2021 was a year of transition in sooooo many ways… and it turns out that when it comes to social media, it was too.
Now, February 2022, I am leaving for good.
I notice now that I actually spent all of 2021 making mental (and written) notes of how else to do marketing (other than on social media), reinforcing everything I learned in Leonie Dawson’s course Marketing without social media.
Everyone will have you believe that social media is a MUST when it comes to online marketing, when, really, alllll the other ways that have worked for thousands of years still work, even if you have an online business.
So let’s go back in time a little.
On 2 February 2021, I announced I wasn’t going to be on Facebook any more apart from being in the few groups I owned and the few groups I was already part of and valued, and that I wasn’t going to be on Instagram any more either (not that I was much on there anyway) and I deactivated my IG account. (I was not and still am not on any other platforms.)
Within around 6 weeks, I had reactivated my Instagram account because I realised the few people I really loved following didn’t send newsletters – or only sporadically, and I was already missing them. Crazy but true!
I also felt a bit lost, disconnected.
I don’t think it was one of the withdrawal symptoms but I realised I had gone cold turkey too soon. Maybe I hadn’t prepared properly, or as well as I thought I had. After that, I still didn’t use Instagram that much, and it was off my phone for a few days or weeks very regularly, but yes, I was still using it, to follow the people whose feeds and stories I really enjoyed as well as to talk and write about what I was doing and offering. A few posts here and there, a few stories (more regularly as I enjoyed doing them, even though sometimes I felt they were taking far too long to create).
Fast forward to the weekend just gone and once again, my brain feels like mush and a tangle of wires, ready to explode. My thoughts are racing again, anxiety is mounting (it feels like ‘worry’ to me, but it must be anxiety), and the same questions, ideas and comments are ceaselessly going around and around in my head.
By Sunday afternoon, I had fully recognised the signs and I just knew. It was time to leave social media and drastically reduce my phone use (for emails especially), and this time it was time to leave EVERYTHING, and FOR GOOD.
And so the decision was made, on Sunday 13 February 2022, ready to start a ‘new’ life off social media from Monday 14 February. My best Valentine’s Day gift to myself EVER!
This time, it includes Facebook groups too (apart from the local ones I belong to and the local one I own, called Grab a Bag, which I’m not quite ready to delegate yet (but may well do at some point this year), as I love the ethos behind it and it is dear to my heart – keeping our towns and villages clear of litter and clutter by doing regular litter picking, integrating it into our daily life. I have unfollowed or left most of the other groups I’m part of. I will keep pruning over the next few weeks.
I am now convinced that ALL of the above is bad for my brain, EVEN IF it sometimes feels good and feels like connection (which is good for us, right?!).
I may or may not have AD(H)D. I think I do and I also think it’s impossible to verify because one of the bases for the diagnosis is to look into your childhood, and by all accounts, while I had a very difficult relationship with my father, the rest was idyllic, and I had a LOT of time and space to relieve the potential anxiety and overwhelm that may have built up in my brain and body the rest of the time. Even my school was tiny – 12–15 pupils over 4 ‘years’/classes, in ONE classroom, with ONE teacher, for the whole duration of primary! Then after that I found all sorts of ways to relieve any kind of tension I may have felt – I loved studying, I loved reading, I loved writing, I loved time alone in nature, I loved riding my bike, I loved listening to music and writing out all the lyrics of my favourite songs, spending hours upon hours listening/stopping/writing/listening/stopping, etc. We didn’t have YouTube or Google back then!)
I have definitely entered perimenopause.
I am definitely a highly sensitive person (HSP).
And what I know for sure now is: using and just BEING on social media MESSES UP WITH MY BRAIN. There is like a space in my brain dedicated to them, whether I even use them or not! It’s just THERE. Waiting to be filled. With unnecessary words, images, feelings and emotions.
It’s just not worth it any more.
Whatever the reason for my brain fog, stopping using social media can only help repair my brain.
The truth is that, little by little, my brain is disintegrating, my memory is worse and worse, and I am losing connection with real life and real people in my family and my community.
So on Saturday night, I did what I call a MEGA EFT SESSION. The kind that lasts at least an hour (this one lasted nearly an hour and 45 minutes!).
I cried, I shook, I said hundreds of powerful things – words, sentences, phrases and statements that were thoughts-in-action, revelations and decisions.
It was very powerful.
I went from an 8/10 to a 0/10.
I went from stress to serenity.
I went from chaos to clarity.
I went from complexity to simplicity (my word of the year).
When I fell sleep (after reading for a few minutes), it was a quarter past midnight.
I slept really well and I woke up just before 8am, feeling calm and content.
I then journaled for an hour and wrote it all out.
Starting with creating an image for Instagram and Facebook to announce that I am OUT. That I have finally put the final nail in the social media coffin.
Then I re-listened to Leonie’s course called Marketing without Social Media and it confirmed everything I was feeling and thinking again, and reinforced my resolve.
I am OUT.
Today, Monday, and my brain feels better already. Not having to check ANYTHING on my phone feels like freedom to me, which is my top value.
Just emailing my community and just writing my blog feels really good. And it feels simple and clear.
