A Social Media Break: Why I Left
I’ve been taking a blogging and social media break.
A REALLY long break, actually. This is in fact the first time I’ve posted on Fuelling the Fork in over 5 months! How did that happen?! This year has absolutely flown by and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Quite frankly, a helluva lot has happened.
About that. Grab a cuppa, because it’s time for me to explain.
Originally, I took a social media break because I was beginning to feel
a bit really burnt out. Which is kind of funny, because it’s not like I was even doing crazy things like working 20 hour days or skipping meals through lack of time to eat (lol, as if).
No – I was burnt out by the weight of my own expectations of myself: Working as a near enough full time freelance video writer, training to become a nutritional therapist, writing this blog and managing the myriad tasks that come with it, trying to get through my ever growing list of books to read, be there for my friends and family, be a great girlfriend, post regularly on social media, keep on top of meal prep, eat well and get to the gym at least 3 times a week. Oh, and not forgetting to stretch, get in 10,000 steps a day, keep on top of the latest academic research and lead confused Chinese families to their hotels in the midst of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (yes, this actually happened. Contact me for tour guide bookings).
Blimey, I feel exhausted just thinking about it. But before you start to roll your eyes – let it be known that the genuine LAST thing I want to do here is play the “poor me” card or fish for sympathy. There’s no need for that, because I 100% believe in taking responsibility for your own choices/actions and whatever situation they may land you in. In fact, my desire to avoid coming across in such a way is one of the reasons why I’ve put off writing this post for so long. Let’s just say that having a proud nature can really get in the way sometimes, especially when it comes to giving yourself a break. I guess we millennials can probably all identify with that to some degree.
So I decided to take away the one part of the equation that was feasible for me. And that came in the form of a blogging and social media break. If blogging and social media are a part of your job, you’ll know how much there is to keep on top of when it comes to content creation, self-promotion, networking, growth, blog design, SEO… the list goes on. And then there’s the eye rolling propaganda and sometimes downright bullying that occurs on platforms like Instagram on the daily – particularly when it comes to the fitness and nutrition sector.
If you’re simply a consumer of social media, you may have experienced firsthand the old quote: “comparison is the thief of joy” and fell victim to the pressure to be doing as well as everyone else appears to be; the outcome that social media has in some cases become so unfortunately notorious for. You may even have felt let down by your favourite accounts for disregarding their integrity for brand and sponsorship deals that seem to contradict or insult their other content.
Either way, social media can be a lot to deal with on a daily basis. I’m going to be honest and say that it was for me. I thought to myself: if I’m going to spend a sizeable chunk of my free time on all of this, shouldn’t I be enjoying it a bit more?
One of my first attempts to rekindle my enjoyment of social media was to simplify and enhance the value of my experience with it. I unfollowed every account that didn’t bring me joy, value or inspiration. As I scrolled down my “following” list on Instagram, I unfollowed accounts who I couldn’t remember following, hadn’t seen a post from in a long time and wouldn’t feel the desire to check what they’d been up to if I hadn’t. There was no malice intended – it was purely personal to me.
Some people weren’t very happy about that. I received a couple of angry Instagram messages from the people I had unfollowed who commented on my drastically reduced following count compared to my now comparatively larger follower count. One person (who I had never had any interaction with other than following one another’s accounts) even accused me of paying for a social media bot to increase my number of followers! I mean, for goodness sake.
That was when I realised that the social media world had gone a bit mad. In truth, I’ve actually been approached by no end of Instagram bot companies offering me their services. And I have ALWAYS ignored or declined these offers, knowing that if I ever found myself with a sizeable presence on the internet, the only way that I would feel comfortable with accepting any sort of opportunity that came from it is if I got there through my own hard work, passion and perseverance. Now, we all know that we shouldn’t take any notice of trolls on the internet, but this particular person’s comment riled me so much that I decided I didn’t want to have any presence on social media at all until I found myself actively wanting to be a part of it again. Alas, a total social media break began.
Slowly but surely, this break weaved into month upon month as numerous personal life events occurred in the interval. Andrew and I packed up our little Glasgow flat with the terrifyingly tumultuous washing machine and infuriatingly elusive source of loud music for a new home in a beautiful fairytale village in Edinburgh (see below!). Andrew began his new job as a junior doctor whilst I embarked upon the too-good-to-be-true remote working life in marketing and creative communications.
The two of us had an absolutely incomprehensibly disastrous holiday to Indonesia (more on that to come! It’s tragic but hilarious… at least in retrospect), an active, peanut butter sandwich fuelled trip to the Lake District (including the scariest day of my life) and a week spent defying any sort of reasonable daily step count as we ate our way through Berlin. I’m going to be writing about all of these things in coming posts!
And now, finally, I’m ready to come back. To put a pause on my social media break. I’ve missed engaging with the good eggs of social media and the blogging world. And I want to use this platform that I spent so many hours working on to begin blogging about things that matter to me beyond the realm of cooking. Working on a project outside of my daily work that offers new sources of inspiration and opportunities for growth is important to me. And that’s self growth – not number growth.
A New Direction
Going forwards, I’m aiming to post 1-2x a week here on Fuelling the Fork. Recipe posts will still be on the regular, but I’ll be mixing up my content a bit more to reflect my other passions; nutrition, fitness, mindset and conscious living. I want to focus on quality over quantity, which means lots of helpful content for you guys that allows me to incorporate my nutrition expertise and love for travel and fitness. Expect things like infographics, comprehensive food and travel guides, advice on eating a plant based diet and how to support the environment.
I really hope you’re going to love this new content as much as I’m excited to start creating it! And if you’ve managed to read all the way to the bottom of the post, thank you SO much! You da best. *kissing emoji*
Have you ever taken a social media break? What are your favourite ways to take a step back?
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