Notes from a Month Away from Facebook and Instagram// Nervous System RE-BOOT

Today is supposed to be my first day back on Instagram and Facebook after an almost month-long hiatus. I haven’t logged in or posted yet, though, because I wanted to, first, be really sure that I do want to go back (in the case of Facebook, I’m really not sure) and, second, be really clear about my own terms of engagement for the time being. So I thought it might be useful to write about that here.

To be honest, I do not miss Facebook at all. My Facebook usage (which, honestly, was much less than it was a year ago) was wrecking all kinds of havoc on my nervous system, my body (my exodus was prompted by “iphone elbow”, which I acquired from Facebooking in bed) and the way I wanted to be living my day-to-day life. The break was good. For the first week, I found myself thinking about status updates and wondering what people were up to online, but after that, I was really grateful for the new space in my brain that had been occupied by Facebook threads, posts, responses, pings, invites and the rest of it. To be sure, I have missed a few birth announcements (and likely a death announcement) and the sweet deluge of back-to-school photos posted by friends, but I have found other ways to get the information I want: mostly by calling, texting or emailing people directly. What a concept!

Interestingly, I found myself seeking out news and information on my own, rather than being subject to whatever other people on Facebook were ranting about (and what Facebook’s algorithms actually picked up). I didn’t realize how my feed was affecting my online experience until I actually exercised more choice about what content I was consuming. And being conscious about that feels good. Feels better.

Additionally, I got a LOT done this month. I read a lot. I created so many videos, audio recordings and pieces of art. I just sat there a lot, too. I did a TON of Restorative Yoga to pull me out of my state of sympathetic nervous system overload. I didn’t need to note it on Facebook in order for my life to feel *real*.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m a total Luddite or an anti-social media snob: I love my Netflix queue, my Amazon Prime, podcasting, blogging, but my engagement with Facebook had taken a turn toward the unhelpful, to where it felt really heavy in my body.

The Instagram experiment yielded different results. I actually missed Instagram. Photographing the mundane minutiae of my life is a practice in appreciating the small things, the beauty in the dusty, finger-printed mirror of this life. I realized that I could be much more conscious about my use and engagement with Instagram, though, so I’m not jumping back into it just yet. I need some rules for myself.

Conscious Engagement with Social Media// Kelly Sunrose YOga

Things I’ve learned//

  1. I don’t need to participate in every conversation.
  2. Without social media, my media consumption is much more conscious and choice-driven.
  3. I don’t think it’s necessary. People will find their way.
  4. I don’t miss Facebook at all.
  5. Instagram serves an important function in my practice of seeing.
  6. My nervous system has almost recovered.

Conscious engagement structure (THE RULES)//

  1. Only go back to Facebook if/when I actually want to.
  2. Only Facebook from the computer, never from the phone.
  3. Enforce office hours, no social media after 5pm.
  4. Instagram: post from phone, comment from computer.
  5. Take every August off, maybe more.

The summer of learning continues!

Thanks to everyone who wrote me emails (!!! love you!!!) about social media engagement. Some real gems.

What are your social media rules?


6 thoughts on “Notes from a Month Away from Facebook and Instagram// Nervous System RE-BOOT

  1. Hi Kelly,
    It was nice to read this Kelly.

    I’m not sure I’m ready to do the one month hiatus, however, it certainly has planted a seed.

    I too get a bit exhausted when on FB in particular, somedays its just too much. But on the other hand, I just found a friend of mine a job through FB. I also love how I can have private chats with my friends and family OS.

    I do LOVE Instagram. I find posting there fun, kind of like a bit or art. I’m over all the clever asana photos, but really enjoy nature, funny stuff, families, new shiny malas.

    Being conscious and understanding what our intentions are are super valuable and stepping away perhaps lets that become clear.

    Love to you!!!

    Sara xx

  2. Kelly,
    Thanks for writing about your experience away from social media. I’ve been considering a hiatus myself. I feel like it’s difficult because I learn so many great things while scrolling, ie yoga, writing, book, nature pages I’ve “liked.” And I meet new, inspiring people that I otherwise would have never met–like YOU on Instagram:) However, I find some days I spend more time reading articles about reading, writing, and yoga than I actually read, write, and practice. You’ve really inspired me to at least take some space. I especially like the Facebook on the computer only rule with the “office hours.” When I come back, the ones who matter will be waiting for me. Thank you! Cheryl ps. I did miss you on instagram💜

  3. Hi Kelly,
    Such good insight and food for thought in your blog today. Social Media is definately a mixed blessing. Since I don’t have a business I draw the line at one to socialize on and that’s FB. I have used Instagram for several years privately to edit and keep my photos. Recently I made an exception for 4 friends only, you are one, but I don’t really socialize on it, just post. I LOVE your Instagram for all the reasons you said above! But having a business is a different story. I found you on FB, your page popped up in my stream as something I might like so I clicked, and found the kind of yoga I really love doing.

    I have some friends who have creative businesses and are on FB, have newsletters, blogs, Instagram etc. Some use the app If This Then That. You can set it up so if you post on Instagram, it will automatically share the post on FB for you or vice versa. Or if you post a blog it will share the link on FB for you. You write a recipe for it and it covers the bases efficiently. I like FB for announcements from the businesses I ‘Like’. I read blogs and I listen to podcasts, and it’s handy to see it pop up there- “there’s a new podcast up today!” Maybe this might help?

    Thank you for your yoga!
    Louise NYC

    1. Dearest Louise,
      Thank you so much for writing here. This is the kind of connecting that I LOVE, and one of the reasons I do love social media. So many friendships I have found, made and nourished through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, etc. I like the idea of creating recipes with IFTTT! Yes! Thank you!
      Much love,

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