I put off writing this post for a long time. I was afraid that I might hurt someone—afraid they might not understand. But the day I unfollowed everyone on Facebook changed my life, and I want to share my story.
That day forever impacted the way I interact with social media.
Let’s rewind a few years to give some context…
In the summer of 2014, I developed a mysterious chronic illness out of the blue. I won’t overload you with all of the details, just know that I was really, really sick.
My mysterious illness puzzled many doctors, some of whom finally looked me in the eyes and told me they didn’t know what was wrong with me.
I became so weak that I was forced to spend more and more time in bed and on the couch doing a whole lot of nothing.
Well, I take that back. I was spending a whole lot of time on my phone and computer, not left with much else to do.
In the winter of 2015-2016, my husband and I had been married for about 6 months, and my health was the worst it had ever been.
It was a scary hard time.
Driven to Distraction
To distract myself from the pain, I spent many hours scrolling on my phone and computer. Various social media channels—mainly Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube—became a way for me to escape.
But the time I spent living vicariously through the lives of other people frustrated me beyond belief and left me feeling completely unfulfilled. It fueled feelings of discontentment and self-pity.
All I really wanted was to be able to take care of myself, my husband, and our home. Yet all I had the energy for was rest that wasn’t even restful!
Even small tasks like unloading the dishwasher and fixing dinner were often too much for me, physically.
I realize that may be hard for many people to understand or even believe, but that was my world at the time.
Through all of the sitting, I found myself spending more and more time on social media, wishing that my life wasn’t characterized by weakness and pain—wishing that I just had the strength to put dinner on the table and keep my small apartment clean.
My illness was demoralizing, and most days I hardly recognized myself. It was a very difficult time, and my escape from reality was often my phone.
My World Changes
In the spring of 2016, by God’s grace, I had started to improve a little through various treatments.
I also got pregnant with our son, Jack.
It was a tough pregnancy in some ways, but I also felt a little better. I wondered if I would be able to care for the child I was carrying the way I needed to.
Thankfully, my concerns were unfounded. When Jack arrived on December 11, 2016, he majorly changed our world.
Babies are fantastic at turning your life upside down!
As I watched Jack grow from a skinny, itty bitty newborn to a round-faced, bright-eyed infant, he continued to change the way I saw the world.
I wanted to be the kind of mom he could grow up relying on and having fun with. But my health wasn’t there yet.
Instead, I still spent a lot of time in bed and needed a lot of help from my husband.
While I was by no means the picture of health, I was surviving. And I was continuing to work hard to heal my body so that I could be the kind of mom I wanted to be.
It was the catalyst that caused me to revolutionize my social media habits.
The Wakeup Call
Around the time Jack was 6 months old, I installed the Moment app. It’s an incredibly helpful tool that helps you to track and reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone.
After a few weeks of observing how many hours I was spending on my phone—and how many times I picked it up throughout the day—I felt disheartened and disappointed with myself.
Coming face to face with the actual numbers was a huge wakeup call!
Social media apps were by far my biggest time-wasters.
I had a brand new baby in my arms and I was living a distracted life. I knew something needed to change.
First, I tried setting limits for myself and cutting back on my social media consumption. But it simply didn’t work. I’d start out strong, but my time on Facebook would slowly creep back up.
No matter how many times I set limits for myself, I would slowly get sucked back in again.
Somehow—even though I barely even enjoyed using Facebook—I was spending hours mindlessly scrolling through my feed, watching random videos, and getting lost on other people’s pages.
It was ridiculous! I was addicted.
The Day I Unfollowed Everyone on Facebook
Here’s the thing I didn’t know two years ago: Facebook is engineered to be addictive. It is designed to keep you scrolling and tapping for as long as possible.
There’s a good reason why it’s hard to quit!
Eventually, I realized that I had no chance of winning a game where the odds were clearly stacked against me.
So I decided to stop playing the game altogether. I’d had enough. I decided to unfollow everyone on Facebook.
Yes, even my family and close friends—everyone.
This decision had nothing to do with how much I care about these people—and also everything to do with it. Deep down, I knew that I would become a better wife, mother, and friend.
Once I unfollowed everyone, my social media consumption plummeted.
I would open Facebook, realize that there was nothing to look at, and promptly close the page. I’d sometimes visit specific friends’ pages, but it was much harder to get lost that way.
It’s been two years since that fateful day, and I can honestly say that unfollowing everyone has proven to be incredibly freeing!
Once I unfollowed everyone on Facebook, I never looked back.
I love knowing that I can still keep in touch with my family and friends without wasting hours of my life, distracted by irrelevant information, memes, and the like.
My brain no longer feels pulled in a million directions at once!
I feel calmer.
In the weeks, months, and years since the day I unfollowed everyone on Facebook, I have only experienced positive results.
Less social media time has freed me up to be more focused and present. As life unfolds before my eyes, I can actually pay attention.
My mind isn’t as distracted by other people’s realities—it’s here, in the now.
I’ve been a better wife and mother because I’m more sensitive to the needs of my family—and even more aware of my own.
Additionally, once I unfollowed everyone on Facebook, my mind started to feel less overwhelmed and more rested. Consuming less information means that my brain has more time to process what I do take in throughout the day.
Interestingly, I’m also able to relax more easily and sleep more deeply.
This post contains affiliate links, and some links below will take you to Amazon. You can read my disclosure policy here.
A book that has been instrumental in shaping my views on technology and social media is Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport.
This book hadn’t been written at the time I unfollowed everyone on Facebook, but I recently finished reading it and highly recommend it!
Digital Minimalism offers great food for thought, and it helped me to better understand what kind of role I want social media to play in my life.
Why I Didn’t Delete or Deactivate My Facebook Account
Some might wonder why I didn’t just delete or deactivate my Facebook account altogether. Honestly, I can’t say that I haven’t considered it!
But despite its flaws, Facebook is a great tool for keeping in touch with a large number of people.
I’ve lived in 3 different states and have friends in multiple countries. I appreciate that I can easily connect with any of my Facebook friends.
I’m also part of a few Facebook groups that I use for work-related purposes.
Plus, Facebook Marketplace is great for buying and selling used and new
Unfollowing Everyone on Facebook
It took a while to unfollow all of my Facebook friends, but my newsfeed slowly dwindled.
Nowadays, Facebook keeps encouraging me to follow more people because my feed is totally empty! No thanks, Facebook. I’m done falling down your rabbit holes.
When you unfollow someone on Facebook, they don’t receive a notification. No one knows when you unfollow them.
(Well, I guess everybody on my friends list knows now… Hey, y’all!)
Remember, if you do decide to unfollow everyone on Facebook, you can always refollow friends later.
If you’re struggling to control your social media time, please know that you’re not alone! It’s a challenge to use social media wisely, and it takes time to figure out which strategies work best for you.
If Facebook is taking up more of your time and attention than you’d like, I’d encourage you to at least try an experiment.
Take some time to unfollow everyone on your Facebook account so that you no longer have a newsfeed and see what happens!
You never know—it might just change your life like it changed mine.