Before you really get into my reasons I “Pushed Pause” on social media, I want to start by saying it really IS a “pause.” I’m not completely off social media — I can’t be because of family and Austin Moms — but I have all the apps deleted off my phone, and only occasionally go on them on my computer. It’s also unclear how long I’ll continue this; I told my husband for New Years that I planned to spend a total of 30 min on social media a week for the year. At first I wasn’t sticking to that, and it’s hit or miss for each week, but regardless, I know I’m spending much less time on them than I was just a few months ago. 

And it feels great. 

For the entire last year, social media has been wonderful: connecting me with friends & family I can’t see because of COVID-19, helping me learn more about systemic racism & how to be anti-racist, helping me in my eating disorder recovery journey, and even helping me re-establish my habit of reading (I’ve read 11 books as of March 1 and I’m aiming for 50 this year). But social media has also been awful for me in a lot of ways.

I’ve taken several mini-breaks from social media in that time. Last summer, I took a month off, and by the end of that month, mindlessly scrolling through instagram didn’t feel normal anymore. 

So more and more I started to contemplate pushing pause on social media… to push play on life. 

I took a break from social media because: 

the continual commentary on COVID-19, number of deaths, conspiracy theories

the daily reminders that diet culture thinks I’m worth less because I gained weight during covid

the endless, awful, rude, biting political commentary (from both sides)

doom scrolling

comparing my life to other people’s lives

comparing my level of success in my occupation with my peers’ 

… it all added up to making me feel sad, angry, and alone, rather than built up the way relationships should do. 

I pushed pause on social media to “push play” on so many other things: 

reading in my free time

taking more walks

playing outside with my toddler

listening to podcasts 

deep cleaning & organizing my house (not that it stays that way)

writing a webinar for work

writing letters to friends

texting and calling more

and REST. 

I don’t think everyone needs to take a break from social media the way I did, but if time spent looking at picture after picture of the perfect moments in other peoples’ lives, or reading posts and comments, is making you feel angry, sad, lonely, etc… it may be time to consider pushing pause. 

Have you ever taken a break from social media? How long? Would love to hear about all the things you made space for by eliminating mindless scrolling from your day!

Hannah Haro, PT, DPT is a physical therapist, wife to Daniel and mom to Mina (2018). She was born and raised in a small northern Michigan town, is bilingual, helps run a soccer clinic for kids with disabilities, is a Christian, and a partner at the Austin Stone Community Church. Though Hannah currently works as a PT in a pro bono clinic at University of St Augustine, she has previously worked as a babysitter, downhill ski instructor, math teacher, barista, and health coach. She likes to say she is in the business of rehabilitation: of people, as a PT; and of homes, as she and her husband are now on renovations for house #4 in as many years. She also loves coffee and anything chocolate, enjoying the green spaces of Austin, and a really good sci fi/fantasy novel while curled under a blanket.

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