How to Unplug from Social Media (and Be a Much Happier Mom!)

In today’s super-connected world, it might seem impossible to unplug from social media, but it can really do you a lot of good. Here’s why.

In a recent study published in August of 2020, 61% of moms admitted to feeling like they spend too much time on their smartphones, with 44% of moms indicating that they spend too much time on social media.

While those percentages seem high, the most interesting thing about the study is that all of the data was gathered before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to Nielsen estimates, the pandemic has caused huge spikes in screen time use, with adults spending more than 4 and a half hours a day using an app or the internet on their smartphones. 

Common Sense media estimates those numbers are even higher, stating in a recent article that parents of teens and tweens spend almost eight hours a day using screens for personal, non-work-related use, such as watching TV, social networking, and video gaming. 

If you’re reading this on your phone (or have it next to you), take a minute to check your own screen time for the past week – if you’re like us, it’s probably way more than you’d expect! 

mom and toddler

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Negative impact of social media

While many people are using social media to stay connected to friends and family during the pandemic, the jury is out regarding whether this is a good thing. 

According to a Forbes article from 2017, there are several major ways social media can have a negative impact on our mental health: 

Social media can be addictive.

Several studies have shown that there is significant evidence that social media addiction is real. According to a study done at Nottingham Trent University

“addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use [social networks] excessively.”

Social media use is linked to less life-satisfaction

Several studies over the past decade have indicated that instead of creating a feeling of connection, using Facebook actually makes us feel less happy. 

In one particular study from 2013, study participants reported feeling less satisfied with their lives after using Facebook than they did before logging on. 

Social media detox

It leads us towards comparison 

Social media often becomes a breeding ground for comparison issues. When we see the highly-filtered highlight reel of another person’s life, it is very easy to feel that our normal day-to-day life just doesn’t compare. 

Interestingly, a study carried out in the U.K. reports that Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook rank as the worst social media platforms for mental well-being. The heavy focus on image sharing within all of these apps is suspected to be the cause of these constant comparisions.

The forecasting error of social media

One of the most detrimental aspects of social media is that we often view it as a way to decompress or relax.

If we have a few minutes to sit down, or find ourselves standing in line at the store, we’re likely to pull out our phones and start scrolling. 

Because connecting with others is a great way to decrease our stress, it seems to make sense that connecting online would be helpful. When it comes to whether or not this is true, research is inconclusive at best. 

Often, we think social media will help, but in the end, we close out the app feeling less happy or satisfied with our lives than when we initially opened it.

If this post resonates with you, pin it to your Pinterest or share it with a friend!

unplug from social media

The problems with “sharenting” 

The dangers of sharenting are also another negative aspect regarding to social media.

What is sharenting, you ask? 

Sharenting is the constant documentation of your adventures in parenting – posting pictures, stories, and videos of you and your kids as you go about your days. 

Often this is done to connect with other moms who may be going through similar difficulties. 

But there are a few things about sharenting that are important to consider:

  • The information we share in social media platforms doesn’t truly belong to us
  • Social media companies mine this information for all relevant data for economic and advertising purposes
  • Our kids may not appreciate the information that has been shared about them by the time they are teens or young adults

For a riveting young teenagers’ perspective on how she felt about her mom’s sharenting, read this article here! It will definitely give you something to think about! 

Related article: The Step-by-Step Guide to Having an Unforgettable Screen-Free Week

How to take a break from social media 

Okay, with all of that said, are you ready to take a break from social media? Here are five steps to help you have a successful social media detox: 

1. Decide on the level of social media detox you want

Before you start, it’s important to decide how much of a break you want to take. Do you just want to decrease the amount of time you spend on social media, or are you looking to make a clean break? 

Deciding how intense you want your social media break to be will determine the actions you’ll need take. 

For example, if you just want to decrease the amount of time you spend on social media, you may consider turning off notifications for all of your social media apps. 

For a medium amount of intervention, you might set timers in your phone settings for the amount of time you allow yourself to use social media apps during the day. 

And for a total break, it might be a good idea to delete all social media apps from your phone completely! (You can always re-install them later if you want.)

2. Choose how long your you’ll unplug from social media

Once you decide on the intensity of your social media detox, you’ll want to decide how long your break from social media will last. 

Will it be for one day? 

A week?

Ten days? 

A month?

Permanently? 

Whatever you decide, it’s a great idea to mark this on every calendar you own so you’ll be constantly reminded of your goal!

self care challenge printable

Related article: The Ultimate 30-day Self Care Challenge for Moms

3. Choose something else to do with your time

Before you decide to unplug from social media, it can really help to make a list of things you’ll do instead when you have a “few extra minutes” that you used to fill with social media!