If you have been teetering on the edge too, if you feel you have been teetering for far too long, if you feel now is perhaps the time but you’re not sure how to do it or why exactly you feel that it would be a good idea (there are SO many reasons why it’s a good idea!), I encourage you to at least check out Leonie’s course. It’s only US$99 (£73) and although I LOVE all of Leonie’s courses and they’ve ALL been fabulous investments for myself and my business, I can honestly say that this is my favourite and most probably the most life-changing and the most enlightening one.
ALSO, she’s doing a live round of it starting 1st March, with TWO live calls, and you have access to the recordings and the course for at least a year, AND you get complimentary monthly live calls with Leonie for as long as she runs them (she runs them for all her courses, and each course is available for at least a year, so… it will be at least 12 monthly live calls and you can ask her ANYTHING about ANY of her courses!)
You don’t need to leave social media entirely either – I spent 2021 not quite leaving them, it was a transition, and I wasn’t sure whether it was going to be my new way with social media for ever or whether it was just a transition, but now I know. It was a transition. And Leonie explains how to navigate this transition too 🙂
(The link above is an affiliate link. I only talk about and recommend people and courses I know and love. I’m only an affiliate for three people/organisations, and Leonie is one of them. If you invest in her course using the link above, I will earn a small commission.)
My brain, my family and my friends are infinitely more precious than anything I could get out of social media.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t been alllllll bad. I will forever be grateful for all the connections I have made thanks to them. The reason why it was ‘only’ a transition in 2021 is because of precisely that: I wanted to carry on making fabulous and deep connections with like-minded people, and I did. Thank you, thank you, but it does and did come at a cost, which I can no longer bear. I now trust that the Universe will keep helping me meet other beautiful souls – just in other ways 🙂
Fighting the algorithms and the new attitude and policies of the owners of these platforms is not justified any longer either.
Believe me, there was a point last year where I felt that I would rather pay, say, £100 a month and at least reach the people who ‘like’ me and ‘follow’ me (around 500 on each platform). I didn’t need to reach thousands. I just wanted to reach the people who had already said they liked what I had to say and offer.
But the owners of the platforms had said that they would be free for ever, so they couldn’t charge us now, could they?!
So the workaround they have found is to force us to pay for ads, and these ads are performing less and less well for everyone (I have NEVER used FB/IG ads and never will, but I have heard of so many failures with these ads, at great cost to the people who’ve used them, and not just financial…).
Sure, I got a few more followers a month on Instagram (I didn’t get any on Facebook! Well, a few came and left, and others came in their places…), but in a whole year, NONE of them turned into clients or even contacted me.
So… what is the point of posting on social media?!
Final argument: being tempted to support, and actually supporting, others in those lovely spaces (aka ‘Facebook groups’) comes at a cost too, the same cost: my brain, my family, my friends, my book-reading time, my yoga sessions, my freedom, my dream life.
I now recognise this fully and I will come back to these words if I am ever tempted to use social media again. (And no, I won’t start using TikTok or whatever, haha!)
And here’s a sentence I uttered to myself many times over the last few months:
WE ARE NOT DESIGNED TO BE IN TOUCH WITH SO MANY PEOPLE SO OFTEN.
It is overwhelming, it is time-consuming, it is sanity-snatching.
EDIT IN MARCH 2023: I seem to have managed to find some kind of balance, whereby I sometimes delete the apps from my phone, sometimes have them on, sometimes post for a few days, then stop posting for a few weeks. In the end, that’s how I have always ‘done’ social media: on and off, and ‘on’ only when inspired. I have forgiven the owners of the platforms and I just want to have a presence on Instagram and Facebook. I have stopped worrying about algorithms. There are other ways of reaching my people, but it’s also good to have a presence, for when those very people want to check me out and see if they live my vibe.
Books about digital minimalism
If you want to read an excellent book about the effects of the use of smartphones (and therefore social media, if the famous logos are to be found on there, even if ‘hidden’!), I also highly recommend How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price (only £5.99 in paperback at the moment). Check it out here.
And if you need further proof about how bad it is not to be able to do ‘deep work’ because you’re constantly interrupted by your phone (and other devices), check out Cal Newport’s books Deep Work and Digital Minimalism.
When I sat down to journal yesterday morning, I pulled the card ‘The moment I realign with love, clear direction is presented to me’ from Gabby Bernstein’s oracle card deck The Universe Has Your Back. It was MOST apt.
On Saturday night, as I tapped, I realigned with love, with myself, with my dreams and with my ideal life, and the clarity that came through was astounding.It still takes courage to ACT on the messages received, for sure, but you’re already half way there if decisions show themselves as inevitable in your awareness.
I have only just realised, while posting this picture, that the background image on the card looks like a womb. And when you know that in terms of Human Design I am a pure Generator and I have a ‘Sacral Authority’, well this all makes sense! I listened to my sacral, I even asked her questions, and she responded with no doubt in her tone!
Before I started writing this blog post (originally a newsletter to my community), I pulled the card ‘I am the dreamer of my dreams’, from the same deck.
Yes I am.
Where have you been compromising? Where have you made decisions that didn’t feel totally aligned with YOU, YOUR heart and YOUR womb space?