How to Take a Social Media Break
This summer, I decided to take a break from work. I knew that my three kids would be home (almost) full-time. I knew I’d struggle to be present with them while maintaining my business social media presence.
I could push through the struggle if I really wanted to. Which would likely end with me being stressed and frustrated that I can’t get any work done, and be constantly yelling at the kids, and totally missing out of whatever fun they’re having, and missing out on any opportunity for my own rest.
That doesn’t sound like a great way to spend summer. And to what benefit, really? How much would I gain by keeping up on social media for 6 weeks? How much would I lose if I stepped away?
After doing some really quick math, I decided to completely step away from all social media. Yes, I took the apps off my phone. I didn’t even use them for personal accounts. Facebook, Insta, Pinterest. Buh Bye!
I called it my
Summer Social Media Sabbatical
Part of the reason I decided to take a sabbatical is because I’ve done it before. In my corporate days, I took two maternity leaves and one summer sabbatical. I was hard on myself about it for a long time. I felt like a quitter. Like every time things changed or got tough, I quit.
But, with clarity (and a good amount of therapy), I realized that
I work really well in seasons.
Balance is not my thing. My husband does balance really well. He’s a senior leader at large corporation, working through a demand career in finance. But, somehow, he’s home for breakfast with the kids most mornings, and home to play with them in the evening. He would be there for dinner too, by my kids don’t sit at the table for more than 30 seconds at a time. He’s available to his family, succeeding in his career, leaves work at work, and is present at home. I don’t know how he does it, but he does. He has work-life balance.
I like seasons. I like to have one clear priority for a period of time. I like to go all-out, all-in, hit a goal, and then take a break.
I also like that seasons change. No matter what is going on during a given season, good or bad, I know that it will come to an end soon. That helps me find grace when things are tough. It helps me appreciate and find gratitude when things are great.
The Sabbatical How-to
Okay, so this all sounds great but, how do you actually take a sabbatical from a business as a solopreneur?! These are the steps I took to determine what my sabbatical would look like.
Determine the amount of time off that would benefit you personally
For me - this was the bulk of the summer because my kids were home so much. I didn’t take the entire summer, because I knew I’d miss work too much.
Figure out the minimum work you can do during the time off
Maybe you can turn off completely - great! If not, figure out what can slide for a bit. I kept up with my emails and relationships. I also kept my site up to date since I list events, I felt this was important.
Decide what you WILL do during this time
I wanted to be present with the kids, but I also wanted the chance to pause. I wanted to give my brain some white space to see what comes up. I used the time to put away the to-do list, and create space for strategy, vision, and creativity.
Hold yourself accountable. Don’t give in to temptation. Whatever guidelines you set for yourself, stick to it. Sometimes, it’s hard to turn the “busy addiction” off, but I promise it’s worth it!
Here’s what happened
I lost exactly zero meaningful followers
No one cared that I was away. If anything, I was praised for taking the time off
I scheduled in time for self-care each week (solo walks, meditation time, reading, REST, home projects, self-pedicures, etc.)
I was able to be *mostly * present for the kids’ summer fun (by “mostly” I mean, how many times can one sit and do sidewalk chalk?!)
When the chaos hit (and believe me, it HIT literally every single day), I was in the best mental state to handle it with grace
I was able to spend time and connect with friends, family, and my hubby (yay for day-dates!)
My brain had time to clear. And with clarity comes unexpected and creative ideas.
I miss my work and have this adrenaline rush pushing me towards my biggest goals yet
All in all, I feel that my sabbatical was a major success. I fully intend to do it again next year. It may not look exactly the same as it did this year. I may create different guidelines and intentions for myself. But, knowing the immense power of a pause, I will absolutely continue to create space for breaks and look forward to changing seasons.