed more. I’m mentioned this in my newsletter, but praying is a spiritual discipline that I’m trying to cultivate so that it becomes fluid and second nature. It doesn’t come as easily to me as other disciplines, but being off of social media has removed so much distraction from my life that I have more pockets of time for prayer, especially intercessory prayer.
  • Left my phone more. We had three parties in three days this past weekend and each time I left my phone in the car. My family was with me, so I wasn’t worried about anyone needing me. It was very freeing. I think this is one of the nostalgias of growing up in the 80s and 90s. We didn’t have phones in our pockets, but we survived and even thrived.
  • Wrote more. I published a couple blog posts since I had more time and I wrote my first newsletter of Life Beyond: A inbox encouragement for those who walk by faith and not by sight. Here’s a look at my first issue.
  • Brainstormed more. I’m a thinker and an idealist. When you quiet some of life’s distractions, it’s amazing what the creative mind can yield.

What’s Changed in One Week Off Social Media

When I think back to my life during this first week off social media, I’ve noticed a few subtle changes, that I hope will begin to snowball over the coming weeks.

  • More focused. My attention isn’t pulled in as many directions. I can focus on a task and complete it faster without my mind wandering.
  • Deeper thinking. More downtime without scrolling has led to deep thoughts and ponderings in the quiet spaces during my days. I’m thinking more critically about issues because I’m giving myself more time to think about them, quite honestly.
  • More creative. Social media is super creative, so let me clarify. With social media, such as Instgram, (which is pictorially driven), I was bombarded by the creativity of amazing content creators. So much so that I wanted to “do all the things,” such as plant a bigger garden, bake a loaf of sourdough twice a week, homeschool my kids, build a green house, buy a cow for milking, and on and on. As you can see, these ideas escalated into something that wasn’t realistic for me. But without the heavy influence of others on my creativity, I’ve found a more focused creativeness, one that welcomes critical thinking and refinement into the creation process.
  • No pressure to keep up. Without social media, I don’t feel any pressure to keep up with anything. Even though I worried about FOMO (fear of missing out) and being out of the loop in conversations, I’ve written off the idea of constant updates to the freedom of not knowing. Honestly, this means less gossip and less knowledge of the unimportant in life. And I feel like big things, important things, will eventually find their way to me if I need to know about them. (It’s still a little early to know how this will play out.) Instead of getting “news” from Facebook, I just subscribed to The Pour Over for news with a Christian perspective. And I get an email with the link to the online version of my small-town newspaper once a week, which keeps me up to date with what’s happening locally.
  • Deliberate conversations. Without knowing the latest updates on people, I’m relying on my growing people skills to ask good questions and carry on better in-person conversations. I’m a work in progress, but I know several amazing conversationalists, and the one thing they have in common is asking good questions. So this is a skill that I will be working on.

I honestly thought the first week off social media would be the hardest week, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe the desire ebbs and flows as the seasons of life shift. At any rate, I’ll check back in at the one-month mark.

Have you tried one week off social media? How did you fare?



I'm a full-time wife and semi-stay-at-home mom to four young kids. Day to day, I help my husband with his small business, but when I have any extra time, you can find me cooking or being active outdoors with my family. We live at the foothills of the North Georgia mountains and are embracing modern homesteading month by month.

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