My Social Media Slim-Down The best kind of diet.

I let stress get the best of me in 2017. It led to a season of mild depression, during which its cousin anxiety came to roost; it snuggled itself all deep and cozy in my daily thoughts. I think of my anxiety like a hibernating bear in my brain: most of the time he’s quietly sleeping, but when something in my life wakes him, he’s destructive and hungry and difficult to get settled back in his cave.

As I withdrew from my family and friends and burrowed deeper into my unhappy head-space last spring and summer, I found myself spending more and more time glued to my phone, distractedly scrolling through social media feeds. Facebook made me feel frustrated and sad, while Instagram tricked me into thinking everyone else was having a great time, living their best lives as I struggled to get myself off the couch every weekend.

Here’s the thing: I’m a smart, self-aware lady in my 30s, and I know social media is all smoke-and-mirrors. We present our best “curated” selves — I hate that word outside the context of museums, by the way — and hide the messy, complicated parts that make us vulnerable. It hurts my heart to think of how it affects young people who don’t yet recognize this kind of “filtered reality” and how it may shape their self worth.

Even still, these little misconceptions piled up and buried themselves in my subconscious, where they niggled my peace of mind and made me feel even more disconnected.

Those wasted hours would’ve been better spent taking a long walk, having a face-to-face conversation with a friend about my feelings, getting lost in a good book, finding a new creative outlet, or meditating to make some room in my cluttered brain. Anything productive to help me pull myself out of the pit I’d fallen into, and guide that raging bear toward his cave so I could lull him back to sleep.

When the new year began and my fog of depression finally cleared, I set an intention to set some serious boundaries with my social media use. As a small business owner, it’s a necessary evil: I have to maintain an active Facebook page and Instagram for the flower shop to keep our community engaged and interested in our product, but over the years I tricked myself into believing I needed a social media presence for this blog, too. It didn’t feel like enough to just write good content in this space: I needed to “curate” the perfect Instagram (ugh, that word again) while tweeting all my new blog posts and interacting with readers through an active Facebook page. Suddenly it all felt like an obligation, when this blog is a creative outlet that’s supposed to be light and fun!

So I deactivated my Twitter account.

I unpublished the blog’s Facebook page. (I would’ve deactivated my account altogether, but I need it to admin the flower shop’s page; thanks for forcing me to stick around, Zuckerberg & Co.)

I pumped the brakes on Instagram: I switched my @keiralennox profile back to a personal account, took a hiatus from posting ‘grams, and did a lot less scrolling every day. I went long stretches without opening the app on my phone at all; a far cry from the dozen times a day I mindlessly launched it from my home screen when I had a second to spare.

I spent less time online, and more time being present “IRL” and it felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders. It seems like such a silly thing to feel betrothed to your online presence, but I know I’m not the only person who’s struggled with the pressure of juggling all these platforms, especially in the blogging community. I miss the good ol’ days of blogging, when you only had to worry about your own URL; your “little corner of the Internet.”  I don’t know how professional bloggers do it these days, when it seems you need to shout your content from every rooftop — Snapchat! Instagram! Twitter! Whatever-The-Youngins-Are-Using-That-I’m-Too-Old-to-Know-About! — and show your readers every nook and cranny of your life to keep their attention among all the clutter. It makes me tired and weary just typing it.

I still want to blog! I want to share all my favorite beauty finds, document my real-life outfits, talk about books and other things I love, and write more long-form content like this. I just want to simplify it all. I want to live in my “little corner of the Internet” and post when I feel inspired and connect with you guys right here. I don’t want to think about things like my “Instagram theme,” or worry about how Facebook’s constantly-changing algorithms hide all my page updates from your news feeds; and I’d honestly like to avoid Twitter altogether. (It’s crazy up in there!)

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Finally, If you’re in a season of struggle and feel overwhelmed and underwater, please know that you’re not alone and “this too shall pass.” Reach out to people you love and trust, and talk it out; speaking about your fears helps take away their power.

