52 Weeks of Happier Homeschooling Week 33: Log Off of Social Media

52 Weeks of Happier Homeschooling Week 33: Log Off of Social Media

I love Facebook as much as the next mom—my friend Stephanie’s feed makes me smile pretty much every time I look at it—but if you’re feeling burned out, incompetent, or unhappy in your homeschool life, logging off social media may be just what you need.

The sunny selfies and highlights reels of other people’s lives can make us feel worse about own lives, especially when we’re in a bumpy patch. According to a study in the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, spending just one hour on social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter correlates to lower life satisfaction. It’s not hard to see why: When your kitchen’s a mess, your kid has spent a whole year studying multiplication without managing to learn a single fact, and you’re just plain exhausted, those beautifully staged pictures of clean and happy children reading in clean and sun-drenched rooms can make you feel like a complete failure.

The solution: Take a social media break. Sure, it’s hard to cut the connection when you’ve gotten into the habit of logging on every day, so start by checking in once a day and giving yourself a time limit—say, 20 minutes. Spend that 20 minutes catching up with people you care about, leaving a quick comment instead of just clicking “like,” and speed scrolling through your feed. Gradually reduce the time you’re spending on social media until you’re on a full social media break—ideally, one that lasts at least three weeks. As you detox from social media, focus on finding joy in the moments of your everyday life without the pressure to capture them on camera or with the perfect quippy caption. Be in the moment with yourself and with your kids.

After your social media break, ease back into online life with the knowledge that you’ve gained. Most of us aren’t going to want to cut the cord completely, and that’s fine—but maybe there are people whose posts we probably shouldn’t follow so closely or limits it makes sense to make on how much we’re consuming other people’s lives. The idea is to make social media something that boosts your happiness—that connects you meaningfully to the people and things you care about—and not something that makes you feel less than.

Your mission this week: Pay attention to how much time you spend on social media and how it makes you feel to be on different sites—and how you feel afterward. (It may help to keep a log—most of us spend more time on social media than we realize.) Set a specific goal to spend less time on social media in the next week—you might want to limit the number of visits or give yourself a time limit. Be sure to set a goal you can live with—there’s no “right amount” of social media consumption, just an amount that’s right for you.