Here’s a quick list to help you get started: 

  • read a real book
  • FaceTime a friend
  • pick up an old hobby
  • declutter a drawer or part of your closet
  • take a power nap
  • sit outside and enjoy nature
  • play a game or read a book with your kids
  • write a thank you note

4. Tell the world in advance

Creating some accountability for your social media detox is a great idea!

Tell your family what you’ll be doing and ask them to help you! 

Additionally, you can also post about it online. This will help you stay accountable and will give your friends and family a head’s up about why you won’t be posting for the amount of time you’ve chosen. 

You could say something like, “I’ll be taking a social media break for the next two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to stay connected! This is just an experiment to see if a social media detox will help me to be happier and more present in my life. If you’re interested in trying it too, let me know!” 

5. Focus on being present

Once you unplug from social media, do your best to stay present throughout the day!

Here are twelve great tips to help you do this:

  1. Every time you have a few minutes of down time and you reach for your phone, think twice about it
  2. Leave your phone in a separate room during most of the day
  3. Stop and observe your kids playing, eating, talking, and laughing
  4. Turn off all push notifications
  5. Put your phone across the room when you sleep
  6. Keep your phone in the backseat of the car when you drive
  7. Don’t check email in the first 90 minutes of your day
  8. Keep your phone out of the bathroom
  9. Remove distracting apps from your phone’s home screen
  10. Use airplane mode – even if you’re not on an airplane!
  11. Don’t bring your phone to the table during meals
  12. Turn off all screens 60 minutes before bed

Finally, remember that it’s okay to not always be connected to all the chatter of social media all the time. 

mommy morning time is a great way to spend individual time with your kids

Keep reading to see what other moms have to say about how unplugging from social media was helpful for them! 

The benefits of taking a break from social media

One young mom reports that unplugging from social media has helped her to save a lot of mental energy, become more productive, stop comparing herself to others, and feel more connected to her husband and kid. 

Another mom writes that quitting social media was the right thing for her because she could feel herself becoming addicted to receiving attention. Likes and comments were starting to matter more than the actual events that she was trying to capture for her next post.

Since taking a break from social media, she reports feeling more gratitude for her life, less comparison issues, and is now able to “delve into her REAL life.” 

Research from Denmark in 2015 definitely supports these moms’ experiences. In a study of over 1,000 participants, it was demonstrated that taking a break from social media helped participants to feel more life satisfaction and to have a more positive outlook on life. 

What mom wouldn’t want that, right?

Final thoughts about taking a break from social media 

At Jen Bradley|MOMs, we’ve gone through all the ups and downs with social media.

In 2020, I gave up Facebook so I could read more real books. And it’s been amazing.

For years and years I’d said that I didn’t have time to read, but the truth was that I WAS reading – but it was all on social media.

Fast forward to 2021 when I realized I had replaced Facebook with Instagram.

It wasn’t until I started tracking my Instagram usage every week that I realized I had a problem. Even when I told myself I’d use it less, I was still spending two to three hours a day trying to grow my following and engage, engage, engage.

Finally I took a business course that helped me see that what I was counting as part of my business was really more of a hobby – and it was a costly hobby at that!

So I closed up the Instagram shop on June 26th, just before my daughter’s birthday.

And while I thought it would be really hard, I haven’t missed it at all.

Instead, I’ve found so much more time in my day, deeper connections with my kids and husband, and a stronger sense of who I am and who I want to be.

If this post resonates you, please share it with those you love (yes, on social media!) and then unplug and see how much happier you can be as a mom!

Related articles about mom life:

13 Cringeworthy Mom Fails to Help You Feel Better About Mom Life

How to Create the Best SAHM Daily Schedule

21 Funny Letter Board Quotes About Mom Life

50 Beautiful and Inspiring Quotes for Moms

21 Great Ideas to Help You Be a Happy Stay-at-Home Mom

How to Actually Say Good-bye to Mom Guilt Forever

Have you ever done a social media detox?

Pin the image below to return to this post in the future!

social media break
How to Unplug from Social Media (and Be a Much Happier Mom!)How to Unplug from Social Media (and Be a Much Happier Mom!)How to Unplug from Social Media (and Be a Much Happier Mom!)How to Unplug from Social Media (and Be a Much Happier Mom!)How to Unplug from Social Media (and Be a Much Happier Mom!)

Jen Bradley, the founder of Jen Bradley|MOMs

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom of five kids who believes you can find joy in mom life – mostly by learning how to simplify motherhood! Read More …

 

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