If you’re religious, I recommend the book Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado, which gave me a big dose of perspective on my own anxiety. If you’re not, try the 7 Days of Calming Anxiety guided meditation practice in the Calm app, which provides a toolbox of mindfulness practices that helped me immensely. And either way, watch this video of Will Smith talking about how bliss lives on the other side of fear, because it’s an inspiration.

Author: Keira Lennox

I'm a small town girl from the sunshine state with an affinity for bookstores, beauty counters and unfussy style. I spend my days running my flower shop, and my nights blogging about what I love and what I wear. (Or watching Netflix and drinking wine.)

What do you think?

  • 1000 times YES. I can’t tell you how much I related to this post. I used to love the freedom blogging afforded me but now all I feel is pressure to be able to manage all the bells and whistles that come with it. It becomes perfunctory rather than a creative outlet to play and get to know people and their interests. I barely have time to write anymore let alone tweet and Instagram it all. I do quite enjoy Instagram stories for on-the-go microblogging but I get so agitated when I see the perfectly colour coordinated grids of Insta accounts. I see Instagram as a place to save all those magic moments that you can’t plan for and if that means you’ve no make up on or this season’s most coveted blooms / lipstick / product isn’t to hand then so be it. Props to you for your retreat. Here’s to a simpler life that we make the time to live for!

  • Keira, sure hope that you are feeling better and all ready for Summer ! We have been praying for you !
    So please let us know how you are !.
    Prayers Carolina

  • More and more of my favorite digital friends are coming to this realization. Everything you say here feels so familiar and true. And I too miss the days of just blogging for fun and having the connection be right here. I love where you’re going with this. I’m definitely along for the ride! <3

  • Thank you so much, Keira! I completely agree with everything you wrote. As humans we were not designed to stare at screens all day, especially ones that make us feel less than. I am SO excited for more your writing on anything! I love your photos too. But most importantly your blog should be a place/space for YOU! Looking forward to seeing more you, whenever you feel like it! :)

  • Completely agree, I think sometimes more is less with bloggers. I have loved your skincare posts, I tried the Kate Sommerville moisturizer you recommended and loooooooved it. Quality over quantity, I look forward to reading your next post whenever that may be. -Lexi

    • As a total skincare obsessive, I can’t tell you how much I love this! I LOVE finding great products to share with you guys, and it makes me so happy when they work for you!!

      I’m on like my 5th jar of that moisturizer and if they ever discontinue it I will legit cry. ;)

  • Amen Sister! I do not understand why we are so bothered about numbers. Instead of thinking how I can creatively post this idea all I am thinking about is what should I do to get more likes. I know that my students have 10 times more followers than me without having a clue about what they are doing. But like you said, I too do not know to dabble in Whatever-The-Youngins-Are-Using-That-I’m-Too-Old-to-Know-About!

    • I’ve been reading a lot about the negative effects of social media lately, and it’s pretty crazy how it messes with our brains! It taps into our deep-seeded instincts to connect with people and gain the approval of our communities (which goes all the way back to our caveman days). Our basic human needs haven’t changed, but instead of getting our emotional fulfillment through relationships IRL, we’re turning to the Internet. Social media preys on our desire to be loved and accepted, so it’s not our fault. {{Hugs}} ;)

      I hope we can get back to being creative just for the sake of it, and connecting just like this through dialogue rather than passive clicks of a heart on the ‘gram. Thank you for reading!

  • Amen to all of this! I so miss the days of following blogs on Google Reader, before it went away (RIP) and you basically had to start using bloglovin’ or follow on IG. The early days of IG were fun (woohoo, a sneak into my fave bloggers’ real life every now and then!), but it has become insane. I barely have enough time in the day to get through everything my bloggers post on IG and IG Stories, and I don’t even follow that many. I used to check Google Reader a couple times a day if I needed a quick break at work (remember when we didn’t have smart phones and couldn’t actually read blogs on our phones?? the horror! haha), but now I go to IG constantly and waste so. much. time.

