BLOGGER BTS: TAKING A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK
This weekend, for Memorial Day, I did something I almost never do: I took a social media break. We went camping in Joshua Tree, which means that for 3 days, I was totally offline. I didn't have my computer, my phone had no reception and we had no electricity or water.
I didn't check my blog stats, post on Instagram or check my email. Instead, I star-watched, grilled marshmallows on the camp fire and climbed mountains and rock formations.
To be totally clear, I did have a blog post scheduled for yesterday, so the blog didn't go unattended. One thing I wouldn't do, unless there's a life-altering emergency, is not post on the blog on a scheduled day. But let's be honest here: I have been blogging for just a little over 3 months, so I reach a majority of my audience on Instagram, for now. And I usually post from 1 to 3 times a day on the platform... Except this weekend, when my last post was Saturday morning, on the way to the desert. Until this morning, Tuesday.
And in 2.5 days of social media break, lots of interesting things happened. First, I thought I would obsess over my stats and not being able to check on them. Usually, I don't drive myself crazy looking at my stats every other minute, but I do check them every day.
Surprisingly, as soon as my phone displayed "no reception" on Saturday, my stats, number of followers and engagement all went out the window. Obviously I still cared about all of it, but not being able to know didn't give me anxiety. It was actually freeing to be able to tell myself "whatever happens will happen".
When I checked last night, I wasn't surprised to see that my number of Instagram followers had dropped. Saturday, when I left, I was at 1199, and on Monday night, it had dropped to 1172. Although my account is steadily growing, it's still a small account. Which means that the follow/unfollow game affects me significantly when I take a break.
When I post on a daily basis, I reach a lot of new accounts, and therefore get new followers daily, wether they're authentic or not. Every day, I loose some unauthentic followers, but I gain more new ones. Which means that my account slowly but steadily grows. Therefore, it is no surprise that when I do take a social media break, since I'm not reaching any new accounts, my number of followers goes down.
Since I decided lately that I was going to stop caring so much about numbers and more about actual engagement, that doesn't bother me too much.
And even though some things, like my Instagram numbers, went down, some things definitely went up. This morning, I had 108 unread emails and an insane amount of work waiting for me.
That can seem really daunting when you're planning to take a break, and I'll admit it's extra work. But the benefits of the actual break really make it easier.
When your business is social media and blogging, life becomes all about putting out content. Which means that if we're having dinner, I might ask Sasha to wait before he starts eating, so I can take a picture. If we're going on a day trip somewhere, the first thing I'll be planning is my outfit. After all, if we're gonna drive 2 hours to a new place, I might as well get some great pictures out of it, right?
Well, this weekend, I didn't even bring my camera. And Joshua Tree is one if the most amazing places I've been to. I shot in Joshua Tree before, and this time, we've been to new places that would have made AMAZING pictures. But I knew that if I planned outfits and brought my camera, finding locations and shooting would have been on the back of my mind at all times. Which means that instead of enjoying sightseeings and activities, my brain would have been going full speed the whole weekend.
In this case, for 3 days, the only things on my mind were what to BBQ that night and where to plant the tent. While I love being constantly "on" and working, you can't pour from an empty glass, and taking a break sometimes is not only beneficial, but necessary. This morning, not only did I feel rested and energized, but also like my brain has been "reset". Looking at my editorial calendar, I feel super inspired and ideas are flowing. The clean slate allows me to to get new ideas for posts and content without even trying. Creativity-wise, taking a break is definitely a great thing. Arguably, it even makes you more productive, since it takes care of the writer's block. And one knows that writer's block can be a HUGE time-suck, on top of being discouraging and demotivating.
To sum up all the aspects of taking a social media break, here's a little pros/cons list:
The PROS Of Taking A Social Media Break
Allows you to totally disconnect and re-energize yourself.
Allows you to be more inspired, getting rid of writer's block.
Gets rid of the constant need to check your stats, allowing you to truly enjoy the moment
The CONS Of Taking A Social Media Break
Loads of accumulated work upon your return.
Decrease in engagement and interest during the break.
As you can see, the pros in this case far outweigh the cons. I think that no matter what your business is, wether you're an entrepreneur or not, taking a break is absolutely necessary. If huge employers understand that, forcing their employees to use their vacation days, it should be a no-brainer if you work for yourself.
I know the extra work accumulating upon your return can be intimidating, but if you plan accordingly, it shouldn't even be a problem. In my case, I wrote my Monday post in advance and scheduled it to auto-post. No matter what your business is, it's most likely possible to do a little extra work an planning ahead, so that you don't return to a battlefield after a few days.
It's also super easy to set an email notification that you're out of town until X date, informing people that you will be unreachable for a few days, but will respond to their emails upon your return. Not only does that show that you take their business (and them) seriously, but it helps decrease anxiety on your end, knowing that no one will be looking for you in a panic, wondering where you are.
Taking this break really taught me that it's healthy to let go sometimes. Self-care Sunday is great, but sanity is more than a face mask and a glass of wine. Sometimes, making sure your mind stays sane requires taking a little break.
And if you have anxiety over letting go and taking a break, you can read this post about dealing with anxiety. I know these techniques have helped me tremendously when I feel my anxiety levels rising up.
I would love to know if you guys take breaks from time to time... And how you plan ahead to make sure everything goes smoothly. Are there any tips I forgot to mention that help you feeling more at ease with disconnecting for a few days? Let me know in the comment section below, or hit me up on Instagram.
I hope everyone had a great weekend, and I wish you all a really great week!
Love, Jenny xx