    I am very sorry to hear you have been having a rough time. But this really resonated so thank you for writing it. I’m like you say “a self-aware lady in my 30s” and I never felt unhappiness or some sort of depression until very recently. It could be a combination of a lot of things, but social media is surely not helping. I wonder what will become of the generations whose lives revolve around it.

    Please keep coming back here and sharing stuff you love with us! Doesn’t have to be fancy – just honest and real! I’ve been following you for many many years and don’t intend to stop :-)

    • Google Reader!! Man, those were the days! Blogging felt so fun and free back then; these days the over-exposure and non-stop shilling makes me feel icky sometimes.

      I think it’s totally normal to feel some emotional upheaval as our lives shift and change with each decade. I know it’s scary and overwhelming when you experience it for the first time, so I hope you’re well and find some outlets that help bring you light and peace. I’ve found that my most difficult seasons of life help me appreciate the good ones, and I try to always remind myself that “this too shall pass.”

      Thank you for your support and kindness, Elizabeth. It means so much to me!

  • Thank you so much for sharing! I am a longtime reader and I was wondering what was going on with you. I have missed your content so much. I also have been struggling the last year (or 2 to be honest). I have a wonderful almost two year old who is the light of my world, but since I gave birth I have really had a hard time adjusting to my new normal. I think a lot of that has had to do with social media. It is so incredibly hard to not compare our own lives, as wonderful as they might be, with what we see on Instagram. It opens the door to so much self criticism. Then comes the guilt of knowing that social media is smoke and mirrors and feeling silly that it has affected you. Really glad you hit that last point. I’m excited to visit your little corner of the internet, however often you decide to post.

    • Thank you, Madelka! I agree with all your points here!

      And thank you for being honest about your own struggle; you never know when openness and transparency may help someone else. I think it’s especially difficult for new moms these days, when we’re all told that motherhood is perfect and happy; I think it’s totally normal to feel a big shift and maybe be a little out-of-sorts for a while when a tiny person joins your family.

      Sending hugs your way!

  • KERIA,SO SORRY TO HEAR THIS, WE WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU! BUT PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH SO WE WILL KNOW HOW YOU ARE DOING!THIS SUMMER HAS BEEN BUSY SO NOW MAY BE EVERYTHING WILL SLOW DOWN A BIT!
    PLEASE TAKE CARE AND KEEP ME ON YOUR LIST AND I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU AND BELIEVING THAT YOU WILL BE HEALED ! PRAYERS

  • I know that dark space that you are talking about. It has been my existence for the past one year. I am at a point where I am taking it one day at a time and slowly but surely my bear is crawling back to its cave. Reading a post like this helps me realize that I am not alone and reiterates the craziness around social media. I am removing myself from all the pressure I have put myself under and taking back my control and happiness. Thank you for writing this post ☺ ☺ ☺

    • Sending you a virtual hug, Barbara! Knowing that we’re not alone really helps crack a little light into that dark space. I hope you find yourself back to a good place soon, and if it takes a while, that’s totally okay, too! Give yourself lots of grace and patience, I always try to remember that these rough times are what make us appreciate when times are sweet.

  • I absolutely loved this post, Keeping it real girl and that’s what’s important. I myself have felt somewhat the same as you. Here’s to a new simpler life this year!!

  • Wow, this post really hit home for me. Not only are you a beautiful writer but you’re saying the thing many bloggers and just the average person in general is afraid to say. Thank you for saying it and sharing your thoughts and feelings!! I’m totally with you on this. Neither instagram nor any media should define self worth because anyone can post a selfie filtered to the hilt or a sunset. That doesn’t tell me anything new, or interesting, or real. You did the right thing and you’re awesome!! Keep up the good work. 💞💞💞